Oakland, California, the fifth-most crime ridden city in America, faced a $32 million budget deficit in fiscal 2011. It closed the gap by shrinking its police force by 18 percent, shedding 138 officers including 80 dismissals.
Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco cashed in on his championship season by signing the richest contract in National Football League history -- a six- year, $120.6 million deal that includes a $29 million signing bonus and $52 million in guaranteed money.
Robert Griffin III, Russell Wilson and Andrew Luck set rookie-quarterback records all season, exceeding expectations. Now they will get their first taste of the playoffs, with two of their teams going head-to-head in the opening round.