The NFL Woos China; Brazil Slowly Prepares to Host the 2014 World Cup

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Today in sports: The NFL tries solving its China problem with a retired Hall of Famer, FIFA is worried about Brazil's "nightmare" traffic jams, and Urban Meyer returns to college football after a 355-day hiatus.

  • Ohio State University will formally introduce Urban Meyer as the school's new football coach at a press conference Monday afternoon in Columbus, 355 days after he resigned as head coach at the University of Florida because he was worried he was going to have a heart attack. Meyer, who won two national championships in six years at Florida, will reportedly earn $40 million over the course of the course of the seven-year contract, which would make his average annual salary $5.7 million, $500,000 more than college football's next highest paid coach, Mack Brown of the University of Texas.  [AP]
  • The NFL's decision four years ago to cancel a scheduled preseason game in Beijing didn't help the league in its ongoing struggles to gain a foothold in the Chinese market, but maybe the scaled-down version of the NFL Experience -- pro football's interactive marketing roadshow -- that came to Shanghai yesterday will help eliminate any lingering hard feelings. According to The Wall Street Journal, the 3,500 locals who attended yesterday got to practice their punting, collect autographs from four San Francisco 49ers cheerleaders, and hobnob with Hall of Fame running back Tony Dorsett. The marketing push likely would be more effective if the league could convince a Chinese broadcaster to consistently carry live game feeds, but you can't have everything. During the 2005 offseason, then-Philadelphia Eagles tight end Chad Lewis (pictured) hosted a similar events with schoolchildren in Beijing. [The Wall street Journal]
  • Brazil's new sports minister Aldo Rebelo promised attendees of the soccer trade show Soccerex in Rio that the country was committed to hosting a "great World Cup in 2014," which could conceivably happen, now that police have started stepping up efforts to wrestle control of 40 Rio favelas away from local drug gangs. But as FIFA general secretary Jerome Valcke told Brazilian parliament earlier this month, the country still has to find a way to fix its "nightmare" traffic problem, and also maybe do something about the fact it takes "half a day" to depart from the country's airports. [BBC]
  • As part of the upcoming abbreviated 66-game NBA season, teams will have to play games on three consecutive nights for the first time since the lockout shortened 1999 season. Before then, you have to go back to the 1970s to find the last time a team played back-to-back-to-back games. [The Los Angeles Times]
  • Former Texas Tech University head football coach and Michael Lewis profile subject Mike Leach could be nearing a return to the sidelines. The pirate-obsessed offensive wizard is reported to be among the top candidates to fill the coaching vacancies at Washington State and Kansas.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.