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 p.m. ET!
mike wilbon (1:01 PM)
Hello everybody! I don't know that there could be a more eventful week than the one we just finished...Let's jump right in, and look ahead a bit , too, at everything and anything...
Martin (New York, NY)
After yesterday's demolition of the Niners, are the New York football Giants the team to beat in the NFC?
mike wilbon (1:05 PM)
Maybe...It's very possible. I know there were prognosticators, legit guys, who had the Giants going 8-8 or 7-9 this season, which I never bought. Thing is, they LIVE for the big games, like yesterday's...I think it's Giants, Bears, 49ers, Falcons to win the division (which isn't any different than the start of the season) with the Packers as the No. 1 wild card team...My second wild-card team was going to come from Carolina-Arizona-Lions but that may have to change. Really, really unforgivably bad loss for the Cardinals at home to Buffalo yesterday...That second wild-card team looks today like Seattle...Arizona still in there...Tampa showing signs...But yeah, the Giants are the champs and they haven't lost anything off last season...I wanna see what Bears do in back-to-back games against Houston (in Chicago) and the 49ers (in San Francisco)...
If You're Jim Leyland to you ditch Velverde for the rest of the postseason?
mike wilbon (1:07 PM)
Not up 2-0 and going home. I know he struggled mightily, was road-kill for one game against the As...But isn't he still Leyland's best option at closer? If you can get him back on track--and Leyland understands how to walk the fine line between patience and adjustment as well as any manager in the game today--at home and then for the World Series, it would seem to be worth the risk. Closers ain't falling out of the trees...
Does the packer performance lastnight on the road against the texan give you optimism they can right the ship and win the division
mike wilbon (1:11 PM)
That scenario isn't optimism for me; I'm a Bears fan, Sean...That's a nightmare for me...But last night's performance suggests the Packers can be what we thought they were, to borrow a phrase from Denny Green. I guess some folks are surprised, but I'm not. This notion that something was wrong with Aaron Rodgers couldn't have been any dumber. He's the best QB in the game today (yes, at this point better than Brady and Manning)...at the start of the season I picked Bears and Packers in the NFC Championship game, and I'm not about to change that now...Like the Giants, the Packers know how to play big games...The Packers don't need to go 15-1, just get in the playoffs...
Mikey (Overland Park)
Worse collapse - Ryder Cup team at Medinah or the Nationals in game 5?
mike wilbon (1:19 PM)
Ooooooh, great question...Nationals. Up 6-0 at home is a greater lead than up 10-6 on the final day, even though it had been 10-4 with two matches to go on Saturday at the end of team play...The U.S. collapse had to unfold over a period of 4 hours. that 4-run 9th the Cardinals came up with was amazing. Somebody's been tweeting something I said or wrote back in the summer, that I couldn't see the Nationals, without Strasburg, beating the Cardinals...Well, I looked DAMNED wrong after four, five, seven innings. Look, as a lifelong Cub fan I've lived on the wrong end of a rivalry with the Cardinals for 50 years...I hate the Cardinals and admire them as much as any team in sports. They are UNDERRATED, which is insane given they've won more World Series, I think, than any franchise except the Yankees...They don't die, they don't fold up because LaRussa and Pujols leave town. They're professionals of the highest order, and the Nationals left the door open...My dear friend and colleague Tom Boswell, the extraordinary baseball columnist for The Washington Post, wrote going in that experience wasn't going to matter. Boz has forgotten more about baseball this morning than I'll ever know, but he was dead wrong about the Cardinals experience not being critical and I knew that at the time, have always known it. The worst part for the Nationals is the presumption (of fans, not the players) that "next year" is somehow guaranteed. Again, I'm a Cubs fan. I know better. I hope the Nationals get back next year, but how the team handles this collapse will go a long way toward how they finish next season. To go back to your original question, I don't think ANY of the members of the U.S. Ryder Cup team will be affected by that loss to Europe...I DO think every member of the Nationals will be affected in some way, shape or form. Maybe some guys rebound stronger, but that's unlikely to be the case for all of 'em...
