Happy Wednesday everyone, here's my Top 5 for February 3, 2010 from Len Berman at www.ThatsSports.com.
1. Quick Hits
* Super Bowl media day has come and gone. Colts defensive end Dwight Freeney said he still hopes to play Sunday despite a torn ligament in his ankle.
* The Colts will begin contract negotiations with quarterback Peyton Manning after the season. He's expected to become the highest paid player in NFL history.
* In a jailhouse interview, former Giant Plaxico Burress tells CBS that he will play again in the NFL.
* The Jets fined coach Rex Ryan $50-thousand for flipping the bird to Dolphin fans. The NFL could take additional action.
2. And the Envelope Please
Sports movies did quite well in the Oscar nominations announced yesterday. The Blind Side was nominated for Best Picture. Sandra Bullock for Best Actress. And Invictus, that was just a rugby movie, right? Morgan Freeman for Best Actor and Matt Damon for Supporting Actor. In case you are wondering, lots of sports movies have received nominations over the years from Raging Bull to Field of Dreams to Seabiscuit. But only 3 sports movies have won Best Picture. Rocky, 1976, Chariots of Fire, 1981 and Million Dollar Baby, 2004. Interesting. Two boxing movies and track and field.
3. National Pastime
When it comes to the most popular sport in America, boxing and track don't even register. The winner is a slam dunk, and it ain't basketball. According to the Harris Poll, pro football is the favorite sport of 35% of those polled who follow sports. Baseball is a distant second at 16%. And when you figure college football is third at 12%, football beats baseball 47% to 16%! Here's the troubling part for baseball. In 1985 pro football beat baseball 24%-23%. Since then football has soared and baseball has dropped like a rock. Those late World Series games, not to mention strikes and steroids, have certainly taken their toll on a generation of sports fans.
4. Sweet Lou
I had the honor of emceeing the 30th Thurman Munson Awards dinner last night in Manhattan. Among the honorees were Joba Chamberlain, Darryl Strawberry and Lou Piniella. Despite being Cubs manager, Piniella wears his 1977 Yankee championship ring. At one point during dinner, Lou said to me "you know we're lucky." When I looked at him quizzically he said "my three best friends from my Yankee years are all gone. Thurman, Bobby Murcer, and Catfish Hunter." Pretty sobering.
5. Making an Impression
Talk about wearing your heart on your sleeve. Manchester City soccer fan Chris Atkinson was so excited that his team was going to sign Brazilian soccer star Kaka, that he had Kaka tattooed on his chest. Kaka never signed with Manchester. But another Brazilian star did, Robinho. So, off to the tattoo parlor he went. Now he has Kaka and Robinho among his roughly 25 tattoos. But alas, Robinho has skipped town to play elsewhere. Atkinson is rather bummed, but he's got a solution. He says when he has kids some day, he'll name them Kaka and Robinho. That may take a while. Shockingly, he currently doesn't have a girlfriend.
Happy Birthday: Boxer Emile Griffith. 72.
Bonus Birthday: Actress Isla Fisher (Wedding Crashers) who's engaged to that Borat guy. 34.
Today in Sports: The Yankees name a former intern, 31 year old Brian Cashman, general manager. 1998.
Bonus Event: Got a buck? The first paper money is issued in Massachusetts to pay soldiers. 1690.
For my New England subscribers. I'll be signing copies of my NY Times bestselling kids book "The Greatest Moments in Sports" Friday, February 5th, at Porter Square Books in Cambridge. 6pm.
And Saturday, February 6th at Wellesley Booksmith. 2pm.
Hope to see you.
Follow Len Berman on Twitter: www.twitter.com/lenbermansports