01/23/2012 11:31 am ET Updated Mar 24, 2012

Top 5 Sports Stories

Happy Monday everyone, here's my Top 5 for January 23, 2012 from Len Berman at

1. Quick Hits

  • It'll be New England against the Giants in Super Bowl XLVI on February 5th in Indianapolis. The Patriots are early 3 1/2 point favorites.
  • Penn State football coach Joe Paterno died from lung cancer. He was 85.
  • Serena Williams was stunned in her fourth round match at the Australian Open losing to Russia's Ekaterina Makarova 6-2, 6-3.
2. The Rematch Four years later they will meet again. Super Bowl 42 was one of the most dramatic ever played, with the Giants denying the Patriots a perfect season. Last time around New England was a hefty 12-point favorite, this time not so much. Both teams rode special teams blunders by their opponents to get to the big game. Baltimore missed a field goal, San Francisco muffed one punt and fumbled another. These weren't considered the best two teams in football, but at the moment they are playing the best. It certainly shapes up as a super Super Bowl. Too bad we have to wait the usual two long weeks to get it on.

3. JoePa

How sad. Joe Paterno had a legendary career. Penn State people view him as saint-like for his accomplishments in football and on campus. And yet, every obituary is replete with details about the sex scandal. While his lack of action cannot be condoned, it shouldn't overshadow a wonderful life that contributed so much to the betterment of his community. He probably deserved a much grander exit. Instead it went from scandal to firing to cancer to death. I can't imagine a worse final chapter.

4. Tennis Anyone?

Shall we discuss tennis etiquette? Is it proper to drill your opponent with the ball? Tomas Berdych was tattooed by Nicolas Almagro at the Australian Open and he wasn't happy about it. After Berdych won the match he wouldn't shake Almagro's hand. The crowd booed lustily. Check it all out. Afterwards Berdych said, "This is not the way how tennis is." Well actually it's not bad strategy. Since when did sports become so dainty?

5. Man Up

I never met Trey Junkin, but I always admired him. Nine years ago he was the guilty party as the Giants lost a playoff game to the 49ers. He was the long snapper who botched the snap on the potential winning field goal. Yes, a penalty should have been called on the wild scramble that ensued. But the thing about Junkin, is he didn't hide. Immediately after the game he told the media that he blamed himself for the loss. Nine years later he says he still lives with it every day. I wish I had the power to absolve him of his "crime." Hey, it's just a game. Happy birthday anyway, Trey Junkin.

Happy Birthday: Trey Junkin. 51.
Bonus Birthday: Actress Mariska Hargitay. 48.

Today in Sports: Willie Mays is elected to Cooperstown, but 23 writers leave him off their ballots. Those scribes should have had their writing privileges revoked. 1979.
Bonus Event: Thank goodness, now Patrick Ewing has somewhere to go to school. Georgetown College is established as the country's first Catholic college. 1789.

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