Brian (New Orleans)
What matters more to you in college football rankings, style (how many points you beat an opposing team by) or substance (the level of competition / strenght of schedule)?
mike wilbon (1:21 PM)
Substance. Have you seen Florida's schedule? By the end of the season they will have had so few opponents of consequence, even playing in the SEC. They get Vanderbilt (hell, we already beat them) and Kentucky and non-conference teams like Bowling Green and Jacksonville. Please. Go on the road and play somebody, or at least a neutral site, like Alabama does. The Tide plays a real schedule, Florida...not this season.
jon (south carolina)
Do you think Jason garrett is the guy in dallas? for the last couple years he's cost the cowboys games with bad clokc management
mike wilbon (1:23 PM)
He hasn't done anything to suggest he HAS to be the Cowboys coach, long-term. In fact, he's had those gaffes you're referring to, including yesterday's. This is the second time he's had at least one timeout left and wound up trying some desperate play when the timeout should have been used to make it easier...Maybe he's a great coordinator, but nothing he's done yet suggests he's a great head coach.
Ryan (State College)
Was playing RGIII the right move for Washington? He seems to be a franchise guy (small sample size aside) and we all know the dangers from concussions.
mike wilbon (1:27 PM)
You can't argue with the results, can you? The guy is the most electrifying player in the NFL today. I'm sure Indy will tell you they're happy with Luck, but the Redskins have no second thoughts about trading up to get RG3. He can win every game he's in. He can beat the Giants next week. Yes, he can. I'm not saying he will, but he can. He's amazingly accurate throwing the ball. He's a force of nature offensively, smart with his decisions. I do NOT want to see the kid hurt, and I know that anytime you're running as much as he can (and I totally understand the impulse, given how he can dominate the game, change it on any single carry) you are more susceptible to a head injury than others...I was scared for him yesterday, to tell the truth. And I sided with Michael Strahan who said on Mike & Mike the other day he's probably sit RG3 because he'd err on the side of caution, given the kid's the franchise player and given the league's mandate of keeping players as safe as possible. Golic argued, just as persuasively, that if the kid--any player, not just RG3--is cleared by independent doctors, as is required these days, he should play...I sided with Strahan, but it seems Mr. Golic was right on the money. RG3 is the most dynamic player in the league right now, six games into his career. Amazing.
Mac (Charleston WV) [via mobile]
What do you think about the sport of lacrosse? Do you think that it will become a major sport in the future?
mike wilbon (1:33 PM)
major sport? No. But I love lacrosse. LOVE it. My school, Northwestern, has the best coach ever in Kelly Amonte Hiller. She's led her team to--let's hope I've got this right--seven NCAA Championships in eight years. My Goddaughter played for her on two of those championship teams and I got to be parent-like in her high school and college years and I love the game...hope my son will play it...But major sport? What does that mean? That it'll surpass soccer or hockey in America? No, that won't happen. Is it making enormous inroads nationally? Yes. Lacrosse was played primarily in the northeast and mid-Atlantic for decades...But now schools all over the country are loading up to play lacrosse (notably the University of Florida)...Kelly's and her team are probably, having visited the White House several times, the game's greatest Ambassadors...
Brian (New Orleans)
Your thoughts on Scott Fugita's astute response to Goodell on the revised punishment? He basically summed it up perfectly, that Goodell is being hypocritical on issues relating to player safety - holding a strong, yet unreasonable, stance on the bounty scandal in the name of player safety, while advocating for Thursday night games and an 18 game schedule which both adversly affect players' health. He is losing face everyday.
mike wilbon (1:34 PM)
I agree ENTIRELY with Scott. He said it well, and you conveyed those thoughts perfectly. I don't disagree with a single word he said...
Brian (New Orleans)
Your thoughts on the BCS ranking Florida ahead of Oregon?
mike wilbon (1:35 PM)
I don't trust anything attached to the BCS and haven't for years. I see an agenda with everything and wouldn't for one second trust any ranking that has Florida, at this point, ahead of Oregon.
How about those Northwestern Wildcats?
mike wilbon (1:38 PM)
6-1 going into a big grudge match with Nebraska Saturday in Evanston...Very scared...I'm like a coach this week. We beat Nebraska in Lincoln last season and I KNOW the Cornhuskers are raging. Cornhusker Nation has bought up half the tickets in Evanston (though a whole lot of Nebraska people live in Illinois, so it's not a huge road trip for many of them)...I love the way we're playing though. We've got a kid, Venric Mark, who killed Minnesota Saturday with 180-plus yards rushing on only 20 or so carries...He's a threat to go the distance every time he catches the ball...I'm looking for a 48-42 kind of shootout...Really, I am...
lewis (flint michigan)
Hey Mike, I'm a true tiger fan, but that botched call in game 2 stunk to high heaven. Should baseball go to instant replay full time instead of just for certain situations?
mike wilbon (1:40 PM)
at the very least, it should go to replay for certain situations...I was totally with Joe Girardi last night in his post-game remarks...A bad call in a 162-game regular season is one thing, but in a playoff game? The technology exists...I like ques-tec or whatever it's called, and I like TBS' use of it with balls and strikes and HATE that Fox doesn't seem to use it...The home plate umpire in the Nationals-Cardinals Game 5 was proven to be right on 99.9 percent of his balls-strikes calls...I just think if folks at home can see it and your sport doesn't utilize it, you look bad...
