The 49ers Ohio Home Away From Home

The 49ers Ohio Home Away From HomeFor the second straight year, the San Francisco 49ers have elected to spend one week of regular season practice time in a setting far far away from their Northern California place of residence. In lieu of flying back to Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International Airport (49ers preferred Bay Area airfield), after their 24-13 defeat at Minnesota last Sunday, the team chose instead to travel east to Youngstown, Ohio, prior to traveling a little further east to Newark Liberty International Airport, for Sunday's contest versus the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium.

Last season, San Francisco found great success when stopping through Youngstown, in the week between back-to-back road games at Cincinnati and Philadelphia. So, why not give it another shot in 2012, this time between games against the Vikings and Jets?

The rationale for spending time in Youngstown has everything to do with the local heritage of the York and DeBartolo families' (current and former 49ers owners, from the same family linage). The Youngstown/49er connection involves multiple generations of York's and DeBartolo's, including current team CEO Jed York, who attended the city's Cardinal Mooney High School.

During their stay in the area, Jim Harbaugh's squad is hanging their helmets at the DeBartolo owned Holiday Inn Youngstown-South, situated in the nearby city of Boardman. This property also served as the club's lodging destination for last season's highly worthwhile visit.  

Another repeat of last year's routine involves coach Harbaugh's decision to use a hotel-adjacent parking lot, as the site of a midweek team walk-though. Last fall, the now second-year head man referred to this lovely slab of concrete as “one of the finer walk-through spots I've been associated with.”

Have you ever heard such high praise for a parking lot?

What a unique figure Jim Harbaugh has turned out to be!

While in the Youngstown area, the 49ers are conducting practice at Youngstown State University, located eight miles straight north of the Holiday Inn. The practices are closed to the public, but that does not mean that Northeastern Ohio NFL fans are not able to figure out ways to catch a glimpse of the West Coast NFC team, amid the athletic facilities of the 15,000-student campus.

Based on this back-to-back scheduling scenario, the state of Ohio has become the home of three NFL teams, at least for a very brief period of time, over the past two years.

In the football obsessed Buckeye State, one would have to imagine that this set of circumstances is a pretty cool development for followers of the gridiron.