EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Tom Coughlin is hoping his first journey to London is nothing more than a very long business trip.
It's the only way the New York Giants coach knows how to approach facing the Miami Dolphins on Sunday in the first regular-season NFL game played overseas.
"The league has been in contact with us since Day 1," Coughlin said Monday. "Schedules have been laid out and detail work has been done. The league has been trying to make it as much a normal schedule as possible."
The big difference is the travel. There are some regular-season games where teams have to fly nearly as far across the United States as the Europe. This one will add a flight across the Atlantic Ocean to a country where football is played without helmets and shoulder pads and players score goals instead of touchdowns.
The NFL kicked off its campaign to bring American football overseas in mid-January and announced a couple of weeks later the Dolphins and Giants would take part in the game.
The Giants started their preparation in April, but Coughlin hopes the team doesn't get caught changing much for this trip.
The Giants (5-2) are riding a five-game winning streak and have the added distraction of playing the winless Dolphins, who are 0-7 for the first time in their 42-year history.
"I hope that we conduct things the same way we have been going along in terms of recognizing the talent of the opposing team, realizing that any given Sunday if you are not prepared (you can lose)," Coughlin said.
Coughlin said his team made a number of mistakes in a 33-15 win over the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday. Quarterback Eli Manning threw an interception, the halfbacks dropped at least four passes and the special teams allowed a Jeff Feagles punt to be blocked for a safety.
The Giants, who have known they would be playing in London since February, have changed the normal work schedule this week. Players would normally go over the previous day's game on Monday and then have Tuesday off. Practice would be held Wednesday through Friday, with a walkthrough Saturday before traveling.
The players were given off Monday this week and they will practice Tuesday through Thursday before traveling to London, arriving at 6 a.m. Friday. They will have meetings and practice on Friday, and meetings and a walkthrough on Saturday at Wembley Stadium.
The Giants don't seem overly concerned about the long travel.
"It's the same thing Miami is dealing with, unless they were over there earlier than us," linebacker Antonio Pierce said. "Of course we want to see a little bit of London, but at the same time we are going over there to play a game and win."
Jim Phelan, the team's director of administration who handles all their travel plans, has made trips to London to handle the normal logistics dealing with transportation, hotel, practice facility and customs.
The nation grieved for those hurt, killed and affected by the Boston Marathon bombings. After one of the suspects was caught on Friday — following a day-long lockdown and manhunt — sports returned to Boston over the weekend.
Giants and Dolphins representative met for three days in London in May to discuss logistics and marketing, Giants spokesman Pat Hanlon said.
A team official left Monday to do advance work, added Hanlon, noting that the Giants have chosen a hotel "as American as a European hotel can be" to help the players adjust.
"I have been told that the quality of the fields are outstanding," Coughlin said. "Our travel over there will be an educational one."
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