Brian (New Orleans)
It seems that this year in the NFL, any team has the ability to overcome their poor start and make a run towards the playoffs. With all the negative talk about the Bills and Jets over the past couple of weeks, both are tied with the Patriots for first place in the AFC East. Thoughts on the parity of the NFL?
mike wilbon (1:42 PM)
This isn't new. We see this pretty much every other year or so, teams coming out of nowhere to challenge royalty. It's part of the allure of the NFL, that every community knows its team has a chance. That's NOT the case in the NBA where teams go a decade, even with high draft position, without having a real chance. The NFL is designed with this kind of parity in mind. The AFC EAST having all four teams at 3-3 right now was Pete Rozelle's dream...thus the nickname "Parity Pete."
Keith H (Seattle)
The BCS has too many letters. Take out the middle one.
mike wilbon (1:42 PM)
I hear you...The playoff system can't arrive soon enough.
How come Notre Dame is 5th in the BCS while being ranked 2nd in the computers?
mike wilbon (1:43 PM)
I'd be fine with Notre Dame 2nd...but not Florida.
Come on Mike... Players want Thursday night games too! More revenue for them to get their hands on via the CBA! Don't act like this is all the big, bad owners idea. The players are getting alot of $$ out of it. So it's totally disingenuous for them to complain.
mike wilbon (1:46 PM)
Are you so naive you think the $$ can replace a knee or stop the ringing in a player's head, or help him get ready for a game on Thursday when he can't get out of bed on Monday and Tuesday? you're talking like some detached whiny fan who simply wants more football, probably to bet on...I see these guys up close, know 'em, often play golf with 'em...and know the physical misery many are in before the age of 50. You're dismissive tone suggests you're completely clueless. So, by the way, are some of the players...But it sickens me that so many, you included obviously, just want more football, damn the cost. And this one, Thursday nights, is completely unnecessary and excessive.
I agree that RGIII is the most electric player in the NFL now but wow Percy Harvin is a close second if not 1B to RGIII's 1A. Dude is terrifying with the ball in his hands.
mike wilbon (1:46 PM)
Thanks for that...You're on the $$$
Rob (San Antonio)
How sad would it be if Ray Lewis' career ends this way? I am a diehard Steeler fan but Ray Lewis is the picture definition for football.
mike wilbon (1:47 PM)
yeah, I'm hoping he'll be able to play in December/January and doesn't have to go out like this. Still waiting for word on his MRI and whatever other exams he's having today...
Have you gotten a chance to look at the 50 Greatest Bears list? Which current players do you think deserve to be on the list?
mike wilbon (1:51 PM)
I haven't seen it yet...Need to take a look at it. It's so easy to get to 50 with the Bears because they've been around for 90 years...Same with the Giants, Packers, Redskins, Eagles, Steelers...I'm trying to think of how many members of the '85 team I would include...Payton/Singletary/Dent/Hampton/Butler/Van Horne/Covert/Hilgenburg/Marshall/McMahon/McMichael/Duerson...Is that too many? Who am I to take off? People will so no McMahon, but isn't he like the second greatest QB in team history? I gotta take a look...
I believe more in statistics than old-timey baseball instincts, but I'd pick Leyland to manage a team for me any day. He looks and sounds the part of a grizzled manager and he's usually right.
mike wilbon (1:52 PM)
And he doesn't turn his dugout over to a computer, you better believe that.
The worst part about finally having a 4 team playoff in college football is we have to live with the BCS for 2 more years.
mike wilbon (1:52 PM)
Amen. It's painful.
Jahvid Best of the Lions hasn't played in a year due to a concussion and past concussions. I've heard of love of the game but this shouldn't even be a discussion. Retire and preserve quality of live. Your thoughts?
mike wilbon (1:53 PM)
They're similar thoughts to yours...and the opposite of the guy who's waving a towel while begging for a Tuesday night football game.
Bill (South Bend, IN)
Did you know the SEC is 4-5 vs other BCS teams this season and the best non-league win is currently Michigan? Explain why I need to see 4 SEC teams in the top 7?
mike wilbon (1:54 PM)
You don't. that's why i said everything attached to the BCS carries an agenda, one I don't trust.
