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Today's word count: 1,562 (6 minutes)
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The NFL's 100th season kicks off tonight at Soldier Field (8:20pm ET, NBC) with one of the league's most storied rivalries: Green Bay Packers vs. Chicago Bears.
Packers offense: Tonight, we'll get our first look at one of this season's most fascinating storylines: the marriage between Rodgers and LaFleur, who is just 4 years his senior.
Bears defense: Chicago's defense wreaked havoc on the NFL last season, leading the league in points allowed (17.7 per game), interceptions (27) and rush defense (80 yards per game), while ranking 3rd in sacks (50) and 6th in forced fumbles (18).
P.S. ... ICYMI: The Cowboys gave Ezekiel Elliott a 6-year, $90 million extension yesterday that makes him the highest-paid RB ever. Holdout over. Operation "Feed Zeke" initiated.
Mike Trout just passed Derek Jeter in career wins above replacement (WAR) — the best measure we have of how valuable a player is to his team. Mike Trout is 28.
The big picture: So far this season, Trout has passed 38 Hall of Famers in career WAR — guys like Tony Gwynn, Ernie Banks, Roy Halladay, Willie McCovey, Jim Palmer, Eddie Murray, John Smoltz, Barry Larkin and Edgar Martinez.
What's next: Trout (72.6 WAR) will likely pass 3 more Hall of Famers as early as next week: Paul Waner (72.8), Arky Vaughan (72.9) and Jim Thome (72.9). Also in his sights: Frank Thomas (73.9) and Reggie Jackson (74.0).
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios
The NBA is considering the creation of an investment fund that would buy small equity stakes in a portfolio of teams, as first reported by Bloomberg, Axios' Dan Primack writes.
Why now? Owners are concerned that skyrocketing team prices mean that there's a limited number of individuals who could buy the next several teams that get put up for sale. Or, as one league source put it: "There are only so many Steve Ballmers and Joe Tsais."
Why the NBA? Because private equity sources say it's generally viewed as a better investment opportunity than baseball (shrinking attendance), hockey (geographically limited) and football (liabilities). Pro soccer is the best comp, although the NBA is still viewed as superior because it has capped player costs.
The bottom line: Being a passive sports team owner is really being the person who pays the most for good seats. But owning a portfolio could be appealing for long-term money, and it's only a matter of time before we get a league-managed or third-party fund/marketplace for these interests.
Both the men's and women's semifinals are set at the 2019 U.S. Open. The men (Rafael Nadal vs. Matteo Berrettini and Daniil Medvedev vs. Grigor Dimitrov) play tomorrow, while the women face off tonight:
ESPN turns 40 years old this week, so The Ringer's Bryan Curtis caught up with Dan Patrick and Keith Olbermann and wrote an incredible tribute to the "SportsCenter" they cohosted in the 90s — a show that changed TV forever.
"Patrick and Olbermann took a low art form, doing highlights, and wrested it away from the howling Champ Kinds of local news. [They] quoted Ralph Waldo Emerson and Monty Python and Johnny Most. They became one-name, Beatles-like categories. For a time, every wannabe sportscaster was a purring, FM-quality 'Dan' or a transgressive, scenery-chewing 'Keith.'"
"Olbermann had learned from radio comedian Bob Elliott that the whole point of doing a two-man show should be to try to crack up your partner. That was the idea of the Big Show: that the host sitting next to you was not just your coworker but your ideal audience. 'I wrote to impress him,' said Patrick, 'or delivered highlights to make him laugh.'"
"Today, the idea of news anchors giving viewers equal doses of news and satire might sound familiar. That's because it's the house style of TV. It's not that John Oliver and Trevor Noah and every other disciple of Jon Stewart are doing Dan and Keith, exactly. But I'd argue Patrick and Olbermann anticipated the way news and comedy would merge. They refined a hyperliterate, funny, swaggering voice. And they made it cool as hell."
If you want to optimize your hockey viewing experience for goals, watch the ends of periods.
P.S. … Are you a data nerd? We partnered with Baseball Reference on this story, and they actually have their own newsletter called Stathead that focuses specifically on stats. Check it out.
Police making a rescue attempt during the hostage crisis. Photo: Bettmann/Getty Images
47 years ago today, 11 members of the Israeli Olympic team were taken hostage and killed by the Palestinian terrorist group Black September in the midst of the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich.
"When I was a kid my father used to say our greatest hopes and our worst fears are seldom realized. Our worst fears have been realized tonight. They have now said there were 11 hostages; 2 were killed in their rooms yesterday morning, 9 were killed at the airport tonight. They're all gone."— ABC sportscaster Jim McKay
The aftermath: In the end, 17 people died during the attack: 6 Israeli coaches, 5 Israeli athletes, 5 of the 8 terrorists and 1 West German policeman.
Ezekiel Elliot is one of 3 players in NFL history to lead the league in rushing yards per game in each of his first 3 seasons.
8 years ago, the small Spanish town of Mataelpino introduced a cruelty-free alternative to bull running that replaced the bulls with a giant rolling ball.
See you tomorrow,
Kendall "Mike Trout is 28" Baker
Trivia answer: Jim Brown (1957-59) and Earl Campbell (1978-80)