It’s official – it pays to live in New York.
According to theScore.com, The Seattle Seahawks are traveling the fourth-furthest distance in the NFL this year, notably behind the perennial champion Oakland Raiders. On the other coast, all three teams from the Empire State have less than 10,000 miles to go this season.
The Seahawks will travel 27,540 miles this year, good for fourth in the league. The Raiders, travelling the farthest for a third consecutive season, will be on the road for 35,308 miles.
Distance traveled is a mildly unofficial statistic that reporters offer, using an online distance tracker that does “as-the-crow-flies” mileage from city to city. For some East Coast teams, it would likely end up being a bit higher in reality, because of the ability to drive to opposing stadiums.
Dating back to 2014 – because honestly I gave up and just assumed from that point – the Seahawks have been 6th or higher in terms of distance traveled per season every year. Most often, they’re second.
Unlike last season, Seattle does not have a London game, and yet is only flying 2,000 fewer miles than last year. It’s over 9,000 miles to get to London and back, which means they’re average road games are significantly further away in 2019. This year, they have five games in Ohio or beyond.
The Jets, meanwhile, are only going to log 6,794 miles this season – a paltry 19% of the Raiders projected distance.
I thought at first this was a foregone conclusion, that the Hawks were doomed to an unending grind of 25,000 plus mileage seasons. After all, an NFL map of the country makes Seattle look comically isolated. But it turns out they could actually have a surprisingly short travel schedule if the cards fell their way.
Using the same mileage calculator as before, the shortest distance the Seahawks could go in one season is roughly 8,300 miles. This would be road games against the three divisional opponents, and then Oakland, Denver, Minnesota, Kansas City, and Dallas. That would be away games against the NFC West, East, and North, and three AFC West teams. In other words, this is a scheduling impossibility. Oakland is Seattle’s closest opponent, at 677 miles away.
However, they are not merely a victim of their location. As mentioned before, Seattle has essentially five east coast games this year. The NY Jets on the other hand, don’t ever go further west of Cincinnati, Ohio. Miami comes to them, Oakland comes to them, Dallas comes to them.
The argument ad nausea has been the unfair advantage that East Coast teams have when playing games functionally earlier on a West Coast athlete’s body clock. It’s also been well documented, at Field Gulls and many other places, that Pete Carroll’s Seahawks don’t seem to notice the different much.
So here come the Hawks this year – At Pittsburgh, at Cleveland, at Atlanta, at Philly, and at Carolina. Maybe the NFL doesn’t really have an east bias. Maybe they just like a good David and Goliath story. A very tired, well-traveled David.