The NFL isn't just a football league -- it's a lifestyle. On Elysium.
The Washington team has upped the ante in the fanciful realm of stadium development, an industry that tries to make it appealing to have to walk two miles to your car after four hours of sitting outdoors in a mid-Atlantic December.
Check out this fanciful image. Washington has proposed a surfable moat around its new stadium -- with a beach! Probably worth noting that it would be way too cold to surf, or promenade about in a bathing suit for all but the two preseason games, but no matter. Washington's owner could have been inspired by all the designs for California's stadium-metropoli as the Rams, Chargers and Raiders jockeyed for Los Angeles.
Still, I'm not sure that accounts for the two figures rappelling down the side of the structure despite a significant overhang. Perhaps this new stadium will be the first to finally defy physics and gravity.
The interesting thing is how wide the difference often is between the dream and the actualization. I remember fondly the majestic vision of the proposed new home for the Jets and Giants, and then the first season in 2010, when the press box wifi didn't consistently work and there was a blackout in the middle of a game. Do you know what French fries taste like in a $1.6 billion stadium? Exactly what they tasted like in the old stadium.
MetLife Stadium was built using private money, but most use public funds. St. Louis may be losing the Rams this year, but it isn't getting rid of stadium debt quite that easily.
So don't let the beach in D.C. fool you: The way stadium plans are rendered in a Power Point is just the start of the fantasy. The real magic comes in getting taxpayers to foot the bill -- and keeping drunken fans from toppling into the moat after beating the Cowboys.
Other things on my mind:
This week, NFL senior vice president for health and safety Jeff Miller said that football and CTE were linked. Eugene Monroe, a Baltimore offensive lineman who tweets from @TheSeventyFifth, was not pleased that it came so quickly on the heels of a denial at the Super Bowl.
Players haven't been quick to publicly call out the league on this issue, and Monroe later wondered how a league that acknowledges this link can still be so punitive with palliative marijuana use.
I mean, he has a point.
Concussions were up 31.6 percent this year, according to league data. Sure, that might be because players are more willing to be transparent about symptoms, but in possibly related news, flag football participation rose at a higher rate than tackle football last year.
This is what the beginning of a cultural shift looks like.
ESPN The Magazine's Mina Kimes had this must-read on Drew Brees and his this-totally-isn't-a-pyramid-scheme business endorsement.
Tennis majors are a bigger deal because the men and women play together. Could it happen in golf? Here's a look at some small-scale possibilities.