2012 49ers schedule: Simple requests
April, 16, 2012
By Mike Sando | ESPN.com
A few simple requests for the San Francisco 49ers amid expectations the NFL will release its regular-season schedule Tuesday:
- Cut down on the 10 a.m. PT kickoffs for road trips to the Eastern time zone. The other Western teams have similar concerns. All know what it's like traveling across time zones for games requiring them to awaken when players' body clocks are telling them it's 5 in the morning. Unlike those other Western teams, the 49ers were successful enough last season to justify moving some of their Eastern games to later time slots, including prime time. There's something wrong if the 49ers emerge with another five or six games in the 10 a.m. PT slot.
- Avoid back-to-back road games against New England Patriots, New York Jets, New Orleans Saints, St. Louis Rams or Minnesota Vikings. Every one of those trips is at least 1,590 air miles each way. One line of thinking says the NFL would not schedule East Coast trips in successive weeks against a team's will. That is something to consider with the 49ers, who won at Cincinnati and Philadelphia in back-to-back weeks last season, remaining in Ohio between games. Perhaps they would welcome another long getaway.
- Schedule that road game against the Saints for early in the season. That is when New Orleans figures to be most vulnerable to fallout from its bounty punishment. Interim coach Joe Vitt will miss the first six games. The Saints could also be without defensive players, depending upon how the league decides to punish players for their role in the bounty scandal. Audio tapes revealed former Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams encouraging players to take out certain San Francisco players. The 49ers might as well realize maximum benefit from the sanctions against the Saints.
- No more cross-country trips on short weeks. Last season, the 49ers played a home game against Arizona, then flew across the country for a Thanksgiving game against Baltimore four days later. That was a brutal turnaround, especially so late in the season.
- Another home game late in the season might be nice. The 49ers have played three of their final five games on the road in each of the previous four regular seasons. That should even out over time.