👋 Good morning! Let's sports.
Today's word count: 1,426 words (5 minutes)
We're eight weeks into the NFL season and only two undefeated teams remain: The New England Patriots (8-0), who won the Super Bowl last year, and the San Francisco 49ers (7-0), who finished 4-12.
Patriots in a nutshell: When the Pats went 16-0 in 2007, the offense rewrote the record books. This time around, it's the defense leading the way.
49ers in a nutshell: Kyle Shanahan has emerged as this year's Sean McVay — a football guru with a gift for designing plays. Meanwhile, the defense has been lights out and clearly the second-best unit in the league behind New England.
Home field advantage has been nonexistent in this World Series. Tonight's Game 6 will prove just how weird these teams want to get.
A quarter-page ad from "an anonymous and appreciative Astros fan" thanking Nationals fans for their hospitality ran in yesterday's Washington Post Sports section.
"There seems to be a true appreciation of what we have in common like passion for the sport, our teams, and the fun of watching two great teams battling it out on the field, rather than a shallow focus on what differentiates us.
"In a world where unfortunately the focus is quite often put on the latter, I have been truly struck by how well we have been treated. ... [H]owever the Series ends, our family thanks you!"
This is the most ridiculous thing I've ever done and means absolutely nothing, but it's actually a great way to highlight the standout/surprise players thus far, so we're doing it.
Go deeper: Winners and losers of the first almost-week of the NBA season (The Ringer)
Photo: Chris Condon/PGA Tour
Steph Curry and Callaway Golf announced a multi-year partnership last week that includes a commitment from both parties to partner on initiatives aimed at making golf "more accessible to underserved and underrepresented youth."
Why it matters: This is both a sign of the times and a potential blueprint for the future.
There were more advocacy and corporate social responsibility ads aired during the first four games of the World Series than any other type of ad outside of auto makers, according to data from Advertising Analytics.
Through eight weeks, the NFC is 23-13 against the AFC, and the top 10 NFC teams by record are 20-3 (!) against AFC opponents.
Notre Dame is the most popular college football ticket in 171 U.S. counties, by far the most in college football, according to data from Vivid Seats. Georgia is second with 142.
One year ago today, Klay Thompson made an NBA-record 14 three-pointers in the Warriors' 149-124 win over the Bulls, breaking teammate Steph Curry's previous record of 13.
By the numbers: Thompson made 18 of 29 shots and 14 of 24 threes to finish with 52 points, and he did this all in just 27 — I repeat — 27 minutes. He didn't even play in the fourth quarter.
Answer at the bottom.
Photo: Swen Pförtner/Picture Alliance via Getty Images
England's Rob Cross, the No. 2 ranked darts player in the world, won the European Championship yesterday in front of a packed crowd in Gottingen, Germany.
The big picture: Darts has become one of the most popular televised sports in England by following the WWE playbook. Every player has a catchy nickname and their own walk-on music. It's pure entertainment — and could be coming to America soon.
P.S. ... Speaking of darts, this is wild.
🇭🇰 Inside the Hong Kong protests at the center of the NBA-China firestorm (Jordan Ritter Conn, The Ringer)
"Hong Kongers have long carried a reputation as busy and career-obsessed, perhaps even a little individualistic. … The movement, though, has inspired a togetherness among supporters that's long been missing from the local culture."
🏀 The best player in college basketball history at every jersey number (John Gasaway, ESPN)
"Here are the best college basketball players to ever wear each of the NCAA's 37 allowed jersey numbers (plus a look at a few that are no longer eligible)."
🎮 A glimpse down the esports talent pipeline (James B. Cutchin, LA Times)
"Much of the attention paid to the burgeoning esports industry focuses on the highest professional levels. ... But there's an untapped market lower in the rungs of the competitive gaming scene."
According to his 2017 combine performance, T.J. Watt has a 37-inch vertical. He may have hit 38 ahead of last night's game against the Dolphins. Getting that stoked in the tunnel = very on brand for the Watt family.
Kendall "Headband Klay" Baker
Trivia answer: Tom Brady