Chat with Michael Wilbon
Welcome to SportsNation! On Monday, ESPN's Michael Wilbon stops by to chat and share his thoughts on the sports world.
Wilbon, a longtime Washington Post sports columnist, is co-host of ESPN's Pardon the Interruption, the popular weekday sports debate and discussion program, as well as an NBA studio analyst for both ESPN and ABC, in addition to writing for ESPNChicago.com. A pioneer in sports journalism, Wilbon was one of the first sports writers to broaden his success beyond newspapers to include television, radio and other media.
Send your questions now and join Wilbon Monday at 1:30 p.m. ET!
Buzzmaster (11:08 AM)
Hey everyone, Mike's traveling today, so he'll probably not be able to join us until aroudn 1:30 p.m. ET.
Brian (New Orleans)
Is it too early to hear your NBA predictions?
mike wilbon (1:21 PM)
YESSSSS! It's too early...There's a really good NFL season underway, a terrific baseball post-season underway, an improving college football season in full swing...I promised, I haven't thought about the NBA season...(Shhhhh...Miami, Lakers, OKC...It's a three-team season, that's it, that's the list.!)Hi everybody, we'll jump right into all three of those, hopefully...NOT the NBA, but the NFL, MLB Playoffs and college football...
Brian (New Orleans)
It seems that you and TK have reduced the frequency of the role play, good cop / bad cop, etc. segements and replaced them with just more headlines. I love you two in those segments and hope they are included more often.
mike wilbon (1:23 PM)
You're right with that observation, but there's a logistical reason for it: When I'm in Los Angeles during the NBA season we can't do those because we're in different studios...gotta be in the same place and my NBA duties take me away on a lot of Wednesdays...Not sure how much that's going to happen this winter...Tony, particularly, loves dress-up games (Hmmmmm!) I could do without Good Cop/Bad Cop but people seem to really like it, so I shut my mouth and go along!
Steve (Herndon, VA)
Mr. Mike: I was hoping the Oct 20th game between my Huskers and your Wildcats would be for the B1G lead, but after this weekend, all I can hope is Nebraska holds Northwestern under 40, and scores 40 itself. Nebraska's offense is pretty solid, but the defense isn't there.
mike wilbon (1:26 PM)
Yeah, I was hoping for the same thing...Northwestern certainly has a shot to beat Minnesota this week...thing is, we need to score 40 every week...When we took a 28-17 lead (I think that was the score) over Penn State into the fourth quarter I told my brother, also an NU alumn, I thought we had to score at least one more touchdown to win the game...Giving up that touchdown on 4th down and then the 2-point conversion was just the killer...Ohio State is the best team in the Big Ten this year, but they're not eligible for the post-season...The rest of the conference isn't very good this season, but it's sure exciting...Look at these scores!
Nats town USA (Washington DC)
Have mortgaged your house to buy some Nats Division Winner apparel yet? God Bless capitalism!
mike wilbon (1:28 PM)
I thought the most impressive win this weekend in the MLB playoffs was Nationals going to St. Louis and coming back late to beat the defending champs...Very impressive...especially since they didn't get a great outing from G.G. who couldn't seem to find the plate...St. Louis is going to be hell-bent on evening the series, but even so I think the Nationals have created quite an advantage for themselves coming home...I think St. Louis is the most dangerous team in the post-season field, in that if they get rolling they'll be tough to stop...of course, the Nationals could make that a moot point.
mike wilbon (1:30 PM)
I think picking Houston is fairly easy, but what I'm looking to see is how good Houston is. I'm not sure the Jets are a supreme test. In fact, a really weak schedule is what keeps me leaning to ranking the 49ers as the NFL's #1 team even though they've lost and Houston has not, so far. Houston is a franchise, never having proven itself in the playoffs, that I need to see prove it along the way...That's just me.
Ben (Conover, WI)
What did you think of the Jaguars new black jerseys?
mike wilbon (1:31 PM)
They were okay...not as good as the blue-green ones...I think it's just too easy for teams to go to black...the cynic in me thinks all these "third jerseys" are just ways to create another revenue stream...
