Top 5 Sports Stories

TGIF everyone, here's my Top 5 for February 4, 2011 from Len Berman at

1. Quick Hits

* 38-year old Andy Pettitte is announcing his retirement today from the Yankees.
* Let's get ready to rumble. Both sides have asked that the Madoff trustee suit against the Wilpons be unsealed. Now the case will first be tried in public.
* Kickoff for Super Bowl XLV Sunday is 6:30pm Eastern.
* Say it ain't so. This will be the first Super Bowl without cheerleaders since Super Bowl II.
* The gift that keeps on taking. The Knicks have been fined $200,000 by the NBA for conducting illegal workouts of college prospects. The scout in question was hired by Isiah Thomas.

2. Dandy Andy

The first of the Yankees "core four," Andy Pettitte, is retiring. That leaves Jorge Posada (his catching days are fading), Derek Jeter (will he continue at shortstop?) and Mariano Rivera (like Ol' Man River he keeps on rolling along) as the 3 remaining musketeers. Pettitte was clutch. The Yankees screwed up by letting him go to Houston before reacquiring him. He was also Teflon. He admitted to HGH use, and nobody seems to care. A lesson indeed for the deniers like Clemens. Pettitte was key to the Yankee rebirth in the 90s, and he leaves a big hole in the Yankees rotation today. It's not the end of an era. Just the beginning of the end.

3. Pick a Winner

Picking a Super Bowl winner is about as accurate at throwing darts. Just look at the last three games. The Giants only won because a kid who is now out of football made a circus catch off his helmet. Two years ago, a last second touchdown enabled Pittsburgh to survive against Arizona. And last year, New Orleans rode a second-half onside kick to a big upset of Indianapolis. Sure Green Bay is the hot team with the hot quarterback. But I'll go with Super Bowl experience in a defensive struggle. 17-13 Steelers. Feel free to razz me Monday when the Packers win.

4. Friday eMailbag

One subscriber throws some cold water on the Gil Meche story. He turned down $12 million to pitch for Kansas City because he's injured, and has decided to retire instead of collecting paychecks for doing nothing. G.A. writes, "You think he's going to now be relegated to working at the corner liquor store? The guy had some fun, took his money ($50 million during his career) and now goes to the beach. Hero? Not."

When I said that anyone who bets on the Pro Bowl or the NHL All Star Game should call Gamblers Anonymous, G.A. member S.T. wrote: "One thing you can be sure of is whoever wins Sunday, we (in G.A.) will probably see some new members shortly thereafter."

P.G. added this. "Pro Bowl Shmo Bowl... for my money, the best football last weekend was the double header semifinals of the Lingerie Football League which aired live on VH1. I was glued to my TV."

Editor's Note: I'm proud of the highbrow nature of my Top 5 subscribers.

As for some of the Steelers reportedly going to a strip club when they arrived in Dallas, M.B. writes: "Roethlisberger getting pointers for the naked bootleg?"

5. Spanning The World

This week's Spanning the World highlight comes from the world of French basketball. From what I can gather, a guy blows two free throws. The other team then takes the lead. And finally, the free throw blower becomes the hero!

Take a look.

As for the French announcers? All I can say is Mon Dieu.

Have a Super weekend everyone!

Happy Birthday: Giants Hall of Fame linebacker Lawrence Taylor. 52.
Bonus Birthday: Former Vice President, remember him? Dan Quayle. 64.

Today in Sports: The start of an amazing career. 33-year old John Madden is named coach of the Oakland Raiders. 1969.
Bonus Event: Jackie Robinson is named the first black executive of a major TV station (New York's WNBC.) 1952.

To order a "Len Berman's Thats Sports Hat," click here.

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