John Berman and Zoraida Sambolin tell you what’s trending on the web this morning, and it’s all in the realm of sports. On today’s list is the basketball shot of the year—happening on the girl's high school court in Lafayette, Indiana.
Sports fans all over the world witnessed an exciting year in 2012. Usain Bolt made Olympic history in London, Johnny Manziel became the youngest college football player to ever win the Heisman trophy, and Lebron James finally won a championship ring. Maggie Gray is an anchor for SI.com, and she comes to the studio to count down Sports Illustrated's top five moments in sports for this year. Take a guess at what made number 1.
For the fourth time in the past ten years, boxers Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez will face each other in the ring. The brawl goes down in history tomorrow night in Las Vegas.
While Pacquiao is a fighter by trade, there are many sides to the Filipino champion. “Early Start” anchor John Berman learned all about them when he spent time in the Pacquiao camp recently, talking to his trainers and the boxer himself.
“Manny Pacquiao has won titles in eight different weight classes,” Berman says. And though it won't be the first time Pacquiao fights Marquez, round four is no less important. “All of have been close, all have been tough victories for Pacquiao.” It's a rivalry practically unmatched in sports.
Pacquiao wants this fight to be a knockout. “I want this fourth fight to be the answer of all the doubts that is in his mind,” Pacquiao says. “His fans, they’re still claiming that they won the fights.”
Pacquiao’s fans don’t doubt him. The fighter dabbles in singing, acting and politics. “Pacquiao is a legend back home in the Philippines,” Berman says. “He was elected to Congress there in 2010.”
“I like politics to serve people,” Pacquiao says. “I know a lot of the people in the Philippines live in poverty, and I want to help them.”
CNN will air the fourth and final installment of HBO's 24/7 Pacquaio-Marquez 4 at midnight on Friday.
Major League Baseball has a lot to celebrate this morning. Detroit’s Miguel Cabrera became the MLB’s first Triple Crown winner in 45 years last night. He completed the season at the top of the American league in batting averages, homers and RBI’s.
Heading to the playoffs, the New York Yankees and the Oakland A’s clinched their respective divisions on the last day of the regular season.
Moving onto football, New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton will attend this Sunday's game against the San Diego Chargers. The game could be a historic one for quarterback Drew Brees, who may break the 52 year old record held by Hall-of-Famer Johnny Unitas with 47 consecutive games with a touchdown pass. The NFL approved a petition by Brees for Payton, assistant coach Joe Vitt and general manager Mickey Loomis who are all suspended for their roles in the alleged bounty scandal.
CNN’s Roland Martin rounds up the best of sports headlines this morning on “Early Start”.
The NFL labor dispute has officially come to an end. The league and the referees came to an eight-year collective bargaining agreement last night, a settlement which came to head after replacements refs made a major error that ended the game wrongly in the Seahawk’s favor. It riled up fans, politicians, and clearly, the NFL, as well. Retired referee Mason “Red” Cashion joins “Early Start” this morning live from Houston, Texas with his take on the debacle and the subsequent settlement.
Cashion is a veteran league official of over 40 years. He’s worked two supervown and currently trains and works with the NFL’s regular referees. Cashion was asked to help train the replacement officials, but refused. He weighs in on the particulars of the new agreement that could be seen as a threat to the job security of the regular refs, such as the clauses allowing the NFL to hire additional officials who could be used to work the games and hire full-time officials in 2013.
“I think that the NFL has always wanted the best quality in everything they do,” he says, “and I believe that what they were really after is something to continue the good program of developing officials.”
Sambolin asks Cashion why he refused to help the train the replacement officials. Cashion explains that a total of nine trainers usually work very closely with the regular officials. “It was our belief that if we worked with the temporary officials that we would not have the same reception when we continued to work with the regular officials,” he answers. “For the benefit of the league, it was best that we not work with the temporary officials,” in the long haul.”
A sigh of relief.
The NFL lockout is officially over. Monday night’s wrong call seems to be the league's last straw and finally compelled the NFL to come to a new eight-year collective agreement with the referees last night. This means the replacement refs are off the field and the regulars are back on when the Baltimore Ravens host the Cleveland Browns tonight. Jason Carroll joins Zoraida Sambolin and Alina Cho on “Early Start” this morning with more on the settlement.
The agreement seemed inevitable after Monday night’s play. “There was definitely a lot of incentive to get back to the table and to get this thing fixed,” with “both sides working late into the night to make sure that they can get a deal that both sides would be happy with,” Carroll reports. While there were compromises on both sides, “I think it’s clear that the refs really got the better end of the deal,” Carroll says. They will keep their pensions and receive a pay bump.
The unprecedented eight-year deal was finally reached after intense pressure from the outside. “It was really the pressure coming in from the fans, from everyone watching NFL, to really get this done,” Carroll says.
It was both a good and bad day for American track and field athletes at the Olympics yesterday. Runner Leo Manzano came from behind to win a silver medal in the men's 1500 meter final, but Lolo Jones faced disappointment when she missed a bronze medal in the 100-meter hurdles by one tenth of a second.
More track and field events are coming up today at the Games, including a shot for the American women to medal in long jump, an event that hasn't been won by an American since 1988.
Jackie Joyner-Kersee was the last American to win gold in the event and she joins Early Start this morning to weigh in on the various competitions on the agenda today.
With just two days until the opening ceremonies for the 2012 summer Olympics in London, more and more details of the big show continue to leak to the public.
CNN's Zain Verjee joins Early Start live from London this morning to share some of the new details and to discuss the various parties being hosted by celebrities in the build up to the Games.
"Early Start with John Berman and Christine Romans" airs weekdays from 5-6am ET on CNN. Check in regularly for news, show updates and a little bit of fun.