I was bored today and my mind started to wander in the direction it always tends to wander when I get bored and that would be towards football. Somehow or another my chain of thoughts made me wonder how many miles the 32 NFL teams travel on average per season when they fly around the country to play football. Then I thought to myself “man, if they reorganized the divisions I bet they could save ton of money on fuel costs.” And next thing you know, I’m looking up distances between different NFL cities and seeing what would be the most efficient way to arrange the divisions to minimize total travel distance for the teams to play games within their division.
Let me first start by saying that I realize this would ruin a lot of the tradition in the NFL and would be breaking up bunch of the divisions historical division rivalries and by no means am I actually proposing that the NFL does this. It’s just something interesting to look at. I just wanted to see how many total miles of flying is done by the NFL for division games, and then come up with the divisions that would reduce that number the greatest amount and then compare.
Here is a map showing what I came up with:
Here is a break down of which teams are in each division:
1 – Seattle Seahawks, San Francisco 49ers, Oakland Raiders, and San Diego Chargers
2 – Arizona Cardinals, Denver Broncos, Dallas Cowboys and Houston Texans
3 – Minnesota Vikings, Green Bay Packers, St. Louis Rams, and Kansas City Chiefs
4 – Chicago Bears, Indianapolis Colts, Cleveland Browns, and Detroit Lions
5 – Cincinnati Bengals, Tennessee Titans, Atlanta Falcons, and Carolina Panthers
6 – Buffalo Bills, Pittsburgh Steelers, Washington Redskins, and Baltimore Ravens
7 – New Orleans Saints, Jacksonville Jaguars, Miami Dolphins, and Tampa Bay Buccaneers
8 – Philadelphia Eagles, New York Jets, New York Giants and New England Patriots
I actually put a lot of research into this, it took quite a bit of effort, and the best part is that after I had taken all the time and effort to do it, I found out that somebody by the name of John E. Mitchell had already done it all. Did I say best part? I definitely meant the worst part. On the bright side, it was a good way to make sure that I had done it all correctly. The other guy went much further into it than I did though so instead of putting up all of my research and data, I will simply link you to his site, by telling you to click here. He even has a map that’s like mine. He also takes the additional step of comparing the total distances to the current NFL divisions and then he does it by keeping the conferences the same; you can check all of that out here. And even though his spreadsheet showing the distances between the different NFL teams is pretty confusing, there was somebody else out there who put one together that was even better than mine.
The current way that the NFL has the division set up has a sum of divisional distances of 31,366.82 miles, while the way I had the divisions has a sum distance of 17,371.67 miles. That is a huge difference and with the way gas prices are that could be a pretty nice way to reduce the leagues spending. Let me know what you think in a comment.
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