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!
Buzzmaster (12:13 PM)
Mike will be here at 1:15 p.m. ET to take your questions!
mike wilbon (1:24 PM)
Hi Everybody...Hope you're all recovered from Thanksgiving consumption! We'll jump right into NFL, BCS, NBA matters and other stuff...
I know they are only 7-4, but if I had to bet my life savings on a team make the SB out of the NFC this year, I think I would go with the Giants.
mike wilbon (1:27 PM)
Okay, this is a fair place to start after the Giants performance last night...And I am not willing to go loud against you either...The Giants have a little bit of Chargers in them in that they don't seem to care to a max level every week; they throw in a couple of clunkers every season even when they're really, really good...And I think they might have done that in the two games before last night's. But when they HAVE to win they still seem to summon the effort to do it. Look, the Packers aren't world beaters, not with that offensive line and no Matthews BUT the Packers were a hot team and they've got, for my money, the best QB in the game and the Giants took them apart...If the Falcons and Giants were playing tomorrow, I don't know which team I'd take, but those are the top two in the NFC, to me...
Is it possible, that Coach Belichek and Brady, are still "under-rated" on a national level? As crazy as it sounds, it seems, week in, and week-out, *most* people want to talk about the Mannings, Ryan, RG3, Brees, Rodgers etc.. and have Brady as an afterthought (not when ranking QB's, but, just generally discussing who would you want type scenarios), yet, all Brady and Belichek do, is win, week-in, week-out, year-in, and year-out. What are your thoughts, on this? Thanks.
mike wilbon (1:31 PM)
You make a great point, which I think falls under the heating of We Take Greatness For Granted. We do. All of us do, except the people in that market. And Brady/Belichick are great and have been for more than a decade at a time in the culture when we like shiny new things to celebrate...But right now if you have to rank the teams in the AFC you'd have to put the Patriots right there (as usual) with the Broncos, Texans and Ravens in whatever order you please...And we PRESUME the Patriots will be there because they've proven it so many times over the past 12 years. Five trips to the Super Bowl, right? Five. I expect the Patriots to somehow be in the AFC Championship game against one of the above and when they're not, I'm surprised. I think that expectation of greatness is the surest sign of what we think of a team even if we're talking about somebody else...Also, the Patriots don't engage in drama. they just don't. They don't have guys who say stuff during the week or tweet like crazy...By design, they avoid all that and others get the attention who call it to themselves. The Patriots, in the Belichick era, categorically do not.
Can Cutler's obvious effect on the Bears be understated? The rest of the team really plays much, much better with him in there. Isn't raising your teammates level of play what leadership is all about?
mike wilbon (1:34 PM)
Yep. Cutler's stats don't suggest he's an MVP but his impact does. I can think of only two games in that the Bears have lost in the last 15 when Cutler's been healthy...Packers on Thursday night in Green Bay and...well...I can't come up with a second game. He was hurt against Houston and didn't play the second half, didn't play against the niners...and going back to the previous season had won five straight...He's something like 13-2 in his last 15 games started for the Bears...That's impact. They can't win without him, and you heard that reflected in Mike Tice's voice last weeek when the OC learned Cutler would start yesterday...
Sweet D (San Francisco)
Are you going to ever approach Saber-Metrics with an open mind or will you go to your grave believing that it is "hog-wash". I ask because your beloved Theo is a believer of Saber-Metrics.
mike wilbon (1:38 PM)
I don't study Saber-metrics enough to have an in-depth opinion...But let's go back to the previous question, about Jay Cutler. Do anything about ANY of his statistics, other than winning, suggest he's an MVP? No. But do any of his personal statistics really speak to his impact? No. Is an RG3 run of 11 yards on third-and-nine on what could have been a sack merely a third-down conversion or does it lift his team, even the defense, in ways that cannot be statistically measured? Is a third-and-11 Houdini run having the same impact on a team as a blah third-and-11 completion from another QB? WE DON'T KNOW. Well, sometimes, we do. It's anecdotal. Any metrics allow for anecdotal evidence, which ALL talent evaluators, even Theo, take into account every day of their lives even if those measures aren't as sexy and aren't even known by some of these people who don't go to the ballpark and sit in a dugout with managers or GMs before a game and listen to ALL they take into account. I wonder whether YOU'LL have an open mind that metrics of any kind can't tell you all you need to know. Some combination of statistical measure and plain old sensory perception are necessary...
If you were GM of the Cowboys, do you fire Garrett or continue the rebuild and be patient? There doesn't seem to be enough talent on the field, but these slow out of the gate starts are killing them.
mike wilbon (1:40 PM)
I might fire the coach, but I don't believe for a minute there's enough talent on the field. The talent, every damn year, is overrated. It ain't that good. It hasn't been for awhile. The Cowboys need help on the field and on the sideline and I don't know why a few people can see this going into every season while others seem to think the Cowboys are the 1984 49ers. They're not.