Tedy and and Mike are too much of a homer so I ask you instead. Do you think it's a big problem that the Patriot offense can score alot early in the games, but then cool off/choke in the 4th quarter? It goes way to that infamous 4th and 2 to the SB last year. You can even add the AFC game against Baltimore last year and the game last night where New England won, only because of some miracle play on D. Now I know why they like to run the score
mike wilbon (1:34 PM)
Great question...Personally, I'd just run up the score. I wouldn't care in the professional ranks if another team was mad. You don't want me to score? Stop me. I'd keep playing...I thought that was part of the appeal of that 2007 Patriots team...Now, to be fair, when they Patriots needed to keep the ball moving late yesterday so that Payton wouldn't get again in the final two minutes (after the Willis McGahee fumble) they were fine...But I get your drift; before that when they gear it down they seem to lose some effectiveness if they have to come back and make a pressure play on offense late...I'd keep playing and risk the wrath of the other teams if I ran it up. Too bad.
Would a Commissioner Wilbon allow this MLB playoff format? When the better record team sweeps, there is only 1 home game. The better record owner probably wants 3 home playoff games to rake in more $$$$
mike wilbon (1:37 PM)
No. I wouldn't allow it...and to be honest I hadn't even thought about the money part of the equation, which I'm CERTAIN the owners have. Remember, this was thrown together rather quickly, and I'm betting this is one wrinkle that will be eliminated immediately. But no, you HAVE to have the team with the best record start at home. Even if it means 2-2-1, then do it. I will remind you this: in the early and mid 1980s the team with the best record got the first two games at home...then had to play the final 3 on the road. How crazy is that! The Cubs beat the Padres 2 straight in Chicago to open the 1984 NLCS, then lost 3 straight to Steve Garvey and Tony Gwynn and the Padres in San Diego...(Don't say Leon Durham, please don't)...That was bad, too, giving the team with the lesser record MORE home games...They"ll get this straightened out...like the first day of the winter meetings.
Nats Fans with Playoff tickets (Washington DC)
Is everyone in DC allowed to call in sick Wednesday through Friday if we have daytime games? Would you sign a note telling everyone's boss that we have came down with Nats Fever!Forget Columbus Day- make the Wednesday the official Federal Holiday! First home playoff game since 1933!!
mike wilbon (1:39 PM)
You know, that would have been required for the last 120 years...but NOT NOW. You've got i-pads with apps that allow you to watch the game right? Can't you view it on just about any mobile device? Or can you sneak out, if you work in a busy area, to a sports bar? I think people in the work place are REQUIRED to prevail upon their bosses to let them watch...And if that doesn't work, yes, I hope you have sick days!
David Aldridge (D.C.)
Knew RG3 wouldn't make it through five games.
mike wilbon (1:44 PM)
I know...Believe me, this is one prediction David didn't want to be true...And it WASN'T a running play, granted...but it's not just on the Shanahans to keep RG3 out of trouble as much as is reasonably possible...RG3 has to realize discretion is the better part of valor. Look, the Redskins could have won that game against Atlanta yesterday had RG3 been on the field. I believe they would have...But he can't keep absorbing those kinds of shots, whether its improvising and trying to extend a pass play or he's running the option (which should be eliminated)...Hitting CANNOT be eliminated, no matter how much the league tries to protect the QB...but RG3 has to learn very, very quickly that he's built more like Michael Vick and Joe Montana and Steve Young and Joe Theisman than Ben Roethlisberger and John Elway and Andrew Luck and all the QBs who are 6-4, 240 pounds...RG3 is built like a GQ model...I hope he's okay. I hope this isn't serious and he can avoid any more hits like that this season. The Redskins really have something if they can keep him healthy, but yesterday was scary.
Brian (New Orleans)
While I agree that the Shannahans need to protect RGIII more, but the play he got knocked out of seemed to be more of his doing by trying to pick up an extra yard or two during a roll out pass play (not a designed run). Your thoughts on RGIII needing to protect his own body?
mike wilbon (1:46 PM)
Again, you're 100 percent right...I just think he and the Shanahans are going to have to figure this out and somebody in that organization is going to have to be vigilant when it comes to RG3s healthy. He's literally the franchise player. So, if somebody getting in his face is what it's going to take, so be it.
