12/07/2012 11:23 am ET Updated Feb 06, 2013

Top 5 Sports Stories


TGIF everyone here's my Top 5 for December 7, 2012 from Len Berman at

1. Quick Hits

  • NHL optimism? Never mind.
  • Thursday night football: Make it eight straight wins for Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos as they beat Oakland 26-13.
  • According to the San Diego Union-Tribune the Chargers will fire coach Norv Turner and general manager A.J. Smith after the season. Chargers ownership calls it "pure speculation."
  • No Carmelo? No Amar'e? No problem. The Knicks drub Miami 112-92.

2. Political Football

Finally they're talking about important stuff on the floor of the Senate. Majority Leader Harry Reid in one fell swoop took shots at the Washington Post sports section as well as the New York Times, and then he compared the Republican Party to the New York Jets with their three quarterbacks. He said the Republicans don't have anybody to run the show, just like the Jets. Of course Jets owner Woody Johnson backed Mitt Romney. Political payback?

3. Just for Kicks

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has thought about eliminating kickoffs. He told Time that here's what he might like to do. The kicking team would get the ball on its own 30, basically a fourth down and 15. They could go for it or punt. Yes, that's safer but it would radically change the game eliminating a potentially exciting play. And it would also radically change the commercial landscape. "This fourth and 15 is brought to you by Geico... 15 minutes..." Now it's your turn to come up with some new wacky NFL rules. How about five downs? You can never have enough offense.

4. Friday eMailbag

With the Jets quarterback issues, C.A. writes, "The old adage is that 'If you have two starting quarterbacks, you have no quarterbacks.' So what does the mean for the New York Jets who claim three starting quarterbacks?"

Baltimore's Ed Reed complained that the NFL is turning into a "powder puff" league in an attempt to cut down on injuries. G.L. writes, "There's an apropos line in Don Quixote that goes something like, 'Whether the stone hits the bird or the bird hits the stone, it's going to be bad for the bird.' Doesn't Ed Reed realize that when he's knocking an offensive player into next week with a helmet-to-helmet hit, his bell is being rung, as well? The attempts at safety are designed to protect all players, not just the offensive ones."

When I raised the possibility that the Yankees might not make the playoffs this season, D.H. wrote, "You gotta wonder if this is 1965-66 right now? The old Yankee heroes of the 50's and early 60's were dropping off."

And P.K. wrote, "Now with the Steinbrenner boy geniuses cutting the payroll, the golden days are surely over. When the Yankees contacted me about re-upping my partial season tickets, I told them I had no interest in spending big money on a team that resembles the Pittsburgh Pirates."

5. Spanning the World

This week's Spanning the World highlight comes from halftime of a Gonzaga basketball game. A fan tries his hand at a half court shot for fame and fortune. Was it the worst shot ever? You be the judge.

Spanning the World airs monthly on NBC's Today Show. Next up: Friday, December 28.

Happy Birthday: NBA great Larry Bird. 56.

Bonus Birthday: Baseball great Johnny Bench. 65.

Today in Sports: The Red Sox acquire the contract of 19-year old Ted Williams 1937.

Bonus Event: A date that will live in infamy. The Japanese attack Pearl Harbor. 1941.

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