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New Year to bring new excitement

WORTHINGTON -- As a young adult, my Christmas season is changing.

Toys and games used to await a younger version of me on Christmas morn, as the tradition of leaving milk and cookies for Santa was still alive and well.

This year, there were no cookies or milk. There were no toys awaiting an eager young child.

This year, new dishes for my apartment, a vacuum and other grown up gifts were neatly wrapped under the tree.

However, change is inevitable and does not necessarily mean for the worse.

I can honestly say I was thrilled to open up new drinking glasses to replace the mold-covered plastic cups that currently infest my kitchen. The vacuum is a necessity and will be something that will be used the whole year.

But, like my Christmas experience, the sports scene is also changing.

Even though rookie Adrian Peterson was a gift to the Vikings, the boys in purple did not make the playoffs once again this season.

However, after many people predicted Minnesota wouldn't win five games this season, an 8-8 finish is nothing to scoff at.

As the New Year begins, one storyline to watch is the quarterback position. With many young arms ripe for the picking in a trade, I wouldn't be surprised if Tarvaris Jackson is not the starting quarterback to start next season.

Perhaps Derek Anderson, the quarterback who led the Cleveland Browns to a 10-win season, would be a good fit. He has seemingly become available, and with a draft pick or two, he could easily make Minnesota his home for the next season.

It seems the Twins' gift thus far in the off-season has been their ability to hold on to Johan Santana.

With trade rumors flying heavily for a period of time, Santana is still a Twin for the time being.

However, as the calendar turns, I could see the Twins unload Santana to the highest bidder as soon as the trade deadline approaches.

The Red Sox and Yankees seem to be the frontrunners, but perhaps to see another team or two throw their hats in the ring for a late-season push.

But I think the biggest story line that has yet to play out is the story of the 2007 New England Patriots.

As my generation wasn't around during the glory days of the '72 Dolphins, we have found our history.

A perfect 16-0 record is unbelievable. For a team to make it all the way through the regular season without losing a game is, in my opinion, the greatest feat a team can achieve.

Their wins weren't always pretty, and teams didn't gift wrap their perfect season. After fearing that I would not be able to watch history in the making Saturday night, I was able to choose from four different stations to watch the Giants give their all. But, just like every other team before, New York couldn't find the magic to defeat the Pats.

Having made my case that as far as team achievements go, this is tops, I think the record will lose its luster if Tom Brady isn't holding the Lombardi Trophy Feb. 3 in Glendale, Ariz.

What made the '72 Dolphins great wasn't just that they made it through the regular season without a loss, but they were able to close out the playoffs as well.

Upsets happen every day, and in the changing world of sports, the Patriots have an even bigger target on their backs with each passing week.

While the Christmas season passes and the New Year begins, the sporting world is still ripe with anticipation.

As the BCS bowl games play out, teams march to the Super Bowl, and we grow ever closer to March Madness, all a sports fan needs is some milk (in a glass that isn't moldy) and cookies to make Christmas each and every day.