Football's Fantasy

NFL is back (and bigger than ever). Plus, Weekend Whats and Feel Good Friday.

Back in the day, Monday Night Football used to kick off with the song, Are You Ready for Some Football? That question has been answered, over and over, for years. Americans are always ready for some football. The Washington Commanders, a bad team made worse by years of terrible ownership, just sold for more than $6 billion. “The $163B aggregate value of the league’s 32 teams nearly tops the combined value of every NBA and MLB team.” And, in the dying world of broadcast television, the NFL is still punt, pass, and kicking some serious ass. Consider this: “The NFL commanded 82 of 2022’s 100 most-watched TV programs.” Even Tom Brady doesn’t have a win streak like that. With a new season underway this weekend, let’s review with some help from The Hustle: The NFL is back, bigger than ever, and seriously, wow, it’s huge.

+ Deep Pocketed Passer: Joe Burrow just became the NFL’s highest paid player, ever. It’s not Messi money, but it’s not bad at 5-years for $275 million.

+ From DraftKings to Disney (both of which are now in the sports gambling business), the return of the NFL could move the market. Meanwhile, fantasy football is so huge that even baseball players fight over it.

+ The NFL is even popular when your team is bad. And sometimes, getting good presents a dilemma… “There is a reason the Lions—not the Red Wings, or the Pistons, or the Tigers, all of whom have been winners in my lifetime—are the favorite sons of Detroit. In a city that can’t seem to catch a break, people find common cause in rallying around the team that best reflects their own story.” Tim Alberta in The Atlantic: The Thrill of Defeat. “My life has been shaped by watching the Detroit Lions lose. Who will I be if they start winning?” (Bad news for Alberta. The question just got a lot more real. The Lions beat the defending champion Chiefs in the first game of the 2023 season last night.)


Retails From the Crypt

“To hear rank-and-file retail employees tell it, working conditions started to deteriorate when they returned to the job after mandatory Covid lockdowns. Customers didn’t particularly like being told to wear masks or forgo free samples. But as health and safety protocols eased, tensions didn’t.” Low pay, high stress. What’s not to love? Bloomberg (Gift Article): US Retail Workers Are Fed Up and Quitting at Record Rates.


Downward Dog Day Afternoon

“After an hour spent twisting like pretzels, the group of seven yogis in a class held Wednesday inside a cafe in Lincolnshire, England, were finally in shavasana, a position at the end of a yoga class — sometimes called corpse pose — where people sink into a meditative state by lying on their backs.” And they were really good at getting into that relaxed state. So good that some people walked by and assumed they were the victims of a mass killing. (Honestly, it looks like a violent crime scene every time I try to strike even the most basic yoga pose.) WaPo (Gift Article): A yoga class in corpse pose was mistaken for a ritual mass killing.


Weekend Whats

What to Seek: “Finding your dharma empowers you to let go of anxiety, follow your wildest ambitions, produce your life’s work, and experience true joy.” And that’s just for starters. Check out the new book getting tons of buzz and rave reviews. From my friend Suneel Gupta: Everyday Dharma: 8 Essential Practices for Finding Success and Joy in Everything You Do. (If I can find joy in covering six years of Trump-related news, anything is achievable.)

+ What to Book: “Riotous. . . . Hilarious . . . impeccably written . . . . Intelligent, bighearted, spew-your-gefilte-fish-funny.” That’s the NYT on Andrew Ridker’s novel, Hope.

+ What to Read: “Trying to attach a recording device to a sperm whale is a bit like trying to joust while racing on a Jet Ski. The exercise entails using a thirty-foot pole to stick the device onto the animal’s back, which in turn entails getting within thirty feet of a creature the size of a school bus.” And that’s probably the easiest part of what these researchers are trying to do. Elizabeth Kolbert in The New Yorker: Can We Talk to Whales? “Researchers believe that artificial intelligence may allow us to speak to other species.” (If that’s possible, maybe it can even allow us to speak to each other in a reasonable manner…)


Extra, Extra

What Did the Lind Say? “The grand jurors’ lengthy report released Friday showed they recommended charges against 39 people, including Lindsay Graham, former U.S. Sens. Sens. Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue of Georgia and former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn.” It turns out that Fani Willis hasn’t been overly zealous when it comes to handing out indictments in the election meddling case. Georgia special grand jury recommended charges against 39 people, including Sen. Lindsey Graham. Meanwhile, former Trump adviser Peter Navarro was just convicted of contempt of Congress (prosecutors are getting tired of all the winning). Back at Bedminster, Trump hosted a $100,000 per person dinner to raise money for Rudy Giuliani’s mounting legal bills. (You’ll get a better return from those NFTs you invested in last year.)

+ Robot Chicken: “Automation powered by artificial intelligence is poised to revolutionize weapons, warfare and military power – and shape the escalating rivalry between China and the United States. Australia, one of America’s closest allies, could have dozens of lethal autonomous robots patrolling the ocean depths years before its first nuclear submarine goes on patrol.” In U.S.-China AI contest, the race is on to deploy killer robots. “The outcome of this competition could determine the global balance of power.”

+ Grocery List: “Kroger on Friday said it has agreed to pay $1.2 billion to U.S. states, local governments and Native American tribes to settle the majority of claims that it fueled the opioid epidemic through lax oversight of its pill sales.” (It’s one of the biggest scandals in American history because almost everyone was in on it.)

+ Shifting Borders: “A year later, the migrant waves he helped set in motion have put northern ‘sanctuary’ cities increasingly on edge, their budgets stretched, their communities strained. And a border crisis that has animated Republican politics for years is now dividing the Democratic Party. Humanitarian impulses are crashing into desperate resource constraints and once-loyal Democratic allies have reluctantly joined Republicans to train their fire on President Biden.” NYT (Gift Article): G.O.P. Gets the Democratic Border Crisis It Wanted.

+ That 30s Show: “A judge sentenced ‘That ’70s Show’ show star Danny Masterson to 30 years to life in prison Thursday for raping two women, giving them some relief after they spoke in court about the decades of damage he inflicted.”

+ Feet Fault: “Coco Gauff’s U.S. Open semifinal victory over Karolina Muchova was delayed by 50 minutes because of a disruption by four environmental activists in the Arthur Ashe Stadium stands Thursday night. One protester glued his bare feet to the concrete floor.” Doug Bowman with the best take on the incident: “The irony: Most adhesives come from fossil fuel sources…”

+ Must He Say? “Is the Only Murders in the Building star a comic genius or the most annoying actor on Earth?” Why We Keep Putting Up With Martin Short.


Feel Good Friday

“New variants will pose a challenge, but early signs suggest the shots will still boost antibody responses.” What to know about this autumn’s covid vaccines. (They’re coming soon and they seem promising.)

+ How one blind boy helped rebuild his school in Yemen. (This doesn’t start out too feel goodish, but wait.)

+ Alaska cat named Leo reunited with owners almost month after their home collapsed into flood-swollen river.

+ “It took 20-year-old Claudio Barchiesi 15 days to cycle from his home town of Barzano, Italy, through eight countries, to Barrow, Suffolk.” Italian student bikes 1,500km to grandparents’ home in England. (And when he arrived, his grandma said, “He never calls.”)

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