Want to hit the road to watch your favorite NFL team play during the preseason or regular season? How about a summer vacation or a few days to enjoy training camp and all the crunching hits up close and personal?
Here are recommended road trips per team, including information on each club’s training camp locations. Most are open to the public and free.
For camps, also be sure to check the team website for fan access, including practice schedules and more. I’ve included contact information in each team profile.
In the AFC, the Jets, Bills, Steelers, Bengals, Ravens, Colts, Chiefs and Raiders all hit the road and hold camp outside their home cities. But the eight other teams in the AFC (Patriots, Dolphins, Browns, Titans, Jaguars, Texans, Chargers, Broncos) host training camp at their year-round practice facility, which is in or within an hour’s drive of their home city.
Among my top five favorites for the most lively, intimate and fan-friendly camps in the AFC are the Bills, Steelers, Colts, Broncos and Jets.
As for regular-season roadies, here are among my five most intriguing:
Redskins host the Colts in prime time
The Colts return home (well, at least close to their former home) Oct. 17 as Peyton Manning and the boys visit the Nation’s Capitol to battle Donovan McNabb and the Redskins in a prime time game. Fall is a great time to visit D.C. and you’ll have time to do so before the tailgating begins.
Donning black on Halloween
Halloween alternative: Make your friends jealous and dress like a Werewolf of London as the Broncos and the 49ers do battle Oct. 31 at Wembley Stadium in England.
Class of the AFC meet up: It isn’t often that two of the most successful franchises in the last decade play, but it will happen Nov. 14 in the Steel City as the Pats visit Heinz Field in Pittsburgh. Jets fans, for a wild road trip adventure, head to Cleveland earlier that day when the Dog Pound will be rocking. After the game, drive two hours back toward the Empire State to see how the division rival Patriots fare against Big Ben on his home turf in a prime time showdown.
The Bengals close out Thanksgiving Night against the Jets at the New Meadowlands Stadium. Earlier that day, enjoy the Thanksgiving Day Parade in Manhattan and make the most of the holiday weekend in New York City. That Sunday, you could even jaunt down the I-95 corridor to Baltimore or Washington on the train as both clubs are home (Ravens host Buccaneers; Redskins host Miami).
Joe Connor is a contributor to NBCSports.com and author of the annually-updated online training camp and stadium guide, “A Fan’s Guide To The Ultimate NFL Travel Experience” which is available for purchase exclusively at his Web site: www.mrsportstravel.com.
ProFootballTalk: Patriots QB Tom Brady addressed Wes Welker’s decision to head West to Denver. Brady says he isn’t surprised by anything after being in the league for so long and hopes that Welker has a great season with the Broncos.
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