Saturday, April 18, 2009

NFL Road Trip 2009 - can it be done?

The NFL schedule was released a few days ago and early indications were that a full season road trip would be impossible. But after spending a couple of hours with my trusty NFL road trip planning spreadsheet, I came up with the following schedule:

Thu Sep 10 Tennessee at Pittsburgh 8:35
Sun Sep 13 Washington at NY Giants 4:15
Mon Sep 14 Buffalo at New England 7:00
Sun Sep 20 Carolina at Atlanta 1:00
Mon Sep 21 Indianapolis at Miami 8:30
Sun Sep 27 Tennessee at NY Jets 1:00
Sun Oct 04 NY Giants at Kansas City 12:00
Mon Oct 05 Green Bay at Minnesota 7:20
Sun Oct 11 Jacksonville at Seattle 1:15
Mon Oct 19 Denver at San Diego 5:30
Sun Oct 25 Indianapolis at St. Louis 12:00
Sun Nov 01 San Francisco at Indianapolis 12:00
Mon Nov 02 Atlanta at New Orleans 8:30
Mon Nov 09 Pittsburgh at Denver 6:30
Thu Nov 12 Chicago at San Francisco 5:20
Sun Nov 15 Kansas City at Oakland 1:05
Thu Nov 19 Miami at Carolina 8:20
Sun Nov 22 Washington at Dallas 12:00
Mon Nov 23 Tennessee at Houston 7:30
Thu Nov 26 Green Bay at Detroit 12:30
Sun Nov 29 Miami at Buffalo 1:00
Thu Dec 03 NY Jets at Buffalo 8:20 (Rogers Centre)
Sun Dec 06 Detroit at Cincinnati 1:00
Mon Dec 07 Baltimore at Green Bay 7:30
Thu Dec 10 Pittsburgh at Cleveland 8:20
Sun Dec 13 NY Jets at Tampa Bay 1:00
Thu Dec 17 Indianapolis at Jacksonville 8:20
Sun Dec 20 Chicago at Baltimore 1:00
Mon Dec 21 NY Giants at Washington 8:30
Fri Dec 25 San Diego at Tennessee 7:30
Sun Dec 27 Denver at Philadelphia 1:00
Mon Dec 28 Minnesota at Chicago 7:20
Sun Jan 03 Green Bay at Arizona 1:15

That's right, all 32 teams at home plus the Bills in Toronto! Using Ottawa as the starting point, I'm guessing 30,000 miles of driving would be required here, including the extra month for playoffs and the Pro Bowl and Super Bowl in Miami.

There is one difficult two-week stretch in this schedule from Denver on November 9th to San Francisco for two games on Thursday and Sunday, then cross country to Charlotte for a Thursday night game, then back to Dallas the following Sunday, followed by Houston on Monday and then Detroit on Thanksgiving. I'm considering seeing the last pre-season game in Carolina instead, although this breaks one of the rules (only regular-season games) but would save about 3,000 miles of driving. The other bit with a lot of driving is from Chicago to Phoenix at the end of the schedule; I know I'll be rushing to get out of the Chicago cold as soon as possible and trying to reach Phoenix by New Years Eve.

Weather Worries

One likely problem will be the winter weather in December, when there are a few games in the northern climes, including Green Bay and Chicago. I can deal with the cold during the games - indeed, many believe that a trip to Green Bay should only be made in the winter - but driving during snowstorms could cause delays that lead to missing a game. Here's hoping that the weather co-operates.

Flexible Scheduling

Another potential issue is the NFL's flexible scheduling policy. When there is a Monday night game scheduled after a Sunday afternoon game and the two stadiums are 500 or more miles apart, I prefer to split the drive between Sunday evening and Monday, reducing the risk of something happening on Monday that could cause me to miss the game. If the Sunday game is moved to the evening, this eliminates the evening drive and there could be a 10-hour drive on Monday, which leaves no room for road work stoppages, traffic jams, or me getting lost (which happens far too often). Fortunately, I only see a couple of potential problems - one is the Detroit-Cincinnati game on December 6th (I'll wager that one will not be moved to the evening); the other is December 27th, when Denver visits the Eagles and the Monday night game is in Chicago. Should the Sunday game be moved to the evening, I'd be forced to make the 750-mile drive in one day, not impossible, but not recommended in late December. So here's hoping that the Denver-Philly game has no playoff implications.

In a related note, the NFL has already changed the game time of one of the games I'm planning to see, from 4:15 to 1:00. I suspect that this will happen during the season so I'll have to keep checking the schedules, so I don't show up 3 hours late.

Anybody want to join?

The next question is does anybody want to join me for some of the trip? I know there's about 5 people reading this blog right now, but if you can spare a week or two during the season, it'd be very helpful for the driving aspect as well as preventing me from slowly going insane. I don't think I can do this trip alone but with the occasional travel partner, it becomes much more possible. Drop me a line if you are interested.

The actual chances of this trip taking place are around 50-50 right now. I don't have a job, nor will I be seeking one before the season starts. But unless I can convince someone to join me for at least part of the trip, it'll be difficult to do the whole thing on my own. So I look forward to seeing some of you on the trip later this year.



Update: Aug 9th - trip has been postponed for one year. Check in again in April 2010 for the schedule!

Update: I ended up taking a similar trip in 2013!


  1. Sean --

    We are all over your visits to Buffalo and Toronto, and right now we have also gam eplanned USRT visit to Dallas for Nov 22, and are planning to stick around for the Monday night Texans game. Looking forward to hooking up if this comes off. Assuming you're sticking around Buffalo in late November perhaps the Sabres schedule will cooperate as well.

    We've added this site to our blogroll. Cheers!


  2. Hey Andrew,

    Excellent, even if the full trip doesn't take place, I could see a month in November happening. Thanks for adding me to the blogroll as well, once I get one set up, I'll be sure to do likewise.