Axios Nashville

Picture of the Nashville skyline.
November 02, 2021

It's Tuesday and all of Music City is wishing Derrick Henry a speedy recovery.

🌥 Today's weather: Get out your comfiest sweater. Partly sunny with a high of about 54.

Today's newsletter is 889 words — a 3.5-minute read.

1 big thing: Derrick Henry needs foot surgery

Titans star Derrick Henry
Derrick Henry runs against the Colts on Sunday. Photo: Justin Casterline/Getty Images

Titans superstar running back Derrick Henry is out six to 10 weeks with a foot injury he suffered early during Sunday's overtime win against the Colts.

Why it matters: Henry is a leading MVP candidate powering a Titans team that has ascended to the top of the AFC standings.

  • The Titans offense relies on Henry more than lower Broadway relies on White Claws and Fireball. Through eight games, he has the most carries in NFL history for a running back — 219 — and his rampaging runs have dominated the team's highlight reel.
  • Henry has nearly 300 more rushing yards than the second-leading rusher in the NFL — 937 yards compared to 649 for Indianapolis' Jonathan Taylor.

Driving the news: The revelation of Henry's injury washed over Titans fans on Monday morning, and his prognosis played out in real time on social media.

  • NFL beat reporters speculated the injury to his fifth metatarsal could be season-ending, until news broke that Henry will be sidelined for up to 10 weeks. There are 10 weeks, including the Titans' bye, left in the regular season.
  • Coach Mike Vrabel announced Henry will have surgery today and said, "we're not going to put a timeline on when he may return."

The intrigue: With two wins over the 3-5 Colts, the 6-2 Titans are in a strong position to win the meager AFC South even with Henry's extended absence.

State of play: General manager Jon Robinson wasted no time Monday in acquiring a fill-in running back, inking 36-year-old future Hall of Famer Adrian Peterson to a practice squad deal.

2. SCOTUS considers abortion challenges

Data: Axios Research; Cartogram: Sara Wise and Oriana Gonzalez/Axios

Tennessee is one of at least 12 states where nearly all abortions would become illegal if the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade.

Why it matters: That scenario has taken on new significance as the high court considers a series of challenges to restrictive abortion measures in Texas and Mississippi.

  • The Supreme Court on Monday heard arguments in two cases related to a new Texas law, and a majority of the justices seemed open to allowing the cases to move forward.
  • The justices have so far allowed the restrictive law, which bans most abortions after about six weeks, to stay in place despite ongoing legal wrangling.
  • Next month, the high court is set to consider a law restricting abortions in Mississippi about 15 weeks into a pregnancy. That case directly challenges Roe v. Wade.

Between the lines: Anti-abortion activists see the court's 6-3 conservative majority as an opening to eliminate or chip away at the precedent set by Roe v. Wade, which has allowed for abortions nationwide since 1973.

  • Tennessee has passed a series of restrictive abortion measures in recent years, although many restrictions have been put on hold while legal challenges are underway in lower courts.

Hundreds of abortion rights activists gathered in Nashville last month to protest efforts to limit access to the procedure.

3. Metro Council preview: Bellevue quarry vote

Metro courthouse
Historic Metro courthouse. Photo: John Greim/LightRocket via Getty Images

Metro Council will begin its debate of Mayor John Cooper's $568 million capital spending plan at its meeting today.

  • The council won't vote on the plan because it will be deferred one meeting. But amendments will be considered, including one from at-large council members Bob Mendes and Sharon Hurt to take away funds for the Jefferson Street interstate cap project.
  • The council will hold a public hearing for a proposal from council member Dave Rosenberg that he says will prevent a construction waste landfill on the Bellevue quarry property.
  • They will also consider two different pieces of legislation related to the use of license plate readers.

4. The Setlist

Illustration of a concert-style poster reading "The Setlist, catch up quick, weekday mornings, the internet," and two silhouettes of the Nashville skyline, over a three-color gradient.
Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

State Sen. Brian Kelsey made his first appearance in federal court Monday following an indictment. (The Tennessean)

U.S. Sen. Bill Hagerty tapped Michael Sullivan as his new state director. Sullivan once served as the executive director of the Tennessee GOP. (Associated Press)

An Office of Emergency Management official will temporarily take over the city's homeless impact division following the departure of the previous director. (Nashville Scene)

A $60 million land sale on the northern bank of the Cumberland River might have set a local record for the most expensive purchase per acre. (Nashville Post)

5. Flavortown comes to The Nations

A plate of meatballs with spaghetti
Mama G's meatballs at Nicky's Coal Fired. Photo courtesy of Nicky's Coal Fired

Nicky's Coal Fired is ready for its close-up.

  • Flavortown guru Guy Fieri recently visited The Nations eatery for an upcoming episode of his TV show "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives."

How to watch: The local restaurant's episode airs 8pm Friday on the Food Network.

Why it matters: Fieri's stamp of approval gives local restaurants a national profile that can translate to big business.

What he ate: While he was at Nicky's, Fieri tasted Mama G's meatballs and the Hey Paisano pizza, which comes with smoked mozzarella, capicola, red onion, and spicy honey.

  • Both dishes will get star turns on the show, according to a news release.

What they're saying: Caroline Galzin, who co-owns the restaurant with her husband Tony, tells Axios the process was a fun whirlwind and that Fieri gave them some advice before he left.

  • "Be ready for the avalanche that's going to happen after the show airs," she remembers him saying.
  • Galzin says they have been trying for about a month to add staffing.
  • "We're sweating a little bit."

Our picks:

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