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The NFL season kicks off tonight in New England with a game broadcast on NBC, but the sports world buzz is about a different media company that views itself more as a league antagonist than partner: Barstool Sports.

Barstool, which was founded in Boston before relocating to New York after being purchased by The Chernin Group, is working with volunteers to distribute 70,000 towels emblazoned with the image of NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell as a clown, ahead of the first regular season game Goodell has attended in Foxborough since he suspended Patriots quarterback Tom Brady for his alleged role in over-inflating footballs.

Axios asked Barstool CEO Erika Nardini how she views the stunt's return on investment for the company. Her reply:

"We didn't do it for return on investment. We did it because we love Boston and Patriots Nation, and still feel really connected there and it was what we could do to help the cause. It helps us be connected to Boston which has high ROI."

Running scared: Goodell reportedly has decided to avoid being near the field once most fans begin arriving, and also won't sit in the box of Patriots owner Robert Kraft (where he would be highly visible, and likely shown both on television and on in-stadium screens).

The big unknown: How many of these towels will actually make it into the stadium. The more that do, the higher the chances that the NFL's leader will be embarrassed on his league's opening night. At least one has already gotten through the gates:

A tweet previously embedded here has been deleted or was tweeted from an account that has been suspended or deleted.

Go deeper

The elusive political power of Mexican Americans

Data: Pew Research Center, U.S. Census Bureau; Chart: Michelle McGhee/Axios

Mexican Americans make up the nation's largest Latino group, yet they remain politically outshined by more recently arrived Cuban Americans.

Why it matters: The disparities in political power between Mexican Americans and Cuban Americans reflect the racial, historical, geographical and economic differences within Latino cultures in the U.S.

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The big picture: Reliable and accessible proof of vaccine-induced protection from the novel coronavirus could speed international travel and economic reopening, but obstacles to its wide-scale adoption are so great it may never fully arrive.

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Senate action on stimulus bill continues as Dems reach deal on jobless aid

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Democratic leaders struck an agreement with Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) on emergency unemployment insurance late Friday, clearing the way for Senate action on President Biden's $1.9 trillion stimulus package to resume after an hours-long delay.

The state of play: The Senate continued to work through votes on a series of amendments overnight into early Saturday morning.