01/17/2012 11:00 am ET Updated Mar 18, 2012

Top 5 Sports Stories

Happy Tuesday everyone, here's my Top 5 for January 17, 2012 from Len Berman at

1. Quick Hits

  • The home teams are favored to win Sunday's championship games. New England by 7 1/2 over Baltimore, San Francisco by 2 1/2 over the Giants.
  • The Denver Broncos anoint Tim Tebow their starting quarterback in training camp. What a vote of confidence!
  • #1 Syracuse beat Pittsburgh 81-73 to go 20-0 for the first time in school history.
  • Do you remember that Aussie Sam Stosur won the U.S. Open? Success is fleeting. She lost in the first round of the Australian Open.

2. The Spin Zone

Yesterday I mused that if the Giants had lost to Green Bay as a result of two blown calls, I would have loved to see the NFL's spin. Well they issued a statement on the instant replay fumble fiasco anyway. In part it says, "A decision will be reversed only when the referee has indisputable visual evidence available to him that warrants the change... Referee Bill Leavy conducted the instant replay video review and determined that there was no indisputable visual evidence to warrant reversing the on-field ruling of down by contact. As a result, the ruling on the field stood." In other words, blah, blah blah. They totally got it WRONG, and everyone seems to know it except for them. But that's par for the course for the NFL. They've never accepted criticism well. Their statement should have read, "Upon further review, Bill Leavy was in error. The NFL will strive to improve the instant replay system."

3. Hot Seat

Don't you love the coaching hot seat? Giants coach Tom Coughlin might have been a goner if the Giants didn't go on their late-season run. Would that have been fair? He's now gone into Green Bay twice in four years and come out with two playoff wins. I'm guessing he's earned removal from the hot seat for at least two more years minimum.

4. #3

Syracuse basketball coach Jim Boeheim is now tied with Adolph Rupp for career coaching wins, 876. That's third all time behind Mike Krzyzewski and Bob Knight. Rare company indeed. Yes, as a Syracuse alum I'm partial to Boeheim's story. He played in the first game I ever announced on radio as a Syracuse freshman broadcaster. People don't realize that Boeheim was a heckuva player. But they now know he's one helluva coach.

5. The Greatest

I saw Muhammad Ali shuffling through a hotel lobby in Sydney during the 2000 Olympics. People just stood and watched in reverence. He doesn't speak which seems to add to the aura that surrounds him. It's sad. Look at the old clips of Cassius Clay running off his mouth. And now he's silent. And to think he was 58 in Sydney and only 54 when he lit the Olympic torch in Atlanta. Quite a life, which turns 70 today.

Happy Birthday: The Greatest. Muhammad Ali. 70.
Bonus Birthday: The one, the only, Betty White. 90.

Today in Sports: Jim O'Brien's 32-yard field goal gave Baltimore a 16-13 win over Dallas in Super Bowl V. 1971.
Bonus Event: Good times. The NBA suspends Dennis Rodman indefinitely for kicking a cameraman. 1997.

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