NFL

Since the 1960s, professional football has supplanted baseball as our nation’s favorite sport—generating higher revenue and better television ratings. And, as the past few weeks have demonstrated, college basketball has captured the attention and diminished the productivity of the American workforce in ways baseball does not. But let’s not confuse popularity with superiority. Major League Baseball (MLB), the oldest spectator team sport in the nation, has become the most affordable and least exploitative one—and its labor relations are remarkably harmonious, too.

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Tim Tebow, better known in some circles as God’s son, last night led the Denver Broncos to an improbable and crushing last-minute victory over the New York Jets. In trying to reckon with Tebow’s improbable 4-1 record this season, there are two salient factors to consider. One, he runs far better than he throws—normally an impediment to success at the quarterback position (his completion percentage is at a historically low, NFL-worst 44.8 percent). Two, he is intensely spiritual: Aping “The Thinker,” Tebow periodically drops to one knee and begins praying during games.

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While the end of the National Football League’s labor hostilities was met with cheers this week from sideline to American sideline, my thoughts turned to Dave Duerson’s family. Duerson played 11 NFL seasons as a safety—the sport’s most wide-ranging, hard-hitting defensive position—and was part of Super Bowl-winning teams with the Chicago Bears and New York Giants. In February, after reportedly complaining for months of neurological torments—splitting headaches, mood swings, memory loss—Duerson committed suicide at age 50.

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&c

-- The adventures of utilitarian superman. -- What’s in the latest Greek bailout. -- A poorly lit room, Doug Holtz Eakin, and a dry-erase board. -- We have math, and then we have the awful things Heritage does to numbers.           -- “NFL owners have ratified a proposal to end the current lockout in a 31-0 vote, according to the NFL Network.”  

with Carey Anne Nadeau With the Bruins’ defeat of riot-prone Canucks (who’d have thought?) Wednesday night in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals, the Boston area has now laid claim to a championship in each major American sports league (NHL, NBA, NFL, MLB) within the last seven years. The New England Patriots won their last Super Bowl in 2005; the Boston Red Sox won the World Series in 2007; and the Boston Celtics won the NBA title in 2008.  Our analysis confirms that, indeed, Boston is the first metro area to achieve the distinction of having held all four major sports titles within such a sho

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University of Florida football  fans everywhere are downcast today at the news that former quarterback Danny Wuerffel has been diagnosed with Guillain-Barre Syndrome, an autoimmune disorder where the immune system mistakenly attacks part of the nervous system. The 1996 Heisman Trophy winner was one of the all-time great college quarterbacks, leading the Gators to 4 SEC championships in 4 years, and the 1996 national championship. His NFL career was less successful, however--just 10 starts and 2100 passing yards over 6 seasons--and he retired from the game in 2002.

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This long attack on the unfairness of progressive taxation from the Hoover Institution by Kip Hagopian usefully embodies a lot of right-wing delusions about income inequality. It argues that a person's income is determined by three things: America’s free enterprise system provides an environment in which the substantial majority of its citizens can realize their fullest earnings potential.

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In response to my item yesterday about a totally unworkable proposal to reform NFL overtime, which overwhelmingly favors the team that wins the coin toss, reader David Leonhardt sent his 2005 article about a much more feasible (and interesting plan): A bolder, and fairer, idea comes from two fans, Andrew and Chris Quanbeck, engineers who have sent their proposal to N.F.L. teams. William S.

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  Steven Brams and James Jorash propose a new system to eliminate the advantage of receiving the ball first in NFL overtime games: Dispensing with a coin toss, the teams would bid on where the ball is kicked from by the kicking team. In the NFL, it's now the 30-yard line. Under Brams and Jorasch's rule, the kicking team would be the team that bids the lower number, because it is willing to put itself at a disadvantage by kicking from farther back.

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This past summer, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell found himself facing a situation every authority figure dreads. His reputation hinged on how he handled a greasy-haired young man sitting in front of him, brandishing a smirk. The lug in question was Ben Roethlisberger, the Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback, who had been accused of rape for the second time in a year, in this instance by a 20-year-old college student in Georgia. Arming himself for the conversation, Goodell had talked to two dozen other players, including other Steelers.

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