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For those who have never seen the show American Ninja Warrior: Imagine an Army obstacle course, redesigned by Dr. Seuss and a team of rock-climbing acrobats. Competitors have to thread their way through the daunting obstacles, completing a number of stages before they can hope to finish the whole thing.

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"On FanDuel I've won over $62,000 — try FanDuel today."

"This is DraftKings. Welcome to the big time. You can play when you want with the team you want. Just pick your contest, pick your team, and pick up your winnings."

These types of ads have been inescapable on NFL broadcasts so far this season. They are encouraging fans to play a type of fantasy sports game — and bet real money on their performance.

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As an absolutely impossible thing happened to Serena Williams on the way to becoming the absolutely guaranteed Grand Slam champion, it reminds us once again, on the field of play, there is no sure thing. But off the field, some things are, to coin a word: un-upsettable.

At the top of the un-upsettable list is that in American city after American city, either the voters or their elected tribunes will put up oodles of the citizens' hard-deducted tax money in order to fund a new stadium for the benefit of a filthy-rich team owner.

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Updated at 5 p.m. ET

The World No. 1 Serena Williams was upset by the unseeded Roberta Vinci of Italy 2-6, 6-4, 6-4, ending Williams' quest to win the first calendar Grand Slam since 1988.

Favored at 300-1 odds and having never lost a match to the 32-year-old Vinci, Williams seemed destined to move on to the U.S. Open final. When she won the first set 6-2 with relative ease, it looked all but guaranteed that she would find herself in the championship match.

In Texas, fewer high school boys are playing football. And while there may be some concern about head injuries, one young athlete says the trend has more to do with demands on his time and the push for players to specialize in one sport.

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Copyright 2015 Fresh Air. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/programs/fresh-air/.

Transcript

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A federal judge has thrown out Tom Brady's four-game suspension over his role in "deflategate."

The suspension was handed down by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell after attorney Ted Wells found that employees of the New England Patriots deflated footballs to make them easier to grip. Goodell said Brady likely knew about the scheme.

Brady appealed Goodell's decision in federal court, and today, he prevailed.

He was already serving a lengthy prison sentence; now onetime St. Louis Rams running back Lawrence Phillips is being charged with murder in the death of his cellmate. Phillips was convicted of assaulting his girlfriend and other charges in 2006.

The new charges against Phillips, 40, stem from the death of his fellow inmate at the Kern Valley State Prison in California this past spring. Officials are accusing Phillips of strangling Damion Soward, 37.

On Wednesday, in honor of footballs that are inflated, we must discuss extra points. The NFL is monkeying around with the extra point again. You think it should? Do you have a better idea? Do we even need an extra point? Why do we have an extra point?

Well, the extra point is vestigial, a leftover from the good old 19th century days when football had identity problems and couldn't decide whether or not it was rugby. Or something. At that point, in fact, what was sort of the extra point counted more than the touchdown itself.

In the latest high-profile change for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games, organizers withdrew their games' official logo Tuesday, after weeks of heavy criticism. A graphic designer had filed a lawsuit over the resemblance to his own work.

Belgian designer Olivier Debie first complained about the logo soon after it was unveiled in July, saying the image presented by Japanese designer Kenjiro Sano was too similar to one he created for the Theatre de Liège in 2011. Debie had noted that his logo was widely shared on Pinterest.

Though they were not victorious in Sunday's Little League World Series title game, the Red Land Little League Team received a hero's welcome from fans in Lewisberry, Pa., Sunday night.

They lined the streets, cheered and waved signs for a team that still owns the bragging rights to the title "United States champions," which they won on Saturday. But the next day, Red Land came up short in a tension-filled Little League World Series title game — jumping out to an eight-run lead but ultimately losing 18-11 to Japan.

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Always, the ever-tantalizing, ever-impossible discussion in every sport revolves around who's the greatest player ever. It's so difficult trying to compare champions from different eras, but it's a constant party game and especially in vogue now, as Serena Williams prepares to try to win the U.S. Open. Doing so would not only give her the first tennis Grand Slam since Steffi Graf won in 1988 but would give Williams her 22 major titles, tying Graf at the top of the tree.

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And it's now time for sports.

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Time now for sports.

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The clubs, balls, vast verdant courses, garish outfits: Golf in America has arguably become rather ho-hum and predictable as the 2015 PGA Championship tournament tees off this week at Whistling Straits in Sheboygan, Wis.

MLB Home Teams Make History By Going 15-0

Aug 12, 2015

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Finally this hour, a little bit of baseball history.

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UNIDENTIFIED MAN #1: McFarland deals down the line.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #2: Fair ball.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #1: Oh, it's fair ball.

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Updated at 2:46 p.m. ET

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and the NFL appeared in a Manhattan court today to update a federal judge on whether both sides are any closer to resolving a dispute over the quarterback's pending four-game "deflategate" suspension.

The public portion of the hearing lasted approximately 80 minutes before U.S. Judge Richard Berman met separately with Brady and league officials in private.

It's been less than a year since a domestic violence scandal erupted in the National Football League. The infamous Ray Rice video from last September and the league's mishandling of the case plunged the NFL into an unprecedented crisis.

It also spurred the league into action after years of doing little or nothing about the problem of domestic violence. The problem continues, and so do the efforts to fight it.

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NFL Hall of Famer and sports announcer Frank Gifford died yesterday in Connecticut at the age of 84. NPR's Sam Sanders has this remembrance.

SAM SANDERS, BYLINE: A lot of you listening may know of Frank Gifford for things like this.

NFL Football Hall of Famer and longtime sports broadcaster Frank Gifford died Sunday at his Connecticut home at age 84.

He "died suddenly this beautiful Sunday morning of natural causes," the family confirmed in a brief statement.

Receiver and running back Gifford attended the University of Southern California on a football scholarship before going pro. He played for the New York Giants in a career on the field that spanned 1952 to 1964. He made the Pro Bowl in seven of his 12 NFL seasons.

Americans love competitors — in business, in politics, and in sports. And for some of us from the bad old days when only the guys got to play team sports, it's a very special thing to see women blowing through doors that not so long ago were closed to them.

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