Happy Monday everyone, here's my Top 5 for September 19, 2011 from Len Berman at www.ThatsSports.com.
1. Quick Hits
- Quarterback Michael Vick suffers a concussion as Philadelphia loses in Atlanta 35-31.
- Monday night football tonight: the Giants host the St. Louis Rams.
- The ACC accepts Syracuse and Pittsburgh dealing a major blow to the Big East Conference.
- Boston's wild card lead over Tampa Bay is sliced to two with 10 games remaining.
- Detroit pitcher Justin (MVP?) Verlander wins his 24th game.
- 16-year-old Lexi Thompson from Coral Springs, Florida becomes the youngest woman to win an LPGA event.
2. Passing Fancy
They picked right up where they left off. Carolina rookie Cam Newton and Patriots star Tom Brady. Newton with a rookie passing record of 432 yards in the Panthers loss to Green Bay. Brady set the record for most yards passing in the first two games of a season with 940. Then there's the fragility of the position. Michael Vick's storybook return to Atlanta got derailed by his concussion. And Dallas quarterback Tony Romo probably picked up some new fans by breaking a rib and returning to rally the Cowboys to their overtime win in San Francisco. And with Peyton Manning out, the Colts dropped to 0-2. And it's nice to see long suffering Detroit and Buffalo fans enjoying 2-0 records. The Washington Redskins are 2-0. I guess their fans can be categorized as "long suffering" too, no?
3. Conference Call
I have mixed feelings about the latest conference musical chairs, Syracuse and Pitt bolting the Big East for the ACC. As the first TV announcer for Big East basketball, there will always be a special place in my heart for the Syracuse-St. John's and Syracuse-Georgetown rivalries. I understand that everything in sports is about money, and that nothing lasts forever, but great memories are hard to erase. And now you can't keep track of any team in college sports. The geography is a total mess. The last time I looked Pittsburgh and Syracuse weren't located along the Atlantic coast. But so it goes. At least we have the Ivy League intact.
4. Let's Get Ready to Rumble
Is boxing dead forever? OK, every so often something mildly interesting comes along like Floyd Mayweather's fight against Victor Ortiz Saturday night. There was a head butt (not exactly a Mike Tyson ear-chomping moment) and a very quick attack after touching gloves. But hey, aren't you supposed to protect yourself at all times? End result, Mayweather remains undefeated. And then the fun began. After the fight, HBO'S Larry Merchant climbed into the ring for the post-match interview. Mayweather criticized Merchant, and Merchant said "If I was 50 years younger, I'd kick your ass!" You don't hear announcers say that every day. Maybe Larry can bring back the sport of boxing all by himself?
5. Dave Gavitt -- 1937-2011
Dave Gavitt passed away the other day. He was the leading force behind the formation of the Big East Conference. A former basketball coach at Providence, he was the Big East's first commissioner. He also doubled as my analyst when the Big East television network began. He not only taught me about basketball, but on one occasion he really showed me something. We were on our way to do a Georgetown game and he told me "you don't have to sell the conference" during the telecast. I was stunned. I thought that's what play-by-play announcers were supposed to do, hype the Big East. Dave said the basketball will speak for itself. He was right. He invariably was when it came to college sports.
Happy Birthday: Cincinnati Reds Hall of Famer Joe Morgan. 68.
Bonus Birthday: Late night TV good guy Jimmy Fallon. 37.
Today in Sports: In a prelim, diver Greg Louganis bangs his head on the diving board at the Seoul Olympics. He survived to win the springboard diving gold medal. 1988.
Bonus Event: Simon and Garfunkel reunite in Central Park for a free concert in front of half a million people. 30 years ago today. 1981.
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