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SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

How every week I look forward to saying, time for BJ Leiderman's Sports theme.

(MUSIC)

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Soccer's governing body is meeting Thursday in Morocco, a day after the American lawyer, who spent two years investigating allegations of corruption in the bidding process for the World Cup, quit in protest at how FIFA handled his report.

Sports Illustrated named its sportsman of the year the other day, Madison Bumgarner of the San Francisco Giants, which reminded me once again that you only hear the word "sportsman" anymore about the time when Sports Illustrated names its Sportsman of the Year. The term seems so archaic that it would be as if Time magazine annually chose a Gentleman of the Year.

Today, like every Sunday in the fall, millions of Americans are tuning in to watch some of the country's most popular sport: football.

And for several million of them, your regular ol' football game isn't fast-paced enough: They're tuning in to NFL RedZone.

NFL RedZone is the frenetic channel run by the NFL Network that, for seven hours straight, switches between football games in an endeavor to show every single score of as many as 12 simultaneous games.

Associated Press

Alabama, Oregon, Florida State and Ohio State have been selected to play in the first College Football Playoff.  

For years, the great brouhaha in college football was its lack of a real playoff. But at last we have one — the four qualifying teams to be announced Sunday.

Carlos Romero's apartment is marked with remnants from his former life: a giant television from his days playing World of Warcraft and a pair of jeans the width of an easy chair. Remnants of that time — when he weighed 437 pounds — mark his body too: loose, hanging skin and stretch marks.

"I lift weights and work out and work hard, but there's lasting damage," says Romero.

FCC Votes To Eliminate Sports Blackout Rules

Sep 30, 2014

The Federal Communications Commission voted on Tuesday to ditch rules that prohibited cable and satellite providers from broadcasting games that had been blacked out on local stations.

Ken Blaze, USA TODAY Sports

The Cleveland Cavaliers kick off training camp tomorrow (Saturday) and prodigal son LeBron James says he's happy to dig into the work ahead. 

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

The NFL just kicked off its 2014 season, and the $9 billion league is currently facing two powerful opponents: its own image and Congress.

Lawmakers have seized on controversies over domestic violence, child abuse and a team name to attack the NFL's tax exemption. While the individual teams generate billions in profits and pay taxes, the league office is considered a nonprofit and does not pay federal income taxes.

There has been a crowded docket in our preeminent sport. Let's take just three cases. The defendants: the NFL, Roger Goodell and football itself.

This Sunday, Sept. 14, marks the 200th anniversary of the writing of Francis Scott Key's poem, "The Defence of Fort McHenry" — better known today as "The Star-Spangled Banner."

And is any national anthem so identified with sports as ours?

The association is probably because the song is played before every baseball game, and baseball games are legion. It is even responsible for that oldest of sports jokes: "What are the last two words of the national anthem? Play ball!"

Along with the U.S. Open in tennis, early September means baseball's pennant race is in full swing ... and no sports term has become a more maddening cliche than baseball's "walk-off."

At first it was applied only to a walk-off home run — that is, when the home team would win in the last inning with a homer — game's over, so it's a walk-off, because there's no need to run. Then there became walk-off triples, doubles, singles, sacrifice flies — even walk-off walks with the bases loaded. It's creeping walk-offism.

In boxing, it's not often that the first fight of the night gets a lot of attention. But at Longshoreman's Hall in San Francisco last month, the fans, the announcers, even the viewers watching the broadcast on FOX Sports One were all captivated by the boxer in the blue corner.

"Tonight he makes his professional debut and joins us from Beijing, China," chimed the announcer. "Here is The Great Wall: Taishan!"

No doubt some of the autograph seekers leaning across the fence straining for the baseball players' attention were in it for the money.

I suppose a baseball signed by the right person is worth something. Others were collectors working to complete their sets.

But most of us clumped up along the side of the dugout were fans — and our motives were of an entirely different nature.

Well, to be accurate, I wasn't begging for autographs. My kids were. I was there as a chaperone.

usatoday.com

Ohio State officials have confirmed that quarterback Braxton Miller will miss the 2014 season after re-injuring his throwing shoulder. The two-time Big Ten player of the year, left practice in pain Monday after making a throw. 

Golf tournament officials have announced the launch of ticket sales for the U.S. Senior Open Championship, which will take place at Scioto Country Club in Upper Arlington in August 2016. 

When Jason Taylor played professional football, his name struck terror into opposing quarterbacks. Now that he's retired, that name may soon adorn a plaque in the Hall of Fame.

For a reason why, look to seasons like the one Taylor had in 2006, when he was playing defensive end for the Miami Dolphins. He was named the NFL's Defensive Player of the Year that season, racking up 13.5 sacks, recovering two fumbles and even returning two interceptions — quite a feat for a lineman.

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