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Miami Dolphins hoping west coast games will include extended stay

The Miami Dolphins have three west coast games next year. But they may have only two west coast trips.

The Dolphins will be playing the Rams, Chargers and Seahawks in 2016 and, until Friday, it seemed they might be playing two games in Los Angeles -- against the Rams and Chargers -- because one of those is already approved to play at the Los Angeles Coliseum and the Chargers were negotiating to do so.

But the Chargers announced they are staying in San Diego at least one more season so the Dolphins will be going back one more time to the scene of the 2015 game at Qualcomm Stadium that was supposed to be the Chargers final game there.

So trips to three west coast cities, right? That's a lot of travel miles from Miami, right?

Not if the Dolphins can help it.

The team is asking the NFL to schedule two of those west coast trips back-to-back. And if the NFL complies, as it sometimes does with special schedule requests from clubs, the Dolphins then intend to stay on the west coast the week between those games, per a club source.

So, for example, if the Dolphins are scheduled to play the Rams and Chargers back-to-back, they would not fly back to Miami after the Los Angeles game and then return to San Diego for that game. The Dolphins would instead stay in Southern California after the Rams game, practice there that week, and play the Chargers the following weekend.

(By the way, Southern Cal Dolphins fans, the team's practices during the regular season are closed to the public so don't even ask).

It is possible the two back-to-back west coast trips are Seattle and one of the Southern California games. Well, the Dolphins would make the NFL's longest trek on the American continent -- from South Florida to Seattle -- and then go onward to or from Seattle rather than return to Miami.

The decision to do it this way is quite logical. The Dolphins believe flying west and staying there is better for their players physically than flying west, flying east, then returning west again. It's a competitive advantage decision.

Obviously staying out west will put strains on the team's logistical crew. Miami will have to carry enough equipment for two games and a week of practice rather than just one game. The team will also have to find a training site for a week.

But this is not unprecedented. In November 2004, the Dolphins requested and got their scheduled games at Seattle and San Francisco in back-to-back weeks. The Dolphins flew from South Florida to Seattle, lost 24-17 to the Seahawks, and then flew directly to San Francisco where they practiced for a week, celebrated Thanksgiving, and played the 49ers the following Sunday. Miami beat San Francisco 24-17 that Sunday, on the back end of an extended stay away from home.

The Dolphins went 1-1 on the extended west coast stay in a season they won only four games.

The Dolphins hope they would get as good if not better results in 2016 if they have a chance for an extended stay out west. 

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