The New York Giants take on the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field on Sunday afternoon, which means the team will travel as a unit for the very first time this year.
The prospect of traveling during a pandemic presents a unique set of challenges — it won’t be the usual short flight to Chicago or quick trip back to East Rutherford.
Rather, the itinerary for the Giants has been microscopically planned, which plays right into the hand of head coach Joe Judge, who is a stickler for detail and leaves no stone unturned.
“It’s a little bit more in terms of just fitting the schedule to make sure with the testing, the boarding the busses, getting on the plane, that’s really kind of the small things that factor in,” Judge told reporters on Thursday. “I think our guys are used to just traveling for football games, whether it be college or previous years in the NFL. Right now it’s . . . busing, planes, how you get your food on the plane, little things like that that people don’t always calculate.
“Some of the airplane seating, some of the [other NFL] coaches mentioned how they’re spacing their players out a little bit differently than in the past. We’ve discussed a lot of options. We’re going to finalize that [Thursday night] as a staff in terms of things we think we may have to do.”
One of the more substantial issues facing the Giants during their flight is the mask requirement. Flying alone leads to a lack of hydration, so flying while wearing a face covering will only exacerbate that issue.
“One of the factors that I’m going to have to talk to the team about is we’re obviously wearing masks on the plane,” Judge said. “Anytime you have a mask on, it slows down your hydration. Also when you’re on the plane, you naturally dehydrate from the air pressure and the way it affects the cells and the moisture in your cells. We need to make sure we do a really good job with hydrating on the plane, even though we have masks on. We have to be conscious of that.”
The vast majority of travel rules and hotel rules have been set by the NFL, so it’s up to Judge & Co. to not only enforce them, but also to ensure that in doing so, they don’t leave their players at a disadvantage come Sunday.
Needless to say, Giants players can expect to consume a significant amount of fluid during and after their flight to Chicago.