BY LEN BERMAN
TOP 5 FOR DEC. 3, 2012
1. Quick Hits
The Kansas City Chiefs broke an 8 game losing streak by beating Carolina 27-21 a day after linebacker Jovan Belcher murdered his girlfriend and then committed suicide in front of his coach and general manager.
New England clinched the AFC East yesterday, a record 10th for quarterback Tom Brady. Denver clinched the AFC West and Atlanta clinched the NFC South. Houston also clinched a playoff spot.
It'll be Alabama vs. Notre Dame for the BCS Championship after Alabama beat Georgia 32-28 in a thriller.
Long-time college basketball coach Rick Majerus has died at the age of 64 of heart failure. He led Utah to the 1998 NCAA Championship game.
The baseball winter meetings begin today in Nashville.
2. Quarterback Controversy
It's the most fun you can have as a fan: a quarterback controversy. Just ask the 49ers. Alex Smith lost his job to Colin Kaepernick because of a concussion. But now that Kaepernick made some crucial mistakes in their loss to the Rams yesterday, what now? And what now for the Jets? Mark Sanchez was awful against the lowly Cardinals yesterday, so Rex Ryan made a bold move and inserted rookie Greg McElroy who lo and behold actually found the end zone with a pass. Here's the juicy part. What if Tim Tebow weren't injured, would he have replaced Sanchez yesterday? And what in the world do the Jets do now for a quarterback, not only this season, but going forward? Let the fun begin.
3. Not so Fine
NBA Commissioner David Stern fined the San Antonio Spurs $250,000 for sending four players home to rest in advance of their game against Miami. Stern called it "Contrary to the best interests of the N.B.A." This is a tricky one. Doesn't a coach have the right to rest players? Maybe they should have been a little more subtle about it, after all this isn't a spring training baseball game or an exhibition NFL game where fans have little expectation of who might play. Brian Schmitz, writing in the Orlando Sentinel, had this take. "This just in: The Rolling Stones announced they are holding out Mick Jagger, Keith Richards and Ron Wood for next Saturday's concert at Barclays Center in Brooklyn. They're old and tired, and have been on the road forever."
4. Lotto Fever
Maybe you heard by now that the Missouri winner in Powerball had the numbers of great Kansas City Royals players: 5, (George Brett), 6 (Willie Wilson), 16 (Bo Jackson), 22 (Dennis Leonard), 23 (Mark Gubizca) and 29 (Dan Quisenberry). It turns out that the winner, although a Royals fan, used Quick Pick, which chooses the numbers randomly. Yankees fans have been tortured trying to figure out which 6 of the 15 retired Yankees numbers to choose in the next lottery. Then again, the Royals lottery theory would have been a lot stronger if the winner had picked #20, Frank White. White and Brett are the only players who have had their numbers retired by the Royals.
5. Call It
The Carolina Panthers haven't won a coin toss all season, 11 before games 1 before overtime. So they turned to their fans. They voted on Facebook, and they voted that the Panthers should call heads. So before yesterday's game in Kansas City the Panthers called heads. They're now 0-13 in coin tosses. Any other ideas?
*** *** ***
Happy Birthday: If you wanted to win big car races, you might have considered being born today. 3-time Daytona 500 winner Bobby Allison. 75. 4-time Indy 500 winner Rick Mears. 61.
Bonus Birthday: Ozzy Osbourne, who performed a classic version of Take Me Out of the Ballgame at Wrigley Field in 2003. 64.
Today in Sports: More offense! Major League Baseball lowers the pitcher's mound from 15" to 10" to give hitters a fightin' chance. 1968.
Bonus Event: Dr. Christiaan Barnard performed the first artificial heart transplant. 1967.
*** *** ***
I'll be on with Scott and Todd at 6:50 am tomorrow morning on WPLJ 95.5 in New York City to talk about my new book. If you're out of the area you can listen here. (http://player.streamtheworld.com/_players/citadel/?sid=844&nid=2920&utm_source=Len+Berman+Sports+List&utm_campaign=d2a45a2cb2-LensTopFive_12031212_3_2012&utm_medium=email)
Looking for a holiday gift for that young sports fan in your life? If you'd like to purchase a personally autographed copy of my new book The Greatest Moments in Sports: Upsets and Underdogs, please contact the Dolphin Bookshop in Port Washington, New York at (516) 767-2650.
*** *** ***
To receive Len's free Top-5 email go to www.ThatsSports.com.
*** *** ***
About Len Berman:
Len is an Emmy-Award winning sportscaster and New York Times Best Selling Author who has covered just about every major sports event including multiple Super Bowls, World Series, and Olympics during his 40-year career in broadcasting.
He is the creator of “Spanning the World,” a monthly collection of sports bloopers, which was a 20-year staple on NBC’s Today Show.
He is the recipient of eight Emmy Awards and 6-time winner of New York Sportscaster of the Year.