Oct. 23, 2010MAIOCCO ARCHIVEGIANTS PAGE GIANTS VIDEOMatt Maiocco
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- This is an honest-to-goodness football road trip for the 49ers ... and those who cover them.
The 49ers took players on their active roster, as well as all eight players on the practice squad, on the charter Friday afternoon. Each person was allowed one piece of luggage and a carry-on for the 10-night, two-game road trip.
The 49ers will leave for London immediately after their game Sunday against the Carolina Panthers. Meanwhile, the Broncos play a home game against the Raiders. They will have a normal work week in Denver, and make the flight Friday to the U.K.
"I'm not sure that anyone has gone to London as late as Denver has," said 49ers owner John York, the chair of the NFL's international committee. "But there have been a number of teams that have gone over on Wednesday or Thursday, and there have been an equal number of teams that have gone over after they have played the week before.
"I don't think at this point we have enough games under our belt to tell whether or not one gives you an advantage over the other. Denver took one extreme, and we took the other. It was our choice, and it was Denver's choice."
A long time ago, my former employer asked me to go ahead and price a flight to London for this game, which the league announced in mid-January. The 49ers asked the NFL for a game in the Eastern time zone the week before the London trip.
It figured to be either Atlanta or Carolina. I guessed Atlanta. I guessed wrong.
So I kept my San Francisco-to-Atlanta-to-London flight. And I added a car rental and 265-mile drive to my itinerary. So this morning, I left my home at 4 a.m. for a 6 a.m. flight out of SFO. Scribes Dan Brown and Matt Barrows were also on the flight to Atlanta, but they had flights from Atlanta to Charlotte.
I arrived at my uptown Charlotte hotel around 6:30 p.m. (ET). If my math is correct, from house to hotel, it took me 11 hours, 30 minutes.
The main priority this evening is to find a place to watch the Giants-Phillies game. Then, tomorrow it's a short walk to the stadium for the 49ers-Panthers game.
Then, I'll try to talk Brown and Barrows into ditching their Monday flights and accompanying me on a leisurely drive from Charlotte to Atlanta, where we'll be on the same plane with the destination of London.