Jan 5 Body of US heavyweight Charles "Sonny" Liston (36) found; he had been dead for an estimated 6 days.
- Jan 17 Super Bowl V, Miami Orange Bowl: Baltimore Colts beat Dallas Cowboys, 16-13; MVP: Chuck Howley, Dallas, LB
- Jan 19 NHL Writers' Association renamed Professional Hockey Writers' Association
- Jan 24 21st NFL Pro Bowl, LA Memorial Coliseum: NFC beats AFC, 27-6; MVPs: Fred Carr, Green Bay Packers, LB; Mel Renfro, Dallas Cowboys, CB
- Jan 28 1971 NFL Draft: Jim Plunkett from University of Stanford first pick by New England Patriots
- Jan 30 UCLA starts 88 basketball game win streak
- Jan 31 Special Veterans Committee adds 6 former players and 1 executive to the Baseball Hall of Fame: Dave Bancroft, Jake Beckley, Chick Hafey, Harry Hooper, Joe Kelley, Rube Marquard and George Weiss
- Jan 31 Dave Bancroft & George Weiss elected to baseball Hall of Fame