A few years ago, before "CTE" was as much a part of football conversations as "quarterback rating" or "wild card spot," I had a conversation with some friends about unsettling news stories that linked the sport to brain injury.
As we spoke, an avowed hater of sports piped up. "Football, as it's currently played, is completely indefensible," she said.
If you're invited to a Super Bowl party and aren't quite up to speed about Sunday's big game, join the club. This blogger's a Buffalo Bills fan and tries to kind of tune out around this time of the season because, after all, it brings back some painful memories.
Originally published on Fri February 1, 2013 3:28 pm
Credit Bill Ray / Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images
It's hard to imagine a day when the Super Bowl wasn't a spectacle of all things over the top.
It's harder still to imagine that the first-ever Super Bowl really wasn't that super. It wasn't even called the Super Bowl. It was known as the First AFL-NFL World Championship Game. Played in Los Angeles in January 1967, the Green Bay Packers versus the Kansas City Chiefs, it remains the only Super Bowl that did not sell out. The most expensive ticket, according to the NFL, sold for a mere $12.
The Baltimore Ravens are the underdogs in this Sunday's Super Bowl, going up against the San Francisco 49ers. Now, there have been bigger underdogs. And yes, the Ravens are not the lowest-seeded team to make it to the Super Bowl. But the Ravens have beaten the odds in another way. NPR's Mike Pesca talked to some football numbers guys and has this report.
While many Americans will be tuning into the Super Bowl on Sunday, there's another big sports competition this weekend: the Cyclo-Cross World Championships. This weekend's event, in Louisville, Ky., marks the first time in its 60-year history that the world championships will be held outside of Europe.
Cyclo-cross, a grueling sport requiring riders to traverse mud, sand and other obstacles, is growing rapidly in the U.S. And the fans can be a bit crazy. At the 2012 Louisville Derby City Cup, hundreds of people — some in costumes — packed onto the course to cheer the riders on.
The traditional American shooting range is extending its range.
In Summerville, S.C., for example, the ATP Gunshop & Range stages community-minded blood drives and Toys for Tots collections. Twice a week there are ladies' nights, where women can learn to fire pistols and receive free T-shirts.
Violent protests are breaking out in Egypt, just two years after a massive uprising led to the fall of the former dictator. One of the unexpected driving forces is soccer. Host Michel Martin talks to Dave Zirin, sports editor at The Nation about how the sport affects Egypt's political landscape.