🎉 Happy Friday! I hope you enjoyed Cliff Diving Week, which concludes at the bottom of today's newsletter. Coming up next week: College Football Week (duh).
Today's word count: 1,494 (6 minutes)
The Eagles-Ravens game was canceled in the fourth quarter due to lightning. Photo: Patrick McDermott/Getty Images
The third week of NFL preseason used to be the week when starters played deeper into games and gave us clues about the regular season. As last night proved, that is no longer the case.
The backdrop: Last year, Rams head coach Sean McVay determined that preseason football wasn't worth the injury risk — or really all that necessary when evaluating players — and sat his entire starting offense for all four games.
On top of that, a growing number of coaches have come out and said they prefer joint practices to preseason games.
"The only real change from a game to a practice is in a game you don't get to do it over. At least in a practice setting, if we make a mistake, we can line up and do it again, and so we can correct that mistake right away. ... We get a little bit better evaluation in practice."— Eagles coach Doug Pederson, per NJ.com
The bottom line: The NFL has considered shortening the preseason for years, and it feels like we've reached a breaking point. It's time. Nobody wants this anymore.
A simple solution: Eliminate two of the four preseason games, move the season start date back one week and then play 16 regular-season games over 18 weeks, with every team getting two bye weeks.
L to R: Bears coach Ralph Jones, with players Dick Nesbitt, Bronko Nagurski (HOF), Red Grange (HOF) and Keith Molesworth in 1932.Photo: Bettmann/Getty Images
Believe it or not, last night's Packers-Raiders disaster in Winnipeg wasn't the first time an NFL game has been played on an 80-yard field.
Flashback: In 1932, the Chicago Bears and Portsmouth Spartans finished the regular season tied atop the standings. They had played each other twice and tied both times, rendering the league's only tiebreaker useless.
The big picture:
BOSTON — The Aug. 7 series finale between the Red Sox and Royals was suspended due to rain in the 10th inning, and the two teams had to wait until yesterday to resume the game.
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA — Kemba Walker scored 23 points, Donovan Mitchell (above) added 13 and the U.S. topped Australia 102-86 in a FIBA World Cup tune-up yesterday before a crowd of 51,128 — the largest to ever watch a basketball game in Australia.
ATLANTA — Brooks Koepka shot 3 under and Xander Schauffele shot 6 under to tie Justin Thomas (even par) atop the Tour Championship leaderboard after 18 holes.
Dan Mullen with the ultimate "football guy" pose. Photo: David Rosenblum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
College football won't roll out a full slate of games until next week, but we'll get our first taste on Saturday with two fun matchups.
Florida vs. Miami (7pm ET, ESPN)
Arizona vs. Hawaii (10:30pm ET, CBSSN)
P.S. … There are also two FCS games on Saturday.
Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images
91-year-old Celtics legend Bob Cousy received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor, in an Oval Office ceremony yesterday.
"Mr. President, I know in your world, you're well on your way to making America great again. In my world, it's been great for 91 years. Only in America could my story have been told."— Cousy during his acceptance speech
Go deeper: Athletes who have been awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom (Photo gallery)
Ahead of next week's U.S. Open, NYT Mag's Elizabeth Weil profiled Venus Williams, 39, older sister of Serena, 37:
"There was never any Serena without Venus. There was never any second stage without the first. Venus was the mightiest female player anyone had ever seen. Serena rode her power through the atmosphere. Then she exploded."
P.S. ... Serena will play Maria Sharapova in the first round. The two have met in the finals of the other three Grand Slams but have never played at the U.S. Open.
Photo: Christophe Simon/AFP via Getty Images
11 years ago today, Argentina beat Nigeria 1-0 at the Beijing Olympics to win its second straight men's soccer gold medal.
Texas junior Sam Ehlinger is one of six Power Five QBs in the past 20 years to record 25 passing TDs and 15 rushing TDs in the same season.
Answer at the bottom.
I hope you enjoyed Cliff Diving Week, where we took you inside the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series — a multi-stop tour that takes divers all across the world.
This weekend, the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series travels to Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina, where divers will leap from the world-famous Stari Most ("Old Bridge"), which is on UNESCO's list of World Heritage Sites.
Until next time, cliff diving. Most photogenic sport in the world...
Enjoy the weekend,
Kendall "Go Colgate" Baker
Trivia answer: Tim Tebow, Cam Newton, Johnny Manziel, Marcus Mariota, Lamar Jackson