The 49ers are traveling the most miles in the NFL this season, a figure they hoped to reduce with a simple request to the NFL schedule-maker.
The 49ers asked the NFL for back-to-back road games of multiple time zones away so they could have a weeklong stop in Youngstown, Ohio, for the third time since 2011. But after the schedule came out in the spring, the 49ers’ decided to alter that plan.
The 49ers’ back-to-back games are Sunday, Dec. 6, in Chicago, followed by a game the next Sunday in Cleveland.
The organization has decided to fly back to the Bay Area after the game at Chicago. Because of the early start time in Chicago, the 49ers figure they can get home around 7 p.m.
Also, because the games are so late in the season, the 49ers did not want to take the risk that the potential of bad weather could impact their week of preparations. They hoped their back-to-back games would be scheduled early in the season – like in 2011 and ’12.
In both of those years, the 49ers held a week of practices at Youngtown University to cut down on the travel. After winning at Cincinnati in Week 3, the 49ers upset Philadelphia, 24-23 the following week. In ’12, the 49ers lost at Minnesota in Week 3 before rebounding with a 34-0 road victory over the New York Jets.
Prior to the release of the schedule, 49ers CEO Jed York said the organization will always request back-to-back road games to cut down on the travel.
“Any time we’ve got multiple East Coast games, we’ll try to do it,” York said at the NFL owners meetings in March.
“It makes it so much easier on the team and travel, as opposed to going and coming back, and going and coming back. We’re always one of the top two or three travel teams in the league. If you can cut out 6,000 miles of travel, it helps.”
The 49ers are estimated to travel the most miles in the NFL this season at 27,998, according to CBSSports.com, with a league-high four road trips of more than 2,000 miles.