Happy New Year everyone, I hope you all had a great holiday. Here's my Top 5 for January 3, 2011 from Len Berman at ThatsSports.com.
1. Quick Hits
* Seattle wins the NFC West with a lovely 7-9 record after beating St. Louis last night 16-6.
* Green Bay grabs the final NFC playoff spot. The Giants and Tampa Bay go home.
* The Giants say coach Tom Coughlin will return next season, as he should. But how many other coaches will bite the dust this week?
* Brett Favre says he's finished. Maybe he really means it this time.
* Baltimore Orioles relief pitcher Alfredo Simon is the main suspect in a fatal New Year's Eve shooting in the Dominican Republic.
* What have you done for me lately? The champion Lakers are booed off the court in L.A. after being dumped by Memphis 104-85.
2. Vacation Musings
* I thought the headline said "Rex Ryan has a food fetish," and my reaction was, "yeah, so?"
* I guess being fined $50,000 by the NFL for "not cooperating" with their investigation into whether he sent penis pix to a Jets hostess sounds better for Brett Favre than the league finding "insufficient evidence."
*So they now cancel NFL games because of snow. Is this the Lingerie Football League?
*When Ohio State punished its football players for next season, but not for their financially lucrative bowl game, I thought "college football... business as usual."
*Now I know why the Big Ten keeps getting bigger. After going a sterling 0 for 5 on New Year's Day, they'll keep expanding until they find a school that can actually win a bowl game.
*With all due respect to the U-Conn women, they might have won more games in a row than the UCLA men, but they didn't exactly break the Bruins record.
*The Fighter deserves to be in the conversation for the best movie Oscar. And if Christian Bale doesn't win Best Supporting Actor for playing Micky Ward's brother, he should cry "the fight was fixed!"
3. Winning by Losing
I thought the post-season was for winners? Not this year in the NFL. The Seattle Seahawks made history. They're the the first bunch of losers (7-9) to make the playoffs. Forget for a moment that 5 NFL teams had better records, shouldn't there be a rule? Here's mine. You can't make the playoffs in any sport with a losing record. Now that I've settled that, I'll start working on jobs and health care.
4. Bowl Mania
If I'm Kansas State I'm still livid over that chintzy call in the Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium. A 15-yard penalty because the guy who scored a touchdown saluted. That's it, a simple salute. It was ruled excessive celebration. If it was the NFL, there would be a penalty on every touchdown. The call against Kansas State cost them a reasonable chance to tie the game against Syracuse. So if I'm a Wildcat fan, I'm pissed. Then again, I went to Syracuse, so great call!
P.S. Memo to my announcer friends. It's "Seer-a-cuse," Not Sair as in hair.
5. Bud Greenspan, 1926-2010
Bud Greenspan passed away on Christmas Day. Even if you didn't know his name, you know his work. He did all those marvelous Olympic films. He focused on the "back story," tales of courage and perseverance. I was once on an airplane with the late movie reviewer Gene Siskel. When I told him I wasn't that into special effects, he told me the key to any movie is "story, story, story." The late CBS producer Don Hewitt said his mantra for success at 60 Minutes was "Tell me a story." When I worked the Olympics for NBC, the producers constantly drummed the theme, "storyline." Bud Greenspan was the best sports story-teller of our age. Next time you see an old Olympic film about some last place runner crawling to the finish line, say to yourself, "That's Bud." That's the story.
Happy Birthday: Giants quarterback Eli Manning. (More years than interceptions this season.) 30.
Bonus Birthday: The Beatles famed record producer, Sir George Martin. 85.
Today in Sports: The Red Sox sell Babe Ruth to the Yankees for $125,000. Money well spent, eh? 1920.
Bonus Event: They began construction on the Brooklyn Bridge, which opened 13 years later. 1870. (By the way, the year after it opened, P.T. Barnum demonstrated its safety when he paraded across with a herd of 21 elephants, and I'm guessing a herd of sanitation workers right behind.)
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