👋 Good morning! I'd like to try an experiment for tomorrow.
🚨 This just in ... Charlotte is officially getting an MLS team.
Today's word count: 1,533 words (<6 minutes)
Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios
The last month of the NHL season has brought changes behind the bench and in the broadcast booth that represent a cultural reckoning poised to change the sport of hockey forever.
Driving the news:
The response: On Monday, the NHL released a four-point plan to address abuse that includes severe punishments for offenders, mandatory diversity and inclusion training for coaches/staff and a hotline to anonymously report incidents.
"The world is changing for the better. This is an opportunity, and a moment, for positive change and this evolution should be expedited — for the benefit of everyone associated with the game we love."— Gary Bettman, NHL commissioner
Reality check: If a true reckoning is coming to the rink, the NHL is not going to be the driving force behind it. That burden falls on the players, who must be brave enough to speak up, as well as the media, which will be called upon to provide more oversight.
The big picture: While all sports leagues — and all of society, for that matter — must navigate these same cultural shifts as the world evolves and younger generations enter the workforce, hockey's insular nature and selfless creed does present a unique challenge.
"Hockey culture values teamwork, family, humility. But these ideals are warped. Teamwork; by valuing groupthink over individuality. ... Family; in insularity and othering anyone who's not in the group ... Humility; by players opting for saying nothing as opposed to saying the right thing."— Jashvina Shah, The Globe and Mail
The bottom line: Athletes known for silence are suddenly speaking up, and a sport known for domineering coaches is coming to terms with the fact that decades-old tactics are no longer acceptable.
With three Sundays left, the Ravens and 49ers remain my top two teams, and the Packers and Chiefs have entered the top five. But enough about my trivial power rankings — let's examine the playoff picture, which actually matters.
NFC playoff picture: Entering Week 15, there are just nine teams still alive in this top-heavy conference, and only one has clinched a playoff spot (Saints).
In the hunt: Rams, 8-5 (at DAL, at SF, ARI); Bears, 7-6 (at GB, KC, at MIN); Eagles, 6-7 (at WSH, DAL, at NYG)
AFC playoff picture: The Chiefs have clinched the AFC West and the Ravens have clinched a playoff spot. In total, 11 teams are still alive.
In the hunt: Titans, 8-5 (HOU, NO, at HOU); Browns, 6-7 (at ARI, BAL, at CIN); Raiders, 6-7 (JAX, at LAC, at DEN); Colts, 6-7 (at NO, CAR, at JAX); Broncos, 5-8 (at KC, DET, OAK)
TORONTO — Kawhi Leonard received his championship ring from Kyle Lowry and got a hero's welcome from Raptors fans in his return to Toronto ... then scored 23 points on his former team in a 112-92 Clippers win.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — T.J. Oshie scored twice and defenseman John Carlson got the go-ahead goal to lead the Capitals past the Bruins, 3-2, in a showdown between the NHL's two best teams.
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Another top-five team has fallen in men's college basketball. 7-foot freshman Kofi Cockburn had 19 points, 10 rebounds and four blocks (see above) to help Illinois upset No. 5 Michigan, 71-62.
For the first time in 14 years, the International team leads the Presidents Cup after putting a 4-1 beating on the Americans during Day 1 at Royal Melbourne.
The lone bright spot: Tiger Woods birdied the first two holes and chipped in for another at the fifth to help himself and partner Justin Thomas to a 4 and 3 four-ball (best ball) win over Marc Leishman (Australia) and Joaquín Niemann (Chile).
ICYMI ... Tiger dominates this graphic.
⚽️ All 16 teams
For the first time in Champions League history, all 16 teams in the knockout round are from Europe's "Big Five" leagues: Premier League (England), La Liga (Spain), Serie A (Italy), Bundesliga (Germany) and Ligue 1 (France).
🏀 20 straight years
For the past 20 years, every men's college hoops champion was ranked in the top 12 of the week six AP poll. Great news for Louisville, Kansas, Ohio State, Maryland, Michigan, Gonzaga, Duke, Kentucky, Virginia, Oregon, Baylor and Auburn fans.
🏈 6th-best QB?
Kirk Cousins is quietly having an elite season, ranking in the top five of most key passer metrics (second in passer rating, third in YPA, third in INT%, fourth in CMP%, fifth in TD%). He's also sixth in FiveThirtyEight's QB Elo ratings, trailing only Lamar Jackson, Drew Brees, Dak Prescott, Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson.
83 years ago today, the Boston Redskins lost to the Green Bay Packers, 21-6, in the 1936 NFL Championship Game. Days later, owner George Preston Marshall announced that the team was moving to his hometown of Washington, D.C.
One year later... The Washington Redskins beat the Chicago Bears, 28-21, in the 1937 NFL Championship Game, bringing a trophy home to D.C. in their first season after relocating.
Lawn mower racing was invented in 1973 by Irishman Jim Gavin, who wanted to create a form of motorsport that was cheap and accessible to everyone. 46 years later, the British Lawn Mower Racing Association is stronger than ever.
The 12-hour race: The BLMRA's flagship event is the "12 Hours of Wisborough Green," a 12-hour endurance race held in Five Oaks, England.
Worthy of your time: Great Big Story followed the members of the "Who's Racing" team as they competed in this year's race. Humans are hilarious.
On Tuesday, Vince Carter became the fifth player in NBA history to play in 1,500 games.
Answer at the bottom.
Kendall "Send me those selfies" Baker
Trivia answer: Dirk Nowitzi, John Stockton, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Robert Parrish