02/03/2012 11:00 am ET Updated Apr 04, 2012

Top 5 Sports Stories

TGIF everyone here's my Top 5 for February 3, 2012 from Len Berman at

1. Quick Hits

  • Giants defensive lineman Jason Pierre-Paul said that you don't have to actually reach Tom Brady to rattle him. Pierre-Paul claimed in their last meeting, "He was reacting to pressure that didn't exist." Ouch.
  • A good sign for the Patriots, tight end Rob Gronkowski returned to practice yesterday albeit on a limited basis.
  • Mr. Hockey, 83-year-old Gordie Howe is fighting dementia.
  • Star of the night, Sam Gagne of the Edmonton Oilers. Four goals, four assists, the first eight-point NHL game for a player in 24 years. Edmonton beat Chicago 8-4.
  • According to the Dallas Morning News, Texas Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton had a relapse. The recovering drug addict drank alcohol at a Dallas area bar.
  • Some pitchers and catchers start reporting in 15 days. Only eight days away for Seattle since they're playing exhibition games in Japan before opening the season there against the As.

2. Stupid Bowl

Lost in the Super Bowl hoopla, some members of the NFL Super Bowl Committee have talked about staging a Super Bowl in London. Were they overly intoxicated during those discussions? Super Sunday has turned into a unique American experience. Any NFL owner who has even the fleeting notion of outsourcing the game should have to forfeit his NFL credential immediately. And only at the Super Bowl can the notion of Madonna, A-Rod and a picture of a centaur all come together at one news conference. On the plus side, here's a Budweiser Super Bowl commercial that will only air in Canada. Beer league hockey teams are surprised by fans showing up. Very cool!

3. J-E-T-S

A Jets fan told me yesterday that this Super Bowl is his worst nightmare. The two teams he hates the most are playing in the Super Bowl. But look at the bright side Jets fans, tomorrow could be a big day. Former coach Bill Parcells and star running back Curtis Martin will learn if they are elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. OK, Parcells won his Super Bowls with the Giants, and Martin didn't fare too badly in New England, but let's throw a bone to the Jets and their proximity to a real live Super Bowl.

4. Friday eMailbag

From C.B. "As a San Diegan and Charger fan, I was offended that Eli refused to play in our great city. Now it is obvious that it was one of the greatest decisions in sports history. His Dad knew that the Spanos crowd was not about winning and, boy was he right. I can only imagine how many Super Bowls Philip Rivers might have played in as a Giant."

Top 5 subscriber D.S. is not a fan of the Pro Bowl. "If I were Roger Goodell, I'd be thinking of discontinuing it or at least trying to come up with a way for the players to exert some effort. Seriously, I believe it tarnishes the league's reputation."

Even with the high Pro Bowl TV ratings, J.L. disputes the notion that football is now America's pastime. He writes if football is #1, "Why is there no team in the second media market (L.A.)? Which people debate possible Hall of Fame candidates with the fervor they do with baseball? Do more people visit Canton or Cooperstown?"

When Birmingham high school linebacker Cassanova McKinzy chose Auburn, he said he shied away from Clemson because there was no Chick-fil-A in sight. E.M. writes, "Remember the good old days when recruits picked a college because of the 'chicks' instead of the 'Chick-fil-As?'"

5. Spanning the World

This week's Spanning the World highlight comes from the Australian Open. Forget Djokovic and Nadal, let's hear it for the ballboy!

Spanning the World airs monthly on NBC's Today Show. Next up: Thursday February 23rd in the 8:30am half hour.

Happy Birthday: Former NFL quarterback Fran Tarkenton. 72.
Bonus Birthday: Actress Morgan Fairchild. 62.

Today in Sports: 10 years ago today, Tom Brady and the Patriots win their first Super Bowl. They beat the Rams 20-17 in Super bowl XXXVI. 2002.
Bonus Event: Remember the XFL? Their slogan: Football the way it was meant to be played. It debuted on this date and lasted one season. 2001.

Fun fact: The Top 5 was opened yesterday in Zimbabwe, Austria and Taiwan. Still waiting for Russia.

To sign up for Len's free daily Top 5 email click here.