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The Longest Yards: The Very Idea of a "Home" Team Gets Fouled 

Tuesday, Sep 30 2014
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During the 49ers opening game at the team's glossy, high-tech stadium in Santa Clara, NBC opened its commercial breaks with shots of the Golden Gate Bridge. The irony wasn't lost on fans watching from the comfort of their couches — the Niners aren't anywhere near San Francisco, or its iconic tourist destinations, anymore.

City purists had another, darker reason to scoff at the commute to Levi's Stadium when Supervisor London Breed denounced the Niners' decision to play Ray McDonald during the investigation into the alleged domestic violence by the defensive end.

"Mr. McDonald should be held to the same standard as everyone else whose uniform bears the name 'San Francisco,'" she wrote.

But that's just it: In their new stadium, the Niners are a San Francisco team in name only. In fact, fans who live in San Francisco have to travel farther to see their "home" team than fans of any other team in the NFL, as our chart details (farther even than the wide-open spaces separating the Cowboys from Dallas!).

Certain fans, of course, were discounted from our tally; namely, those who root for the geographically vague Carolina Panthers and New England Patriots. To them, we ask: Why not Carolinas Panthers? And what right does Massachusetts have to strip the title of "New England" from its surrounding colonial states?

We have a question for local fans, too: How far will you go for your team?

Numbers represent miles from city the team is named after

Cleveland Browns

First Energy Stadium, Cleveland 0.6

Detroit Lions

Ford Field, Detroit 0.7

Indianapolis Colts

Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis 0.7

New Orleans Saints

Mercedes-Benz Superdome,

New Orleans 0.7

Cincinnati Bengals

Paul Brown Stadium, Cincinnati 0.8

Tennessee Titans

LP Field, Nashville 0.9

Seattle Seahawks

CenturyLink Field, Seattle 0.9

Atlanta Falcons

Georgia Dome, Atlanta 1

St. Louis Rams

Edward Jones Dome, St. Louis 1.2

Pittsburgh Steelers

Heinz Field, Pittsburgh 1.3

Jacksonville Jaguars

EverBank Field, Jacksonville 1.3

Baltimore Ravens

M&T Bank Stadium, Baltimore 1.5

Chicago Bears

Soldier Field, Chicago 2.2

Denver Broncos

Sports Authority Field at Mile High, Denver 2.6

Minnesota Vikings

TFC Bank Stadium, Minneapolis 2.6

Green Bay Packers

Lambeau Field, Green Bay 3.1

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Raymond James Stadium, Tampa 4.7

Oakland Raiders Coliseum, Oakland 6.3

Philadelphia Eagles

Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia 7.2

San Diego Chargers

Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego 7.2

Kansas City Chiefs

Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City 7.9

Houston Texans

NRG Stadium, Houston 8.4

Washington Redskins

FedExField, Landover, MD 11.1

New York Jets

MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, NJ 11.2

New York Giants

MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, NJ 11.2

Buffalo Bills

Ralph Wilson Stadium, Orchard Park 11.5

Miami Dolphins

Sun Life Stadium, Miami Gardens 15

Arizona Cardinals

University of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale 16.7

Dallas Cowboys

AT&T Stadium, Arlington 18.8

San Francisco 49ers

Levi's Stadium, Santa Clara 42.9

Carolina Panthers

Bank of America Stadium,

Charlotte, NC ?

New England Patriots

Gillette Stadium, Foxborough, MA ?


About The Author

Kate Conger

Kate Conger has written for SF Weekly since 2011.

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