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The Pulse: A Super Bowl preview, NBA draft changes, and Guy Fieri’s unis


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Good morning! Stay out of Josh Allen’s way today.

Juggernauts

The Bills and Eagles are terrifying

The games themselves were a snooze. The emerging narratives were not: Philadelphia and Buffalo have to be considered Super Bowl favorites from their respective conferences after what we saw Monday night.

The Eagles and Bills both won in routs, the former beating up on Minnesota like it was the 2018 NFC title game and the latter pummeling a Titans team that looks lost. Buffalo was already the Super Bowl favorite heading into the season; the Eagles’ talented roster finally looks fully realized.

A special honorable mention to Darius Slay, the Eagles cornerback who stifled superstar Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson all night, ending with two interceptions and one ball given to Sixers star James Harden.

New NFL power rankings? Glad you asked. The Chiefs give these teams company.

Changes

The one-and-done is done

High schoolers could return to the NBA draft as early as 2024The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported Monday. As the NBA and NBPA hammer out a new collective bargaining agreement, both sides are in lockstep on eliminating the infamous one-and-done rule.

A quick breakdown:

  • The age requirement to enter the NBA Draft will go from 19 to 18, reverting back to the limit in place from 1995 to 2005. LeBron? KG? Yep. Most high school seniors will be eligible.
  • Everyone seems happy about this, maybe aside from top college coaches like John Calipari, who’s been expecting this for a while. The rule change will be more fair to players who can make the jump.
  • Don’t assume college basketball will fade. With the advent of NIL, some players might be more swayed by developing in college and making legit money.

Seth Davis says this is good for the college game, and even argues for the age limit to be even lower. The landscape is so much different — NIL, relaxed transfer rules, G League opportunities — than it was the last time high schoolers could make the jump.

The good: Kids will have more options. The interesting: How the hell do you choose?

Things You Need to See

Guy Fieri … Belgian inspiration?

We have somehow entered the second week of World Cup kit talk after last week’s blue cow spot debacle. Next up: the Belgian kits, which are … fiery.

The sleeves have flamesThe socks do, too. According to the Royal Belgian Football Association, the fiery paraphernalia are a “reminder to opponents what they can expect when playing the Belgian teams.”

Brooks Peck said it best on our live blog: “Belgium will be wearing a shirt that even Guy Fieri finds aesthetically offensive.”

They’re still better than the U.S. blues.

Briefs

Police investigating fan incident
Moments after Arizona’s thrilling overtime win in Las Vegas on Sunday, video captured a fan appearing to strike Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray in the face as he tried to celebrate with a group of Arizona faithful. Las Vegas police confirmed to The Athletic on Monday that they’re reviewing an alleged incident of a professional football player being struck by a spectator but did not identify which player or a suspect. Don’t be a sore loser, kids.

Angels eliminated from postseason contention
We all knew it was coming, but it’s here and still as surprising as ever. The baseball team with two of the five best players on Earth couldn’t even sniff contention, another indictment in what has become one of the most bizarre runs of mediocrity in recent memory. The Angels could be in for a painful offseason. Go Akron Groomsmen.

Bates arrested on gun charges
Former top basketball prospect Emoni Bates was arrested and charged with two felony gun charges in Michigan on Sunday. Bates, who began his career at Memphis, transferred to Eastern Michigan this offseason. Bates played sparingly at Memphis last season and became the highest-rated player to ever join a Mid-American Conference team.

Pulse Picks

Judge vs. Ohtani isn’t the hardest decision of MLB awards season, Ken Rosenthal writes.

The peak of NHL offseason content: One emo or punk song for every team.

Bad week of fantasy? Save your season with our Week 3 waiver wire picks.

How is Clayton Kershaw still so good? His fellow pitchers break it down.

For the first time, Steve Wojciechowski is out of the basketball spotlight. He’s not really ready to re-enter the fray, either.

Doug Haller has an incisive breakdown of how the Herm Edwards era ended at Arizona State. Must-read stuff. Who could replace Herm? We have names.

A fantastic excerpt from Greg Landsdowne’s upcoming book: the history of Panini World Cup stickers.

Max Scherzer returned from the IL with a vengeance: six perfect innings and win No. 200.

Heisman straw polls are already out. CJ Stroud, Caleb Williams and … Stetson Bennett?

Our UK folks have an exclusive interview with Bruno Fernandes this morning about Man U’s bad start and the road ahead.

 

“There he goes. One of God's own prototypes.

A high-powered mutant of some kind, never even considered for mass production.

Too weird to live, and too rare to die.”
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