Ben McAdoo already had a passport. He needed it when he was an assistant coach with the 49ers in 2005 and that team played in Mexico City. But when he became the Giants’ coach and his team was scheduled to play the Los Angeles Rams in London, he did have to renew the documentation and have it updated.
“I’m not much of a world traveler,” he said.
This week he will be. And so will his team.
The Giants will face the Rams on Sunday as part of the NFL’s international series. The Rams flew directly to London after their game in Detroit rather than fly back to Los Angeles and then all the way to England. But the Giants won’t be leaving until Thursday night.
That gives them time to get some of their football business taken care of at home in New Jersey, but not much to get their bigger travel issues lined up. Passports, of course, are the priority and were taken care of early in training camp. There’s also the matter of keeping the players on a good sleep schedule, keeping them hydrated and feeding them properly.
“We’ve done a lot of homework to make sure we bridge the gap, so to speak,” McAdoo said of the culinary challenges of feeding 63 professional athletes in the days before a game.
The last time the Giants played overseas was in 2007, and the only player left from that team is Eli Manning.
“We just have to do a great job early in the week, make sure we’re getting our preparation,” Manning said of the longer-than-usual trip. “Once you get over there, things are going to be off a little bit. You’re not in your own facility, so we have to make sure we have great preparation here in the States. Getting our sleep, getting hydrated . . . We have a good team, good leadership, and we’ll handle that and make sure we’re prepared.”
Not all of that can be covered in New Jersey. McAdoo said the coaching staff will take advantage of the seven-hour flight by working on the game plan.
“Everyone usually gets some type of work done on the plane for a road game, but with it being Thursday night, it’s still pretty early in the week,” he said. “We’ll have some things we need to brush up on and tighten up . . . We’ll have the foundation for everything set early, but we have to be smart.”
As for the players, they’ll practice Wednesday and Thursday and then sleep on the flight if they can (and the medical staff likely will be of service to those who usually have difficulty dozing on a plane).
“We’ll change some things up on Friday,” McAdoo said. “Normal ‘Fresh Friday’ and make sure we get them moving right away after we sleep on the plane, get them moving, give them a chance to recover. Saturday, we’ll change up the afternoon a little bit. They’ll have more time to spend with their teammates, take a nap if they want to do that.”
Then on Sunday, they will experience the only part of the journey that will feel normal: Head to the stadium and play a football game.