Thoughts on the D-Rose comeback ad campaign? Talk about powerful stuff! How can anybody not root for this guy?
mike wilbon (1:47 PM)
It's pretty moving, isn't it? I just hope he doesn't rush it (see Gilbert Arenas) and suffer greater damage...
Paul (Portland, OR)
Mike, what is this Kansas City fan cheering of Cassel's injury? Good god, you expect it from Philly fans, but they were booing an opposition player (Michael Irvin in a neck brace... and still wrong to do)... but Kansas City? I know you're frustrated with Cassel and your team, but as the guys say on Monday night, C'MON MAN!
mike wilbon (1:48 PM)
Very well said. It was classless and crass and I just do not associate that behavior with Kansas City. The Chiefs mean so much to that community...When I first heard the reports I thought they were mistaken. Very sad, very ugly. It's inexcusable.
Were you aware that fly balls in medium LF could still be subject to the infield fly rule? Unreal.
mike wilbon (1:49 PM)
no. and there were no replacement officials making the ball. It was a bad call, period. I'm NOT going to make the case that it cost them the game...but it was a bad call, the wrong call. Bases loaded and one out could really set up a big inning, too.
Jim Clark (Long Island, NY)
Does playing a Thursday game with only three days off to recuperate threaten an NFL player's health? Does anyone care if they have health problems in the future?
mike wilbon (1:51 PM)
YEEEEEEES it threatens a player's health. I've had guys tell me this year that they have trouble just moving around in their homes on Monday and into Tuesday morning...Three days is NOT enough time to recuperate. There should be no Thursday games, none. Again, the NFL has placed a greater premium on developing a new revenue stream than player safety. There's NO need to have players risking themselves on Thursday nights in an industry already at $9.3 billion...
I was at Arrowhead yesterday and not to make excuses for KC fans, nobody should ever cheer an injury and there were some around me that cheered, but the majority of the cheers came when Brady Quinn came onto the field. I know it looks bad in the national media especially with Winston's comments, but the people cheering the injury were in the minority yesterday.
mike wilbon (1:52 PM)
I wasn't there and couldn't see it when it happened on television...so I can only hope these are the circumstances which would explain what others thought they heard...I hope you're right, and this was certainly worth mentioning. thanks for this.
The Bears defense is awesome. Can it keep scoring 14 points every week?
mike wilbon (1:55 PM)
No. This is a stretch that's never happened before...okay, it last happened in the early 1950s, so 60 years ago...The Bears defense has been doing this the entire Lovie Smith tenure, so he deserves some credit...And that defense, built around four guys over 30 (Urlacher, Peppers, Briggs and Peanut Tillman) is great. They're know they're not spring chickens, know they've lost a stop, and seem to revel in knowing how to be in position faster, in knowing they can tackle better. It's a thrill to watch it...Those defensive touchdowns take pressure off the offense; Jay Cutler said it last night...The Bears are, I think 19-2 during the Lovie Smith era when scoring a touchdown on defense. That's extraordinary.
