Top 5 Sports Stories

Happy Thursday everyone, here's my Top 5 for January 24, 2013 from Len Berman at

1. Quick Hits

  • Victoria Azarenka and Li Na reach the Australian Open women's final.
  • Patriots quarterback Tom Brady was fined $10,000 for his "kick-slide" last Sunday against Baltimore.
  • Maybe nobody should be #1 this season in college basketball. Top rated Duke is routed by Miami 90-63.
  • Golfer Phil Mickelson again said he shouldn't have brought up his tax issues. He said, "I think that it was insensitive to talk about it publicly to those people who are not able to find a job, that are struggling paycheck to paycheck."
  • Winning isn't everything. The Knicks haven't won a title in 40 years but Forbes ranks them as the most valuable NBA franchise at $1.1 billion.
  • Let's go Pelicans! The NBA New Orleans Hornets will change its name to Pelicans. What's the over/under on the first headline during a losing streak that reads "Pelican'ts?"

2. Junior Seau

Junior Seau was a great NFL linebacker who committed suicide last year at the age of 43. And now his family is suing the NFL for hiding the dangers of repeat blows to the head. The suit alleges that Seau committed suicide because of brain disease caused by all the violent hits during his football career. And the suit takes it one step further, accusing NFL films of creating a myth that all the nasty hits are "a badge of courage which does not seriously threaten one's health." I understand if you take the position that players know they are not playing tiddlywinks, but I also understand if suits like this one have parents everywhere rethinking their kids' participation in contact sports.

3. The Last Stand?

Sunday's Pro Bowl in Hawaii could be the last one played. The league is going to check out the amount of effort the players put in before making their final decision. I'm the first to say that the Pro Bowl is probably the worst all-star game when it comes to actually resembling the sport (hockey with its lack of hitting is a close second). But on a cold February day it's not half bad to watch players being honored in Hawaii for the years that they had. By the way, I saw where the AFC is favored by one point. Really? I'm not surprised by the spread. I'm surprised they even have a spread and that some people are dopey enough to bet. Actually, I'm not.

4. Down Goes Frazier!

Tuesday was the 40th anniversary of Howard Cosell's classic call, "Down goes Frazier, down goes Frazier." I asked on Facebook at "Len Berman's Top 5,"Where does it rank in your Top 10 of announcer calls?

*T.P. 3, behind: "Do you believe in miracles?" And: "The Giants win the pennant!" but ahead of: "Havlicek stole the ball!" and "I don't believe what I just saw."

*D.A. I would add "wide right!" for Scott Norwood's kick (Super Bowl XXV).

*J.G. "It gets by Buckner!"

*K.I. Love it! We say it every time we see a spectacular wipeout on the ski hill!

*M.A. We use Cosell's call all the time in our house -- the last two years, there's been a lot of "down goes Sanchise" every time the Jets let Sanchez get sacked!

5. Punch Lines

In advance of today's TV interview with Katie Couric, there's been no shortage of Monti Te'o jokes in cyberspace. Here's one for your viewing pleasure form Orlando Sentinel writer Mike Bianchi. "Now we know who was sitting in Clint Eastwood's empty chair: It was Manti Te'o's girlfriend."

Happy Birthday: Gymnast Mary Lou Retton. 45.

Bonus Birthday: Singer Neil Diamond. 72.

Today in Sports: Jackie Robinson is the first black player elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame. 1962.

Bonus Event: Yum! Christian K. Nelson patented the Eskimo Pie. 1922.

It's time to go Spanning the World on the Today Show tomorrow morning in the 8:30 a.m. half hour. And nobody got hurt!