Happy New Year everyone, here's my Top 5 for Monday January 4, 2010 from Len Berman at www.ThatsSports.com.
1. Quick Hits
* The Jets rolled into the playoffs with their 37-0 thrashing last night of the Bengals. The two teams meet again next Saturday in Cincinnati.
* Baltimore clinched the remaining playoff spot. Denver missed the playoffs despite starting the season 6-0.
* The Washington Redskins wasted no time and fired coach Jim Zorn.
* Patriots quarterback Tom Brady has apparently played the last several games with 3 broken ribs. New England suffered a big loss when wide receiver Wes Welker went down with torn knee ligaments.
* After seeing the movie Invictus, which focuses on South Africa's stunning victory in the 1995 Rugby World Cup, I may have to amend my kids book The Greatest Moments in Sports.
2. The Holiday Spirit
Here's some of what went on while the Top 5 was on holiday break:
Texas Tech fired football coach Mike Leach because he reportedly made a player who wasn't practicing due to a concussion go stand in a dark room. Collegiate sports at its finest.
Two Washington Wizards allegedly drew guns on each other in the locker room in an argument over a card game. Pro sports at its finest.
Not to be outdone, 4 University of Tennessee basketball players were suspended on gun charges.
And trickling down to High School, 3 Cleveland area high school football players were charged with armed robbery.
Tis the season.
The Mets actually signed a big money free agent, slugger Jason Bay. The money probably would have been better spent on pitching, but Mets fans have to be happy that their team didn't sit on the sidelines all winter and watch the free agent parade pass them by.
Pacifying your fan base at its finest.
It's a battle of undefeateds tonight in the Fiesta Bowl. Boise State (13-0) vs. TCU (12-0). But this isn't the National Championship game. That comes up Thursday in Pasadena when Alabama (13-0) takes on Texas (13-0). Last week a national poll said that most sports fans would like to see a basketball-style playoff, rather than the current system. The BCS, who runs the current system, of course doesn't agree. They want to preserve the integrity of the bowls. Yeah, I just can't envision the American sports landscape without the Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl.
4. A Battle for the Aged
Wow, talk about getting 2010 started with a bang! 47-year-old Evander Holyfield will battle 41-year-old Francois Botha in Uganda on January 16th. Nothing says competitive sports like 88-years worth of boxers. The "no hitting below the belt" rule may be difficult to enforce.
5. New Year's Resolutions
So I guess it's incumbent upon me to come up with some high-minded resolutions for the Top 5 in 2010. I could start with no more gossip about A-Rod or Tiger. Then continue on with a pledge to only emphasize the positive about athletes. Then I could wind it up with not being so quick to carp about the absurdities of the sports world. I could do all that, but then this would morph into the Top 2. So ixnay on this resolution stuff. Carry on.
Happy Birthday: The last coach of an undefeated NFL team (1972 Miami Dolphins), Don Shula. 80.
Bonus Birthday: Heads up! Sir Isaac Newton was born on this date in 1643. Contrary to public belief, he did not invent the Fig Newton.
Today in Sports: President Jimmy Carter announces a U.S. boycott of the Summer Olympics in Moscow. That really showed 'em. 1980.
Bonus Event: Former wrestler Jesse "The Body" Ventura is sworn in as governor of Minnesota. 1999.
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