NFL teams have yet to adopt a tried-and-true method in terms of travel to London, where the league plays the bulk of its games in the annual International Series. Last year, for instance, the New Orleans Saints flew across the Atlantic almost immediately after their game in Charlotte the Sunday before and spent nearly the entire week in England while the Miami Dolphins, their Wembley Stadium opponent, departed the Thursday before the game and landed on Friday. The Jacksonville Jaguars, Baltimore Ravens, Los Angeles Rams and Cleveland Browns also flew on Thursday. The Arizona Cardinals flew out on Monday, while the Minnesota Vikings departed Wednesday.
This year’s first London game is Sunday when the Seahawks play the Raiders. Seattle is flying east on Wednesday while Oakland will spend an extra day at home and depart Thursday, leaving time for only two walk-throughs in England before Sunday’s game. Raiders Coach Jon Gruden isn’t looking forward to the experience, no matter when his team is leaving.
“I hope I can make it, honestly. I’m not great [traveling],” Gruden said, per NBC Sports Bay Area. “I get claustrophobic. My son was a weightlifter, and he won a powerlifting competition in Belarus. I had to fly 14 hours. I had to fly home 14 hours. I had vertigo for a month. I couldn’t even lay down, the house was spinning. I am hoping I don’t get vertigo. I’m not a great traveler.
"I’ll be honest with you. I hate it. I’m not good. I’m concerned. I’m more worried about that than our goal-line offense right now.”
One would think the condensed travel time actually would make things worse for Gruden, considering an extra day or two might be needed to recover from any vertigo attack brought on by the 10 1/2-hour flight from the Bay Area to London. But he apparently will tough it out and isn’t totally dreading it.
“I’m excited to go over there and make some friends,” Gruden said. “My brother got to go as a Redskin and he loved it. My son got to go as a member of the Redskins and he loved it, so I will, too.”
The trip to London caps a particularly arduous stretch of early-season travel for the Raiders, who will have played four road games in the five weeks that precede their Week 7 bye. One of those games was at altitude in Denver, the one that followed was a 1 p.m. Eastern kickoff in Miami, and the last one is a game on a different continent.
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