San Francisco 49ers

Tough slog: 49ers to travel most miles in 2015

The 49ers will lead the NFL in air miles traveled for the second time in three seasons.
The 49ers will lead the NFL in air miles traveled for the second time in three seasons. file

The 49ers will be kings of the road again this season, racking up a league-high 27,998 air miles thanks to four trips to the eastern time zone, according to a tally by CBS Sports.

The 49ers, of course, are familiar with this distinction. They had the longest road to travel as recently as 2013 when the schedule included a game in London.

What's interesting this year is that the 49ers' west-coast location means more miles than all six teams playing in London this year: the Dolphins, Chiefs, Lions, Jets, Jaguars and Bills.

That is, if the argument is that a London game puts a team at a disadvantage, the west-coast teams can point out they play with a similar or worse handicap each season.

It also underscores why the 49ers (and probably the Seahawks and Cardinals) would be happy if a division rival like the Rams moved to Los Angeles. The annual trip to St. Louis is about 3,400 air miles. If it were to the Los Angeles area instead, it would be around 600 miles.

Of course, a long itinerary doesn't necessarily equate to losses.

The 49ers, for example, nearly beat the Seahawks in Seattle at the end of their 2013 season. They traveled nearly 33,000 miles during the regular season, by far the most in the NFL that year. Then they tacked on another 9,500 miles in the playoffs.

To put that in perspective, the circumference of the earth is 24,901 miles. So it was as if the 49ers nearly circled the globe twice and still finished 14-5.

Of course, you can argue that the 2013 slog contributed to their 2014 malaise. They only traveled 19,700 miles last year -- a hop, skip and a jump for them -- but finished 8-8, had an avalanche of injuries and infighting and let go of all their top coaches.

* The 49ers’s total would be reduced by nearly 4,000 miles if they decided to stay in Youngstown, Ohio between their games in Chicago and Cleveland. As of now, however, they are scheduled to return to San Jose following the Bears game.

** CBS's tally put the 49ers at 27,998 miles. I used San Jose at their departing airport -- which is what they typically use -- and got a slightly smaller number. Still, it leads the NFL in air miles traveled.

Long haul

9/20 at Pittsburgh: 4,402 air miles

9/27 at Arizona: 1,224

10/11 at NY Giants: 5,132

11/1 at St. Louis: 3,420

11/22 at Seattle: 1,378

12/6 at Chicago: 3,618

12/13 at Cleveland: 4,222

12/27 at Detroit: 4094

Total: 27,490

Matt Barrows: @mattbarrows, read more about the team at sacbee.com/sf49ers.

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