Big Bill (NY via Arkansas)
Wilbun, you should never apologize if what you say is the truth. You go dude
mike wilbon (1:59 PM)
For those of you not paying attention to the flap I caused in D.C., well, I caused a flap...a big one...in ESPN The Magazine, no less...I would never say that Washington, D.C. (my adopted home town since 1980 when I arrived here from my hometown, Chicago) is the best sports town in the country because it isn't...York York, Boston, Philly, Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles, the Bay Area are all places where sports mean more to the metropolis than Washington...But I went stupidly far and used the world "last" and "terrible" to describe it, and that was just both wrong and stupid and I certainly don't BELIEVE that...just running my mouth with Kornhesier and talking trash and I was quoted, accurately, as using those words...So, I offended a ton of people in and from greater D.C. which I understand, and for which I apologize...It was dumb and regrettable...(cont'd)
mike wilbon (2:04 PM)
Subsequently, because they ripped me, I got into it with two colleagues, Dan Steinberg of The Washington Post (my employer of 31 years) and Bram Weinstein of ESPN...That was the least of it, actually, because we've all communicated multiple times, and nobody's angry with the other...These dust-ups used to be between just the people throwing powder-puff punches in print...but no more. Now the radio listeners and bloggers go into a feeding frenzy. Hey, I can take the heat. I brought it on myself...never should have used the words "last" or "terrible" especially at a time when D.C.'s sports scene is probably better than at any time in the last 30 years, what with RG3s arrival, the Nationals bringing postseason baseball to D.C. for the first time in 70-whatever years, and even John Wall being in town...It's increasingly exciting here...(Personally, for me it's the Nationals and Wizards games I attend with my son, as a fan not a writer anymore)...so again, it was stupid and dumb to say and I guess I have to live with being Public Enemy #1 for awhile...But thanks to the people who've said kind and supportive things...
Adam (Los Angeles, CA)
The best rookie QB in the NFL is ______________.
mike wilbon (2:04 PM)
Great question...I think RG3 and Andrew Luck are in a dead heat, don't you?
Wake us when the Bears beat a good team. Jags, Rams, Colts? Not impressed.
mike wilbon (2:06 PM)
In Dallas? No. Weren't you one of the people slurping the Cowboys like most of my national media colleagues when the season began? Don't worry, the Bears have the 49ers in S.F. and Houston at home in back=to=back weeks I think. That'll tell us how good they are, as well as 2 games vs. the surprising Vikings, 2 vs the so far disappointing Lions and one vs. the Packers in Chicago...There are plenty of changes to find out how good the Bears are.
Here's a Thursday night football idea/solution. Each team in the NFL plays one Thursday night game per season (except the 2 teams that open the season; they'll play twice). Then have one or 2 games every Thursday night between teams that are coming off a bye week (over the course of weeks 4 to 10 or 11). It shouldn't be too difficult to work out the schedule that way, and the only downside is it may take away a couple of off days for the players during their bye week, but I think it would work a lot better than the current format.
mike wilbon (2:06 PM)
You propose something totally reasonable, using the bye weeks, and I don't understand why the league didn't go that route already!
James (Santa Clara, Ca)
Do the 49ers have the most complete team in the NFL?
mike wilbon (2:07 PM)
I think so...but I want to see more of Houston and I want to see the Bears v. Houston...I would throw Baltimore in there but I don't trust Flacco in big games...I just don't.
Can the Dolphins make the playoffs? They could easily be 4-1. And probably should be.
mike wilbon (2:08 PM)
Sure, they can make the playoffs. I think Houston is the best team in the AFC, then the Patriots or Ravens but neither is invincible. The Steelers have come back to the pack, and I never ever trust the Chargers...Sure...
So do you think NFL players would be happy giving up a portion of their future salaries in order to eliminate all those Thursday night games? Yeah, I didn't think so.
mike wilbon (2:09 PM)
Why should they have to? The NFL not making enough money already? 9.3 billion.
mike wilbon (2:10 PM)
Okay, I'd better run and prepare for PTI...Kornheiser is growling outside my good...Is it going to be Yankees vs. Tigers and Nationals vs Reds? is that what we're looking at? or do people see comebacks?
Who is your AL MVP, Cabrera or Trout. There is a huge schism between the players/managers and the front office execs/scouts, with the latter arguing sabermetrics and WAR trump everything.
mike wilbon (2:12 PM)
Cabrera and I don't even hear arguments to the contrary...We had Jim Leyland on last week and he talked eloquently about being in the position of trying to build a lineup around the reality of needing to drive in runs...and prevent runs from being driven in against his team to win. And people want to dismiss RBI? I have no time to hear that. None.
mike wilbon (2:12 PM)
Oh, anyway, as I was saying, TK is screaming and the producers are waiting on me...Next week, Monday, at 1...no travel for me next week so we should be ready to go when the bell strikes 1...thanks for chatting everybody...Look forward to it next week...MW