As the NFL season enters the home stretch, four teams–Carolina, New England, Denver and Arizona–appear to have their divisions sewn up. But the rest of the playoff spots are still very much filled with question marks. Can 40 year old QB Matt Hasselbeck help the Colts hold off the suddenly surging Jaguars? Does anyone want to win the NFC East, or should we just put the division out of its misery?
In the latest issue of Slate’s sports podcast “Hang Up and Listen,” co-host Josh Levin ironically commented on what he saw as the tendency of pundits to confuse the Kansas City Royals’ aggressive base-running and ability to put balls in play–the “actual” skills helped them defeat the New York Mets and win the World Series in 5 games–with clichéd “intangibles” like “heart” and “hustle.”
Over the last few weeks, we’ve been reading a number of iconic profiles of professional athletes, including John Updike’s New Yorker salute to Ted Williams’ last game at Fenway Park, “Hub Fans Bid Kid Adieu,” Gay Talese’s poignant portrait of prize-fighter Floyd Patterson for Esquire, “The Loser,” and David Foster Wallace’s immortal paean to “Roger Federer as Religious Experience,” which he wrote for The New York Times in 2006.
Gridiron football has once again been linked with tragedy. The death of a high school quarterback in New Jersey raises some now familiar questions about the safety of the U.S.’s favorite sport. We’ve been thinking about the challenges facing football as we read Jeanne-Marie Laskas’ “The People v. Football,” which first ran in GQ in 2011.
Check our game recaps for a close-up breakdown of four of the biggest games of week 2 in the NFL, and click here for more coverage of Week 2 in the NFL and the MLB playoff hunt.
Diego Costa’s performance against Arsenal on Saturday made me think of our class discussion of Thomas Oates and John Pauly’s “Sports Journalism as Moral and Ethical Discourse.”
Here’s a quick look back at what caught our eye, including the first weekend of the NFL season and Serena Williams shocking upset at the US Open.