Every team has away games, the Seahawks are no different. There hasn’t been a whole lot of discussion about how far each team has to travel to play their opponents, until now. Stuck way up here in the Pacific Northwest, the Seahawks are the lone team. The closest team to the Seahawks, is the Oakland Raiders, at a distance of 680 miles away. That’s not a huge difference, but being how Seattle rarely plays Oakland, it actually is.
Seattle vs its three division rivals (Arizona, San Fransisco, and St. Louis) travels (trip and return trip) 7,024 miles. In comparison, Pittsburgh vs its three rivals (Cleveland, Cincinnati, and Baltimore) travels 1,122 miles. Curious about other teams and how they fare? Click here. Just in divisional opponents Seattle has to travel more than 6 times the distance that Pittsburgh has to, as well as through three different time zones, just to play division rival St. Louis.
“The 49ers led the NFL with 29,112 round-trip miles traveled last season, although they mitigated that high number to some extent by staying in Ohio between playing the Bengals and the Eagles rather than fly back to San Francisco just to travel back east a few days later. After taking out those saved miles, the 49ers’ total travel distance was second-most to the Seahawks. As you might suspect, the NFC West gets royally jobbed by their travel requirements every year. Of the 10 longest distances traveled by teams in a given season over the past 10 years, seven belong to either the Seahawks or the 49ers.” Bill Barnwell of Grantland had to say.
As an underdog most of their games, the Seahawks face another opponent, travel. Getting on a plane and flying into different time zones is hard on any normal person. Travelling into a different time zone to get on a field and play against some of the best athletic people in the world can be downright atrocious. The Seahawks have to face the Brian Urlachers and the Larry Fitzeralds of the NFL world only to battle getting to them. East coast games have always been hard for the Seahawks and its clear that adjusting is the hardest part. The mileage and zone changes play a big role in how these guys play.
While the distance adds up slowly, no one can see just how much it adds up on each player. Does the time zone change really affect how these guys play? There aren’t any statistics out there to prove it does or doesn’t, but rest assured that travel distance plays a huge outcome on how games are played.