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Joint Base Andrews Features

NEWS | Jan. 29, 2010

NFL conference championship recaps, NBA trade deadline preview

By Airman 1st Class Patrick McKenna Capital Flyer sports writer

The American Football Conference championship saw the Ney York Jets give the Indianapolis Colts an early scare by jumping out to a 17-6 lead only to lay the proverbial egg and fall apart in the second half. The Jets were the Cinderella story of the 2009 season, and, despite the fact they ran out of gas against the Colts, they have a lot to build on for next season.

In what was supposed to be a rebuilding year with a first year coach and a rookie quarterback, the Jets shocked the league with their big play and their even bigger egos. With young promising players like Mark Sanchez, Shonn Greene, Dustin Keller and a top defense led by the best cornerback in the National Football League, Darrelle Revis, the Jets aren't going away anytime soon.

The National Football Conference championship more than lived up to the immense hype it received leading up to kickoff. In a game featuring the NFC's two most dominant teams, the Minnesota Vikings and New Orleans Saints took the instant classic late into the fourth quarter before Brett Favre went into Mr. Hyde mode and threw a horrible interception when the Vikings were close to field goal territory. That was all the Saints needed as they won the coin toss and never gave Brett Favre a chance at redemption by driving right down the field for a game-winning field goal.

So now that the offseason has officially started for the Vikings, the annual Brett Favre watch begins. Will he suit up for another grinding season? Will he retire on a much better note than last year's meltdown with the Jets? Favre has been quoted as saying a return next season is "highly unlikely," but I assume he'll forgive football fans around the world if we're a tad skeptical. After all, he's coming off what is arguably his best statistical season to date (33 touch downs and 7 interceptions), and will have an incredible stable of young playmakers (Sydney Rice, Percy Harvin, Adrian Peterson) at his disposal next season. Whatever number four decides, hopefully he learned his lesson after last summer's soap opera and will let the Vikings know sooner rather than later so they can plan accordingly. Unlike when he left the Packers, who had Aaron Rodgers waiting in the wings, the Vikings will have to make a deal for a starting quarterback (Donovan McNabb anyone?).

That's enough NFL talk for this column as I'm sure we can all agree we are going to be so inundated with Saints-Colts talk, Archie Manning and Kim Kardashian, we'll be begging for the kickoff and commercials.

As it gets closer and closer to the Feb. 19 National Basketball Association trade deadline, it becomes more apparent that there will be two types of teams making deals. There will be a small minority of teams that actually want to make a deal to help their team win this season. The rest of the teams making deals will be trading personnel with the hopes of creating enough cap space to bid on the heralded 2010 free agent class featuring Lebron James, Chris Bosh, Dwayne Wade, Amare Stoudamire and several other very good players.

Speaking of who might land Lebron James ... while everyone seems to think it's a two team race between the Cavaliers and Knicks, a team to watch closely is the New Jersey Nets, who might have just the package to entice King James.

First off, Lebron is not going to a team that has no shot of competing for a title within a couple years. While the Nets are certainly having a dismal season, they have a couple things that the Cavaliers do not - Brook Lopez, a legitimate post player who has yet to enter his prime; Devin Harris, a young talented point guard who can possibly be dealt for an elite perimeter scorer; a very good chance at the No. 1 pick, Kentucky's John Wall, who experts say is one of the best prospects they have seen in the last 10 years; and, last but not least, a new owner, Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov, who will have zero trouble spending the money necessary to lure other veteran players.

For those that think Lebron has his heart set on playing under the big lights of New York City, did I forget to mention it's almost a sure thing the Nets will be playing in Brooklyn by the 2011-2012 season? It should be an interesting summer.