09/13/2010 10:53 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Top 5 Sports Stories

Happy Monday everyone, here's my Top 5 for September 13, 2010 from Len Berman at

1. Quick Hits

* The rain-delayed U.S. Open final between Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic will be played today.
* The first Sunday of NFL football ends with Washington beating Dallas 13-7. The Cowboys' winning touchdown was negated by a holding penalty with no time left.
* The hard luck sand trap guy, Dustin Johnson, won the BMW Championship. Tiger Woods finished 8 strokes back and failed to qualify for the Tour Championship.
* The U.S. beats Turkey 81-64 to win the World Basketball championship.
* Pete Rose is permitted on the field to commemorate the 25th anniversary of becoming the all time hit-leader. He remains banned from baseball and the Hall of Fame.

2. Rules Are Meant To Be Broken

Who makes up these NFL rules, the PGA? You sure there wasn't a sand trap there? Calvin Johnson of the Lions clearly won the game against Chicago with a touchdown.
Possession. Two feet down. Falls to the turf in the end zone with the ball. But aha! That little NFL rule that says even in the end zone the player has to maintain control after he hits the ground. Bad rule. How come when a running back breaks the plane and then fumbles, it's a touchdown? Rules should make sense. This one doesn't. Reminds me of a show business friend who says "it's not a deal until two days after the check clears."

3. The System Is Broke

This is not to defend Reggie Bush, but he should keep his Heisman Trophy and refuse to give it back. You think he was the only college athlete who ever cheated? Just last week a Georgia football player was suspended for selling a jersey. Tennessee's basketball team is being investigated and a Kentucky basketball player supposedly got paid for playing in Turkey. If every player who ever got an illegal gift was disqualified, the only winning teams would be in the Ivy League... uh, maybe not. In turns out a Princeton women's tennis player got illegal support from a booster. And don't get me started on coaches. Tennessee coach Bruce Pearl admitted he misled the NCAA in their investigation. Another fine leader of men. Did the school fire him? Nah. He wins too many games. When I was in college, there were stories about athletes arriving in the hotel room at away games, and there would be little "envelopes" from boosters. Over the years, I'm sure those "envelopes" have become even larger. What a mess.

4. Tennis Anyone?

Some random thoughts after going to the semifinals Saturday at the U.S. Open.

*Before the matches, John McEnroe's mom told me, "Little John says this is Nadal's time." (Her husband is John, Sr.) It's not that John Jr. may be right, it's just that I would have paid to hear some chair umpire call him Little John in his heyday.

*They have a radar gun on serves. I'd love to have one on Nadal and Federer's shots when they run around their backhand and boom some forehands cross court.

*Sure glad I was at the day session, about 6 hours of tennis. The night session, the women's final, lasted 59 minutes.

*During the Federer/Djokovic match, some fans in the cheap seats were doing the wave. Rookies.

5. Me Myself And I

OK, blame television. Athletes love to celebrate and call attention to themselves. After dunks. Posing for home runs. Call this one "sportsmanship's sweet revenge." The Moroccan goaltender is pounding his chest, congratulating himself for making the save... and then? Take a look.

Next I'd like to see a home run poser get thrown out at first when the ball goes off the wall.

Happy Birthday: Former Yankees center fielder Bernie Williams. (Bernie is on my blue ribbon panel for my new kids book, see below.) 42.
Bonus Birthday: Singer/songwriter Fiona Apple. 33.

Today in Sports: The start of something big. They ran the first New York City Marathon and it was won by a fireman named Gary Muhrcke. 1970.
Bonus Event: The start of something huge. The U.S. government takes out its first loan. 1789.

I have book signings this week on Staten Island and in Queens. My complete schedule is at

Want a free autographed copy of my newest kids book, The 25 Greatest Baseball Players Of All Time?
Send me the email addresses of 3 new Top 5 subscribers and you'll be entered in a lottery to win. Send at least 5 new subscribers and be eligible to win autographed copies of both the new book and my New York Times bestseller, The Greatest Moments in Sports. Just get in touch.