The New England Patriots' extended December stay in Los Angeles seemed like a great idea. Then COVID-19 came along.
The Patriots are scheduled to play at the Los Angeles Chargers on Dec. 6 and at the L.A. Rams on Thursday, Dec. 10. The team actually requested to play its two L.A. games back-to-back so it could spend the short week in Southern California rather than making an extra cross-country trip.
The coronavirus pandemic may throw a wrench in those travel plans, however. According to NBC Sports' Peter King, the NFL plans to "to strongly urge teams not to stay on the road that long, despite the inconvenience for the teams involved."
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Per King, clubs hoping to spend a week on the road between games will need to file detailed infectious disease emergence response (IDER) plans that both the NFL and the NFL Players Association would need to approve before allowing them to travel.
That's an extra hoop to jump through, but the Patriots might want to do it anyway. If they don't stay in L.A. between games, they'd have to take a red-eye flight from L.A. that lands in Boston on Monday, Dec. 7, then turn around two days later and fly back out mid-day Wednesday.
King noted the NFL might have to "bend" its travel recommendation for New England, which is the only team among the eight clubs playing back-to-back road games on the opposite coast that also has to play on a short week.
Still, travel could be a major issue for the NFL after several Major League Baseball teams had to cancel games this past week due to a COVID-19 outbreak on the Miami Marlins. Five of the Patriots' eight road games in 2020 are in another time zone -- including three on the West Coast -- so this is a development worth following in New England.