Tone it down guy. I couldn't care less if they have Thursday Nite FB. But for the players it's about money... you are the naive one. Heyward Bey was just asked if that wicked head shot he took changes anything for him. He said no, it's part of the game and all players understand the risks. I think he speaks for most guys. Not you.
mike wilbon (1:55 PM)
Do you realize that owners make a lot more money off any damn game or series of games than players. Are you that naive? Your agenda is showing. Quiet, please. They ALL make money...But if players make all the money how did the NFL become a $9.3 billion business. Really, stop.
Is this season something of a lost year for the Bulls? Would you agree that their next "Championship window" might be when Mirotic comes over from Europe? Hey, I hope I'm wrong!
mike wilbon (1:59 PM)
I know, I know...I hope you're wrong, too. But you're not. This is something of a lost season for the Bulls. It's a season where management has to get all the ducks in-a-row to be ready in 2013-14 when D. Rose comes back, hopefully healthy. It's going to still take him a second season (he'll only be 26, even then) but with good salary cap management and Mirotic and that pick that belongs to Charlotte the Bulls will have assets (money, high picks, players)...and I will admit to sneaking a peek at Mirotic every now and then...Kid has some game, doesn't he?...The bigger point here is Bulls fans will have to adjust their expectations this season and find some not-so-obvious elements of the season, like improvement from Jimmy Butler, to study and enjoy...
You think the Yankees regret trading Austin Jackson and Phil Coke?
mike wilbon (2:01 PM)
When you have injuries to two of the 10 greatest players in your franchise's history--and especially when you have the most successful franchise in American sports--yet you regret a whole lot of stuff because you're searching for contributions. The injury to D. Jeter is unspeakable. I'm captain of the Jeter Groupie Club. He's one of the 10 Greatest Yankees, to be sure...So is Mariano Rivera, also injured...The yankees also have to be regretting that nobody in pin stripes can hit a baseball right now. It's down to one game. Sabbathia v. Verlander...Can't wait to see that. But it's hard to see the Yankees coming back now to beat Detroit...
Keith (Enfield CT)
What do you think of all the booing and empty seats at Yankee Stadium? Spoiled fans, justified anger? The amount of negativity has been unbelievable
mike wilbon (2:03 PM)
Yeah, I just heard about The Stadium not being full....that's inexcusable...given the way that team fought to beat the Orioles...What is there to be so dissatisfied about? I didn't read the NY newspapers this morning, but I need to because I want to see what the excuses are? Look, it's easy to take shots at New York, but I've been to many a Yankees game at The Stadium and I don't know how you can find better, more dedicated fans. It's not Miami...But empty seats is an indictment...
Mike do you follow MMA at all? Any thoughts on Anderson Silva and what he should do next? Thanks
mike wilbon (2:07 PM)
I don't...I answer these questions every now and then because I need people to know I'm not ignoring MMA; I just don't follow it. I understand it's incredibly popular and has replaced my true love, boxing...I get all that. But it's too violent for me, too much blood, too brutal. I'm never gonna follow it. It's just not my cup of team, just as I'm sure there are some sports you don't follow for whatever reason...I've watched. I watched an entire card in June and the amount of blood spurting out of people's noses and eyebrows...Look, boxing is no walk in the park. I was ringside when Evander Holyfield's piece of ear came flying toward me...So, let me not sound naive. Boxing has taken a toll on dozens, if not hundreds, of fighters...But I love boxing, love the cultural importance of boxers from Jack Johnson to Joe Louis/Max Schmeling (sp) to Rocky Marciano to Muhammad Ali/Joe Frazier...I'm never going to follow MMA, though I respect that people love it and follow it passionately...Just not me...Not gonna happen.
mike wilbon (2:08 PM)
Okay, gotta run...old man Kornheiser hollering for me to join the PTI prep...fun chatting with you all today...Thanks much...See you next week before Bears-Lions in Chicago, which is where I'll be for Monday Night Football...have a great week everybody! MW
Another magical win by the Irish. Do you think Stephan Taylor scored on that last play?
mike wilbon (2:10 PM)
One last one...Stanford runs 4 times into the pile? The school of Bill Walsh...that's the best it could come up with? Look, I root for Stanford...in every sport. I love the coach and everybody that program stands for...But four plunges into the line is the best those minds can create? Sorry, that was so lame. My friend Larry Irving will be angry with me, but so be it. That was soooooo disappointing to see the ending of that game and the lack of creativity on offense. I expect better than that from Stanford football.