Top 5 Sports Stories

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, second from right, and deputy commissioner Bill Daly speak to reporters, Thursday, Dec. 6, 201
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, second from right, and deputy commissioner Bill Daly speak to reporters, Thursday, Dec. 6, 2012, in New York. The NHL has rejected the players' latest offer for a labor deal, and negotiations have broken off at least until the weekend. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

Happy Tuesday everyone, here's my Top 5 for December 11, 2012 from Len Berman at

1. Quick Hits

  • Monday Night Football: The New England Patriots thrash the Houston Texans 42-14.
  • Not news: The NHL cancels all games through December 30, but only through December 30. Are they holding out hope for a January start?
  • Back to the future. The seven non-football schools in the Big East could break off and form their own conference. Those schools include Georgetown, Providence, St. John's, Seton Hall and Villanova, five of the original seven in the Big East.

2. Again?

So with the NFL season winding down many experts claim there are no clear-cut Super Bowl favorites, that every team has flaws. Really? After what the Patriots and Giants did this weekend are we heading for yet another Super Bowl rematch, their third meeting in six years? I'm guessing the country doesn't want to see that. They're going gaga over Robert Griffin III in Washington and Andrew Luck in Indianapolis. Not to mention Peyton Manning in Denver and a host of other cities like Atlanta, San Francisco and Green Bay. But when all is said and done will it be the same old same old? Patriots and Giants fans ain't complaining.

3. Gun Control

It was sobering to hear Peter King's report that at least seven NFL players voluntarily turned in their guns after the Jovan Belcher murder/suicide. One player reportedly turned in several guns because he "didn't trust himself." Even more sobering is what Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger had to say. He estimates that "over 75-80 percent" of NFL players own guns. As opposed to a Gallup Poll last year that estimated that 47 percent of all adults own guns. I'll leave it to others to judge why the numbers are what they are. But simple math tells you we haven't seen the last sports gun tragedy.

4. Just for Kicks

Let's continue the "new NFL rules" game. Many of you suggested more points for longer field goals. That prompted many more to find fault with that.

*B.D. Awarding less points to the shortest field goal eradicates the effort the offense took to get the ball to that spot. Something has to be said for the offense here.

*P.G. If I was scaling points for field goals... since the object of the game is to get to the end zone, the closer they get the more the field goal would be worth.

*G.A. The bonus points for field goal distance in the NFL doesn't work. Say a team is down by four points and has the ball on the 20-yard line with time to run one play before kicking. They'll actually run backwards to get into position to kick a field goal of the right amount of points!

Editor's Note: Don't they do that in basketball? Grab a rebound and instead of going back up they run out to the three point arc. And if a team is running backwards to set up a longer field goal, the defense can try to tackle them. Fun times.

5. Game Interruptus

Every so often a story comes along which gives indisputable proof that the sports world is whacked. At first blush it was just another overseas sports riot in Turkey. Fans chanting obscenities and throwing objects at each other. Before long it was a full-scale riot with police using tear gas to break up the unruly mob. There was damage and arrests were made. By the way, it was a wheelchair basketball game. I'm speechless.

Happy Birthday: Three-time Super Bowl champion, former Patriots linebacker Willie McGinest. 41.

Bonus Birthday: Actress Rita Moreno, the first to win an Oscar, Emmy, Tony and Grammy. 81.

Today in Sports: In a seven player deal, the Yankees obtain Roger Maris from Kansas City. 1959.

Bonus Event: Happy days are here again. Nitrous oxide is used in dentistry for the first time. 1844.

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