Arsenal isn't just a soccer team, it's an expression of a philosophy about the sport. But Per Mertesacker, the quiet, constant and deceptively remarkable defender who is the team's best player, embodies a different and more practical philosophy simply by playing the way he does.
Something strange happened to the English League Cup last week. You could even say it was spooked. No, this isn't just a bad attempt to make an otherwise matter-of-fact teaser appear more intriguing by making altogether too much of the chance simultaneity of the recently-played fourth round of the competition and Halloween. How dare you. No, there were odd things going on, alright: goals. Lots and lots of goals.
When it was launched late in 2011, ESPN's proprietary QBR passer rating was heralded as the rating that quantified the most complicated position in sports. Nothing could quite be or do that, but QBR has done a pretty solid job. So why has it more or less disappeared from ESPN and from the NFL discourse?
The words "human element" have lost much of their meaning in the loud, ongoing conversation over officiating mistakes. But while it's natural to want officiating to be better, it's worth remembering that the human element means more than "brutally botching a call." It's a part of what makes sports what it is.
The avage performance art that Philip Rivers' second half of football on Monday Night was, in its own horrible way, inspiring. At the very least, it inspired some admirably bold similes from Twitter's best and most wonderfully ridiculous minds as part of the #PhilipRiversExperience hashtag.
Nick Chubb, one of Georgia's top high school running backs, is almost certainly younger than you. But he has already broken off a 98-yard touchdown run, which means he has experienced something you almost certainly haven't. But what does a 98-yard touchdown run feel like?
We know the fumble: what it is, what it does, why to fear it. But, still, no one has quite figured out football's oldest and most serious on-field sin. The fumblers, as the proverbs say, are always with us.
During his stints as a head coach at Michigan State and the University of Arkansas, John L. Smith has not proven to be much of a head coach. But he has never let that stop him from having his weird, public, maybe-sort-of-crazy type of fun. That may not matter as much to boosters and fans, but it's something.
When is a goal more than a goal? When does it become one of those sporting moments possessed of such imagination and daring that it seemed to require outside confirmation of its actually having happened: from your viewing companions, from random internet people, from oh your God ... did you see that?