NFL teams are buying into the saying that there’s no place like home … even for training camp.
While most of the camps around the NFL don’t open until next week, there is a generally increasing trend of having more camps at home base. From 2000 to 2008, more than half of the NFL’s training camps were held away from their regular-season training headquarters, but that changed in 2009, when more than half of the camps started to be held at home.
In 2009 and 2010, 17 of the 32 NFL teams held training camp at home. For a four-year stretch between 2011 and 2014, 18 or 19 camps were held at home. Last year, the number increased to 20 of 32 teams (62.5 percent), but this year it dropped to 19 teams (59 percent).
There are varying opinions from coach to coach and team to team.
Some coaches like to have players isolated away from home to have more time to study playbooks and schemes, and spend time bonding with teammates. The Los Angeles Rams moved from St. Louis this year and will hold their training camp at the University of California-Irvine.
“We look forward to training at UCI in preparation for the 2016 season,” said Rams head coach Jeff Fisher. “Their facilities are top-notch and we’re excited to welcome our fans to their campus and also to the Coliseum as we gear up for the start of the season.”
Others believe there is a benefit to veteran players having the familiarity of family and sleeping in their own beds.
“It’s a great set-up here at home,” Philadelphia Eagles first-year head coach Doug Pederson said of his team conducting training camp at the NovaCare Complex in Philadelphia. “I like the idea of doing it right here in our backyard where we are comfortable. That part makes it nice. You can come right in off the practice field and your film is ready to go. And the way the setup is here, it’s awesome.”
Teams also differ on how spread apart their rookies and veterans should be when reporting to camp. Some teams have them all report on the same day, and most do it within a few days of each other, but five teams have rookies reporting at least four days earlier than their veterans.
The camps are just beginning.
The New Orleans Saints are the first team to have players reporting for the start of 2016 camps, as their rookies report on Wednesday. Rookies for the Baltimore Ravens and Detroit Lions head to camp on Friday and Saturday, and the Green Bay Packers are the first to have their full squad report, on Monday, as they and the Indianapolis Colts kick off the preseason with the Hall of Fame Game on Aug. 7.
The Packers continue to hold their camp at St. Norbert College in DePere, Wis., the 59th consecutive season at the same spot and the longevity king of NFL camps. The Minnesota Vikings have been in Mankato, Minn. for 51 years and the Pittsburgh Steelers have been in Latrobe, Penn. just as long.
By July 30, every NFL team will have its camp in full swing, with a full slate of preseason games the weekend of Aug. 11-16.
|YEAR||NFL TEAMS WITH HOME CAMPS (%)|
|2000||5 of 31 (16%)|
|2001||5 of 31 (16%)|
|2002||7 of 32 (22%)|
|2003||12 of 32 (38%)|
|2004||12 of 32 (38%)|
|2005||15 of 32 (47%)|
|2006||13 of 32 (41%)|
|2007||17 of 32 (53%)|
|2008||14 of 32 (44%)|
|2009||17 of 32 (53%)|
|2010||17 of 32 (53%)|
|2011||19 of 32 (59%)|
|2012||18 of 32 (56%)|
|2013||19 of 32 (59%)|
|2014||18 of 32 (56%)|
|2015||20 of 32 (62.5%)|
|2016||19 of 32 (59%)|
CAMP REPORTING DATES/LOCATIONS
|Baltimore||Under Armour Performance Center||Owings Mills, MD||22-Jul||27-Jul|
|Buffalo||St. John Fisher College||Pittsford, NY||28-Jul||29-Jul|
|Cincinnati||Paul Brown Stadium||Cincinnati, OH||26-Jul||28-Jul|
|Cleveland||Cleveland Browns Training Complex||Berea, OH||25-Jul||28-Jul|
|Denver||Paul D. Bowlen Memorial Broncos Centre||Englewood, CO||24-Jul||27-Jul|
|Houston||Houston Methodist Training Center||Houston, TX||25-Jul||30-Jul|
|Indianapolis||Anderson University||Anderson, IN||26-Jul||26-Jul|
|Jacksonville||Practice Fields at EverBank Field||Jacksonville, FL||25-Jul||27-Jul|
|Kansas City||Missouri Western State University||St. Joseph, MO||26-Jul||29-Jul|
|Miami||Baptist Health Training Facility at Nova Southeastern University||Davie, FL||28-Jul||28-Jul|
|New England||Gillette Stadium||Foxboro, MA||24-Jul||27-Jul|
|NY Jets||Atlantic Health Jets Training Center||Florham Park, NJ||27-Jul||27-Jul|
|Oakland||Napa Valley Training Complex||Napa, CA||24-Jul||28-Jul|
|Pittsburgh||Saint Vincent College||Latrobe, PA||27-Jul||28-Jul|
|San Diego||Chargers Park||San Diego, CA||29-Jul||29-Jul|
|Tennessee||Saint Thomas Sports Park||Nashville, TN||29-Jul||29-Jul|
|Arizona||University of Phoenix Stadium||Glendale, AZ||25-Jul||28-Jul|
|Atlanta||Atlanta Falcons Training Facility||Flowery Branch, GA||27-Jul||27-Jul|
|Carolina||Wofford College||Spartanburg, SC||27-Jul||27-Jul|
|Chicago||Olivet Nazarene University||Bourbonnais, IL||27-Jul||27-Jul|
|Dallas||River Ridge Playing Fields||Oxnard, CA||29-Jul||29-Jul|
|Detroit||Detroit Lions Training Facility||Allen Park, MI||23-Jul||28-Jul|
|Green Bay||St. Norbert College||De Pere, WI||25-Jul||25-Jul|
|Los Angeles||University of California – Irvine||Irvine, CA||27-Jul||29-Jul|
|Minnesota||Minnesota State University – Mankato||Mankato, MN||28-Jul||28-Jul|
|New Orleans||The Greenbrier||White Sulpher Springs, WV||20-Jul||27-Jul|
|NY Giants||Quest Diagnostics Training Center||East Rutherford, NJ||28-Jul||28-Jul|
|Philadelphia||NovaCare Complex||Philadelphia, PA||24-Jul||27-Jul|
|San Francisco||SAP Performance Facility||Santa Clara, CA||30-Jul||30-Jul|
|Seattle||Virginia Mason Athletic Center||Renton, WA||29-Jul||29-Jul|
|Tampa Bay||One Buccaneer Place||Tampa, FL||25-Jul||27-Jul|
|Washington||Bon Secours Training Center||Richmond, VA||27-Jul||27-Jul|