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Off-site training camps make more sense than ever this year

Chad Greenway, Nate Triplett AP

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.

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14 Responses to “Off-site training camps make more sense than ever this year”
  1. tombrookshire says: Jun 25, 2011 8:35 AM

    I know that the Eagles for one make their training camp an event. Since no one is allowed into the home practice facilities, the Lehigh location provides a place for fans and kids to see some of training camp. More importantly (to the Eagles), fans BUY lots of stuff – jerseys, hats, coats, jackets, cheerleader calendars, and all the rest of the licensed and logoed crap they sell. They make it like an amusement park, with passing games, blocking sleds, field goal kicking – where players are required to sign autographs, although many of them bitch about it and/or fail to show up, and appear on local radio and tv programming including their own “network.” It’s something that the Eagles use to claim they are fan-friendly, even though the whole thing is designed for, wait for it, to make money – which of course, is what the Eagles are all about.

  2. blackdb says: Jun 25, 2011 8:45 AM

    While I am sure money factors in to a degree. It is a huge undertaking to have camp off site. between all the video equipment and computers to planning meals and travel it is not something that can be done overnight. I agree that being secluded for camp has its advantages. Unfortunately while all teams owners will claim they are in it to win at all costs. They all want to make $$$$. Some will use this as an excuse to save money, while some may genuinely think they can’t pull it off time wise.

  3. arrogantathlete says: Jun 25, 2011 8:50 AM

    If anything this offseason shows us is how much some players are selfish and dont give a rats rear end about the fans. They are probably happy they don’t have interact with the fans.

  4. kirschmania says: Jun 25, 2011 9:53 AM

    I always thought they did these for the players to hang out with their new and old teammates and to build a little chemistry for those couple weeks. You get to know someone pretty quick living in those dorms.

  5. chademer07 says: Jun 25, 2011 10:39 AM

    I live like 15 minutes away from Lehigh University where the Eagles have training camp and have been there a few times. Training camp is great for not only the fans, we actually get to watch them, its good for the organization as well cause they sell a ton like tom said. It’s almost like advertisement, its gets the fans excited for football, which can only help sales.

  6. bronco1st says: Jun 25, 2011 11:11 AM

    I fail to see any advantage to off site TCs. The only point I can see is the extension of a childish college atmosphere to placate the spoiled kids who cling to the immature acts of hazing and “hell week” activities designed to “initiate” the rookies into the “manhood” of being a pro. Grow up children, day camp is something that should be outgrown like the Easter Bunnies and Fairy Godmothers.

  7. dontouchmyjunk says: Jun 25, 2011 11:17 AM

    NFL teams are billion dollar businesses. If they can’t figure out how to actually make most of their money back at a training camp facility, then they deserve to lose money as well as games.

    As has been pointed out, for the Eagles, training camp at Lehigh is a money- MAKING endeavor.

    Of course, in order to make money at training camps, teams need to have a loyal and passionate fan base. This will exclude the six teams in the running for the move to LA.

  8. flyskimmy says: Jun 25, 2011 11:30 AM

    Off-site camp is great. It has been a huge draw for many teams, but I think with the uncertainty and time crunch it just doesn’t make sense from a logistical perspective. Teams have to pick up and move everything to the new site, arrange for travel and housing of players while trying to work around the college’s event schedule that might also have a football team of their own preparing for their season. I don’t think it’s something that could just be thrown together at the last minute and be successful.

  9. prior0knowledge says: Jun 25, 2011 12:00 PM

    bronco1st says:

    I fail to see any advantage to off site TCs. The only point I can see is the extension of a childish college atmosphere to placate the spoiled kids who cling to the immature acts of hazing and “hell week” activities designed to “initiate” the rookies into the “manhood” of being a pro. …

    —-

    Because we all know how “grown-up” most professional football players act. All of them always act so mature: never getting in silly trouble, etc. Give me a break. What a bone-head post. Of course, there are advantages as well as disadvantages of off-site training camps.

    Pro:
    The main advantage of off-site training camp is to immerse the player in training. You can’t do that when when they commute daily to camp and then spend time with their families in the evening creating less distraction from home life.

    Con:
    But is the disruption of a player’s home life a distraction by itself? Obviously, married men with small children are affected differently than single men.

  10. bunjy96 says: Jun 25, 2011 12:33 PM

    Thought only about half the teams have TC away from their home town.

    Point being, they must be doing something right if they get to the playoffs.

  11. bronco1st says: Jun 25, 2011 1:43 PM

    prior0knowledge says:

    Because we all know how “grown-up” most professional football players act. All of them always act so mature: never getting in silly trouble, etc. Give me a break. What a bone-head post. Of course, there are advantages as well as disadvantages of off-site training camps.

    Pro:
    The main advantage of off-site training camp is to immerse the player in training. You can’t do that when when they commute daily to camp and then spend time with their families in the evening creating less distraction from home life.

    Con:
    But is the disruption of a player’s home life a distraction by itself? Obviously, married men with small children are affected differently than single men.

    Your insult matches your wit, weak. Since when do players/teams practice at night during TC, either off-site or on? It’s a stupid boys club, a frat house or as you stupidly suggest, boys time off from their wife and kids. Real men want to be around their families.

  12. bunjy96 says: Jun 25, 2011 2:04 PM

    Pro:
    The main advantage of off-site training camp is to immerse the player in training. You can’t do that when when they commute daily to camp and then spend time with their families in the evening creating less distraction from home life.

    ************
    Some teams put them up at a nearby hotel. Which is no different than be in a college dorm, except the amenities might be better.

  13. bunjy96 says: Jun 25, 2011 2:07 PM

    Since when do players/teams practice at night during TC, either off-site or on?

    Some teams have done it.

  14. kirschmania says: Jun 26, 2011 9:26 AM

    bronco1st you need to ease up. You’re coming across as kind of arrogant. You make it sound as if its the players who like sleeping in bunkbeds and staying in these cramped dorms for those couple weeks. And for the most part these grown men who play the game work pretty damn hard at it. The things they do aren’t easy, it takes a lot of hard work physically and mentally preparing. You sound like someone who’s unhappy with life.

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