Over the past few years, more and more teams have moved their training camps from a remote location to increasingly swanky and versatile team headquarters. For many, the decision became simple; why incur a bunch of expenses to hold camp at some local college when we’ve already spent millions on a state-of-the-art practice and workout facility at home? Apart from the cost savings, the proliferation of offseason workouts has made it easier to justify refraining from an intense, focused experience that removes athletes from their normal routines.
Currently, the league is split when it comes to on-site and off-site training camps. Of those that still leave town, two (the Ravens and Jets) already have decided to stay home this year, and the Vikings have established July 18 as the drop-dead date for returning to Mankato.
This year, with the players locked out and no team-organized offseason workouts happening and no contact permitted between coaches and players and players for many teams scattered all over the country, taking training camp out of town will be even more valuable, giving the franchise the best environment for restoring relationships and concentrating on the task of making up for lost time.
So while business considerations surely are influencing some teams to scuttle plans to take all their stuff to another location when there’s no guarantee that there will be time for a normal training camp, the ultimate business of football is winning games. An off-site training camp could enhance that prospect in 2011, and that’s why the teams that haven’t made a decision yet are wise to keep waiting, as long as possible, before saving a few more bucks while possibly setting the stage for losing a few extra games.