The Miami Dolphins will adjust the normal travel schedule for NFL teams by traveling for their Week 1 contest at the Seattle Seahawks on Thursday, rather than the traditional Friday travel time. The team is having to make the longest, non-international flight they could make this year, traveling from the most southeast city in the league to the most northwest, and they are looking to get into the western timezone as early as possible, in an effort to adjust to the time.
Head coach Adam Gase explained the decision on Tuesday, saying the plane flight feels like you are in the air for a day, adding, “We just thought since it was the first game of the year, it would give us some more time out there to just get … That’s a long trip. So we felt like getting out there, kind of getting our guys accustomed to the sleep patterns going on and finishing up the week out there. We just thought it was best and gave us the best chance to win, as far as getting our guys ready to go. We just want to feel as good as we can going into that game. We’ll see what the results are.”
The Dolphins have two more west coast games on the schedule this year, facing the San Diego Chargers and Los Angeles Rams in back-to-back weeks in November. Could the team look for a similar set of travel plans for those games?
“I mean we’re going to kind of see,” Gase said of the other west coast trips. “We’ve got an initial plan right now but we’re going to kind of see how everything goes on this trip. Obviously everything is day to day. We’ll see how it goes and then if we need to make some changes, then we’ll make them.”
The move could be a good one for the Dolphins, giving them the extra day to adjust to the time change. The travel east to west is not as rough on teams as those that come from the west coast to play on the east coast, but any move to try to eliminate any advantage the Seahawks have due to not needing to travel is a smart decision by the coaches for the Dolphins. The team will really be the only ones who can determine if the change to a Thursday travel day has a positive impact, but it is worth the attempt to see if there is any benefit to the change.
The Dolphins will kickoff against the Seahawks at 4:05pm ET Sunday, opening the 2016 regular season for both teams.