NASHVILLE, Tenn. - NFL road games are not only tough to win, they are tough to plan. After the league schedule is released in early April, Titans operations employees begin organizing road trips which are carefully planned out to maximize the team's performance.
With about 140 people on each road trip, it's not easy to schedule all of the intricacies including hotels and transportation. From April to July, Titans operations employees are on the phone scouting and booking reservations. Trying to prevent anything from going wrong, the organization sends an "advance man" to the city a few days before the rest of the team arrives. Brent Akers or Brad McClanahan makes sure everything is ready for the squad.
A Delta airplane is chartered by the team to accommodate the large traveling party. Players' families and friends are not allowed on the plane, usually a 757 or 767 because the group is too big for a customized jet similar to many NBA and MLB teams. With NFL teams having less than a dozen road trips each year, it's not as cost effective to buy a plane as it is to charter.
The day before a road game, the team travels from the Titans offices at Baptist Sports Park to the staging area at the airport, separate from the main commercial terminal. To save time, Titans operations arrange for a private screening area and parking area for players and coaches. Titans personnel must meet with and call a variety of people in advance to make sure everything runs smoothly.
"You have to plan and execute the staging area at the airport in Nashville and at the destination," said Vice President of Sales and Operations Stuart Spears. "You have to coordinate trucks, buses and police escorts to take everyone to the hotel and stadium. At the stadium, you have to coordinate where the buses come in, the time the locker room can be set up and an exit plan for the buses following the game."
Since it's not convenient to have everyone go to a restaurant together, food is made available on the plane and at the hotel. Like Titans training camp, players always have plenty of food at their disposal on road trips. Fullback Casey Cramer appreciates the food and the speed of travel.
"The efficiency on trips is great," said Titans fullback Casey Cramer. "They get you through the airport quickly and with food. We always have food readily available. They feed us right when we get on the plane; a meal is served on the plane, then snacks, and dinner at the hotel before more snacks at night. You can gain three or four pounds every road trip, which is wonderful."
Consistent scheduling on road trips is very important to Jeff Fisher. In his 16th season as head coach, no other active NFL head coaches have been with their current team longer than Fisher. He doesn't like to do new things on each road trip. The Titans road record shows why. Since Fisher began his first full season in 1995, the organization has the third best road record in the league (61-51). Why would Fisher change anything? Even the flight attendants are the same. While the city provides a different element to each road trip, the schedule seems routine. As a result, the players can easily understand where they need to be and where they need to go.
"They have everything planned for you to get you ready for the game," said Titans quarterback Kerry Collins. "It is definitely a schedule where you don't have a lot of time by yourself, but that is the way it's supposed to be. Everybody is there to focus on the game. We do the same thing every time and it's a good schedule."
The Titans consistent play last season allowed them to win their first six road games. A similar routine this year may lead to similar results.
Observations From Titans Minicamp on Tuesday
The start of the minicamp meant the offseason practice field debuts for several players, including running back Derrick Henry, cornerback Janoris "Jackrabbit" Jenkins and guard Rodger Saffold, among others.
Tuesday Mailbag: Jim Wyatt Answers Questions From Titans Fans
Senior Writer and Editor Jim Wyatt tackles questions from fans in the latest edition of the mailbag.
A Great Catch: Titans WRs Coach Rob Moore Excited About the Addition of WR Julio Jones
Moore has been around some pretty notable receivers in his day, from Amari Cooper to Michael Crabtree to Sammy Watkins. Until recently, Moore only witnessed seven-time Pro Bowler Julio Jones from afar.
Titans TE Anthony Firkser Teaches Skills, Life Lessons at Football Camp for Kids
Tight end Anthony Firkser worked to established himself in Nashville, with the Titans. On Sunday, Firkser gave back to the community with his first football camp for kids.
Decorated Wrestler Adam Coon Aims to Pin Down Job With Titans
Coon practiced with the Titans for the first time last week. It was Coon's first time on a football field since playing high school football. Titans HC Mike Vrabel reminded everyone Coon isn't the first wrestler attempting to establish himself in the NFL.
Weekend Mailbag: Jim Wyatt Answers Questions From Titans Fans
Senior Writer and Editor Jim Wyatt tackles questions from Titans fans following the practice field debut of veteran receiver Julio Jones.
QB Ryan Tannehill, WR Julio Jones Work to Get On Same Page With Titans
Tannehill threw passes to Jones in Thursday's OTA, and the two began building chemistry they hope will pay off this fall.
Veteran WR Julio Jones Excited About New Chapter With the Titans
New Titans receiver Julio Jones, acquired from the Falcons in a trade over the weekend, spoke to reporters in Nashville for the first time on Thursday during a video conference call.
Observations From Thursday's Titans OTA, Which Included the Practice Field Debut of WR Julio Jones
The Titans hit the field at Saint Thomas Sports Park on Thursday for their ninth day of organized team activities this offseason. Receiver Julio Jones, acquired over the weekend in a trade with the Falcons, practiced for the first time with his new teammates.
Titans Reach Deal with 4th Round Pick Rashad Weaver
Weaver (6-4, 259) was a semifinalist for the Bednarik Award (presented to the national defensive player of the year) after starting in nine games at defensive end. In 2020, Weaver totaled 35 tackles, 14.5 tackles for loss, 7.5 sacks, three forced fumbles and a fumble recovery. He led the ACC in sacks per game (0.83 avg.) and tackles for loss per game (1.61 avg.).
Titans WR A.J. Brown Should Benefit From the Arrival of Julio Jones
Brown was named a Pro Bowler in 2020 after his second straight 1,000-yard season. In 14 games last season, Brown caught 70 passes for 1,075 yards and 11 touchdowns. In his first two NFL seasons, Brown has 2,126 receiving yards and 19 touchdowns.
Preparations for Titans Road Trips Begin Early in the Offseason
Aug 11, 2009 at 08:24 AM