Which NFL Teams Will Fly The Longest Distances This Season?
Photo courtesy of Thinkstock
Twenty of the 32 teams in the NFL are based east of the Mississippi River. Those who call the West Coast home generally have longer to travel to get to away games, but they have the advantage of occasionally playing their home games against jet lagged opponents.
There are few exceptions to the rule this season. The team that has to spend the most time in the air recently made the move west, while the teams that will accrue the fewest frequent flier miles are from the East Coast and the Midwest.
Who will spend the most time in the air?
The Los Angeles Rams will travel 32,072 miles this season, which is more than any other team in the league by a wide margin. Not only will the recent Missouri transplants have to make several cross-country trips, they will also have to fly all the way to England for one of the NFL’s U.K. appearances.
Who will travel the shortest distance this season?
The annual games in London have added a lot of miles to the travel schedule of teams that have to play there. The Pittsburgh Steelers have made the trip across the pond in the past, but the will not have to this year. This, plus the fact that most of their away games are in the eastern part of the country, means that they will fly the least distance of any team in the league this season. The Steelers will fly a total of 5,138 miles.
The Baltimore Ravens and Cleveland Browns also have easy flight schedules this year. They will fly a total of 7,072 and 6,066 miles, respectively. (Insert joke here about the triple sixes in the hard-luck Browns' mileage total).
Geography aids Midwestern teams a little bit. Because they don’t have to make any cross-country flights, their time in the sky is often limited. The Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions and Green Bay Packers will all fly less than 10,000 miles this season. The Minnesota Vikings and Kansas City Chiefs are also in the top ten when it comes to fewest miles flown for the ‘16 season.
The Seattle Seahawks, Oakland Raiders and San Francisco 49ers join the Rams in the group that will fly more than 25,000 miles this season. A Florida club, the Miami Dolphins, are also in that group of road warriors.
It should be mentioned that one college team, the University of Hawaii, is almost in the 25,000 club for 2016. This team has already flown 24,974 miles, and they are not even a third of the way into their season. Most of those miles were racked up going to and from Australia for their season opener.
Does distance flown matter to NFL players?
These are professional athletes who have spent experience playing after long haul flights. But the stats seem to show that traveling long distances certainly doesn’t help in-game performance.
CBS Sports looked at the records of teams based on how far they traveled for away games. In 2015, road teams that had to travel more than 2,000 miles for a game only won about 33 percent of the time. Teams whose road games were less than 2,000 miles away won 47.6 percent of the time.
Actually, football isn’t the best sport for racking up frequent flier miles. The NBA’s Los Angeles Lakers have held the record for most miles traveled by an American pro sports team in a season for more than 50 years. During the 1961-1962 season, the LA club flew more than 91,000 miles, a record that has never really been challenged.
For more Airlines & Airports News
More by Josh Lew
Get Travel Deals and Travel News
Recent Travel Opinions
Airlines & Airports
Features & Advice
Destination & Tourism