09/27/2012 12:38 pm ET Updated Nov 27, 2012

Top 5 Sports Stories

Happy Thursday everyone, here's my Top 5 for September 27, 2012 from Len Berman at

1. Quick Hits

  • The long national nightmare is over, the NFL officials lockout has ended. NFL officials will return tonight for the Browns/Ravens game.
  • Patriots coach Bill Belichick was fined $50,000 for grabbing an official.
  • The Detroit Tigers take over first place in the AL Central for the first time since July 23.
  • The Ryder Cup begins tomorrow in Medinah, Illinois.

2. Rubber Stamp

Were you surprised that the NFL defended what happened in Seattle Monday night? Let's recap. The owners locked out the officials, the officials totally screwed up a game and the league announced that they got it right and the game is final. You've heard of someone being a judge and jury. How about judge, jury and delusional? At least Monday's fiasco forced a settlement, and now fans can go back to booing the regular refs. Although they'll probably get cheered when they walk on the field tonight... and then booed.

3. The Never Ending Story

Former Dodgers reliever Eric Gagne says in his new book that he took HGH. He won the Cy Young Award in 2003 and hasn't pitched since 2008. This isn't news, he's admitted it before. The headline is that he claims 80 percent of the Dodgers were using performance enhancing drugs. It wasn't enough that his reputation was already shot to hell, he now has to take down all, or most, of his teammates.

4. The Replacements

After the Packers got jobbed Monday night, a Green Bay TV station made a great point with their "Replacement Weather Guy." Good stuff.

5. Shannon Forde

Shannon Forde is one of those behind the scenes people in sports who makes my job so enjoyable. She works in media relations for the Mets and is most accommodating to all who seek her help. And now it's our chance to return the favor. Shannon has been dealt a lousy hand, cancer. She has two lovely children and as you can imagine caring for them has become more difficult. A website has been set up to help her out. Please take a moment to check it out. And get well soon, Shannon.

Happy Birthday: Phillies Hall of Fame third baseman Mike Schmidt. 63.

Bonus Birthday: Oscar winning actress Gwyneth Paltrow. 40.

Today in Sports: Mark McGwire hit is 69th and 70th homers to set a new single season home run record. 1998*

Bonus Event: Google it. Something new you can do. 1998.

Another schedule change. Spanning the World will now air tomorrow on the Today Show at 8:50 a.m.