03/21/2013 10:53 am ET Updated May 21, 2013

Top 5 Sports Stories

Happy Thursday everyone, here's my Top 5 for March 21, 2013 from Len Berman at

1. Quick Hits

  • The NCAA basketball tournament gets underway in full force today.
  • Last night's NCAA winners were James Madison and La Salle.
  • The Miami Heat have now won 24 straight. They trailed Cleveland by 27 points in the third quarter and came back to win 98-95.
  • NFL: Baltimore safety Ed Reed is moving to Texas. It looks like the Chicago Bears and linebacker Brian Urlacher are parting ways.
  • The Syracuse University basketball program has reportedly been under NCAA investigation for years.
  • Since you were dying to know, 19 Top 5 subscribers agree with President Obama in my NCAA basketball contest. They predict the final game will feature Indiana and Louisville.

2. Rule Book

The NFL approved some rules changes yesterday. Gone is the tuck rule which victimized the Oakland Raiders and sent the New England Patriots on their way in 2002. Now if a quarterback loses the ball while pulling back his pass attempt, it's a fumble. The second rule was a no-brainer. Running backs will be penalized if they lead with their helmet in the open field. Great former players like Emmitt Smith and Eric Dickerson don't like it. But in this safety-first era, why should players initiate hits to their own head? I'll leave the final word to the greatest running back of all-time, Jim Brown. He says, "I used my forearm. And the palm of my hand. And my shoulders. And my shoulder pads. I wasn't putting my head into too much of anything. I don't think that sounds like a good idea to me. What is my guarantee that my head is going to be strong enough to hurt somebody else, and not hurt myself?" Case closed.

3. Remember When?

I don't want to sound like a cranky old man, but when Kentucky flamed out of the N.I.T. in the first round it told you everything you need to know about college basketball today. Champs one year, chumps the next. The concept of top-notch players staying in college for four years is so alien. And remember when freshman couldn't play on the varsity? Now you're really old. So things get shaken and stirred every year in college hoops, and now a dynasty is two years. Take that UCLA! But pay no mind to me. Just enjoy March Madness. Under the current "one and done" mentality it's actually more maddening.

4. Newtown

The Yankees and Red Sox will pay tribute to the victims of the Newtown shooting on opening day at Yankee Stadium. That's a sports item. The following isn't. Banning assault weapons will not be included in the Senate's gun control bill. It will be part of an amendment that's not expected to pass. I think every American should note which way his or her senator votes on that amendment. That was a politically correct and neutral statement, right?

5. Location, Location

I find this newfangled world wide web rather fascinating. Not only can I send emails around the world, but I can see in which country or state they are actually opened. Recently I mentioned my usual complaint, how I'm read in far-flung places on the globe but not South Dakota or Mississippi. That normally leads to some emails from those states. But it also led to this one, from Top 5 subscriber A.B. "I'm your reader, or at least one of your readers in Bangladesh. Before being evacuated last year from Mali, I was your reader or one of your readers from Mali." Interesting to hear how Top 5 readers survive civil wars and such just to open their daily Top 5.

Happy Birthday: Minnesota Vikings star running back Adrian Peterson. 28.

Bonus Birthday: Bueller? Bueller? Matthew Broderick. 51.

Today in Sports: Art Modell buys the Cleveland Browns for a record $3.925 million. 1961.

Bonus Event: 50 years ago today. Alcatraz, which once housed Al Capone, shuts as a prison. 1963.

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