FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – The last time the New England Patriots spent a full week on the road during the regular season, they went on to win the Super Bowl.
In the wake of formally announcing their plans to do so this year, they naturally hope history repeats itself.
In 2014, back-to-back road trips to Green Bay and San Diego led the team to stay in California for a week. This year, consecutive road games against the Broncos and Raiders (in Mexico) will have the team remaining in Colorado next week.
“I think those trips are great,” said retired defensive end Rob Ninkovich, who was part of the 2014 team. “It just helps a team come together. With the age differences of older and younger guys on a team, a week away in a hotel creates an environment where everyone is together. In a regular work week at home, older guys with families do their job and then get home to the kids. On away trips like that, everyone hangs out together.”
In 2014, the Patriots trained at the University of San Diego. One change this year is that instead of heading to the locale of their next game, the club will remain in Colorado and train at a local university and then depart for Mexico like they normally would for a road game, the day before.
A possible added benefit is that they will be working in high altitude, which could help for their game in Mexico City. But that’s secondary to the other benefits of such a trip, which requires a financial commitment from ownership that is much greater than the standard road trip.
Cornerback Kyle Arrington, who played for the Patriots from 2009 to 2014, recalled the week in California fondly.
“I actually liked it. We did that as well when I was with the Ravens [in 2015],” he said. “It is a great opportunity to remain focused, especially if you’re a player with a wife and kids. Obviously you miss your family, but it’s nice to experience new environment for a week or two. When you play away, you usually don’t get a chance to get out and experience the sights and sounds. I definitely enjoyed it when I had the opportunity.”
The Patriots went 1-1 on their trip in 2014, losing 26-21 at Green Bay and then beating the Chargers 23-14.
After the win over the Chargers, in which Patriots fans made it feel almost like a home game by the end, coach Bill Belichick said, “I thought it was the best thing we could do. The last two days were really the most important part because we didn’t have to have the cross-country trip. We got a lot of rest. We had a couple good days of preparation on Friday and Saturday.”