Mike, hope you had a great thanksgiving. I'm a big Knicks fan, and have been enjoying their fast start. But lets be real here - as long as Lebron is healthy, the East champion will always be Miami. This feels like Jordans Bulls in the 90s. We only had a chance when MJ played baseball for a few years. Any chance Lebron gives football a go for a year or two? Maybe? Please?
mike wilbon (1:46 PM)
You make a great analogy. It's going to be really, really, really,. truly difficult to beat Miami now that LeBron has won one and his playing (at least this season) with house money. He's playing free and unburdened...and if Wade paces himself (70 games maybe) and goes into the playoffs healthy, like he did NOT last season, Miami will be difficult to beat. BUT, the Knicks just seem to have the right crew of people and a good chemistry and trust their coach who is something like 28-7 since taking over the team. Mike Woodson deserves a standing O for what he's done. I thought coming into the season that the Nets had assembled a better roster, but the Knicks look like a better team now (not fault of the Nets, who have played pretty well)...I still wonder how things will go with Amare Stoudemire returns. Do you bring him off the bench, and if so will he accept that role? Will that change the chemistry? I don't know. Nobody knows. But again, I like what Woodson has done and he's brought in help with Jason Kidd, who is as much asst. coach as player at this point...But think about (I'm about to talk to you metrics people) how much of a calming influencce Kidd could be for J.R. Smith! It just works right now...The Knicks have it going and look to me to be the biggest threat out there to Miami. How big a threat? Hell, it's too early to assess that but it'll bear watching closely.
Isn't Suh's act getting old? At what point does Goodell say, ok take a year off and then if you repeat another offense, you're gone. The kicking is getting ridiculous and it appears the man has something wrong upstairs.
mike wilbon (1:48 PM)
Look, I root for a team that plays against Suh and I don't think he could have pulled that kick off intentionally unless he was Bruce Lee. I just don't believe it. Does Suh do things that should have him watched closely by the NFL? Yes. But is he, to quote Jaws from earlier today, a Ninja? Stop. He does things that go to far, yes, but a year? Come on. I'd fine him $50 grand just to throw him a little chin music on this because he's such a repeat offender...but beyond that? It's a violent game and Suh plays in the tradition of the game, even if the NFL is embarrassed to have it around now.
Jordan (Casper, Wy)
Hey Mike, you're not sleeping on the Bengals are you?
mike wilbon (1:51 PM)
Glad you brought up the Bengals. Quick story. I know some of you out there play in a "confidence" pool, where you assign a number from 1-16 on how firmly you believe one team will be another in a given week. Well, the Bengals were my 14-point game yesterday. The only teams I gave more points were Denver over K.C.(my 16-point game) and...hell, I can't even remember the 15-point team. But no, I think the Bengals are rolling in the right direction and Dalton, after a little slip up, is going like he did through a big chunk of last season...I like what the Bengals are doing...
Good Afternoon Wilbon, just what the NFL schedule ordered for the Bears to take down a one-dimensional Vikings team. Now, the doctor ordered tests for about 6 Bears yesterday, any seem really serious to you? Haven't heard anything from our end. Also, why is Fireman Ed even a story? Should every team have one dedicated fan and then write a big story on them when they decide enough is enough?
mike wilbon (1:54 PM)
We don't know the health of those six Bears starters yet...no updates so far from chicago...BUT, I would rest Forte even if he's cleared to play because I want him ready to go for Vikings-Bears in Minny on Dec. 9 and Packers-Bears in Chicago on Dec. 16. Those OL injuries could really force the offense to take a step back and one would hope Peanut Tillman can play...Two stories I REALLY don't want to see on PTI's docket today: the Fireman Ed story (seriously, like I give a %&*#@ about that) and the sprinkler story, which every single show on our network has talked to death already...So, you can see I'm about to tangle with our producers! LOL
Jeff (Phoenix, AZ)
I am disgusted by Mike D'Antoni's refusal to be flexible enough to use his post players to their strengths, not to mention his digs to the media regarding players he has coached for a couple of days.
mike wilbon (1:57 PM)
Wasn't that STUNNING? I'm with you. He's coached Pau Gasol for all of three minutes and RIPS him like that publicly. Wow. I know Mike D'Antoni from his time in Phoenix and he's a prince of a man. Seriously, he's the nicest man in the world. Maybe that had something to do with meds for the pain from the knee replacement surgery. Wow. The Lakers, I think it's safe to conclude, are going to be drama all season...every single day. Did Kobe really walk off the court with 10 seconds to play? Again, wow! I'm going to Los Angeles Thursday and cannot WAIT to hear about all the latest Lakers drama. I admit to being hooked. I hang on every word of it. And still, I believe the Lakers will be fine come the end of April. I'm not quite sure how in the world it will come together, but I do.
The one thing that seems to be lost from the Ravens-Chargers game, which is understandable considering the amazing Ray Rice play, is that the Ravens defense is starting to come around. It's rather amazing that they have been able to hold the fort with all those injuries on defense.
mike wilbon (1:57 PM)
What would really bring it around is the return of Ray Lewis in, say, two or three weeks for the stretch run.
Wilbon, I have been a big fan of yours for some time, but you need to stop with this "metrics" argument. You come off incredibly close minded. Advanced metrics in all sports give us a better understanding of what is going on. Nobody is arguing that they tell us everything (that's a classic straw man argument), but to ignore them because they can't tell us, for example, what type of calming affect Jason Kidd is having on JR Smith is just preposterous.
mike wilbon (1:59 PM)
You behave like a jerk when you can't adddress one point I brought up, which is why I reject so much of what people like you say. You can't speak intelligently or competently to a single question I posed. So when you can do that, come back at me. If you don't think a calmer J.R. Smith is a better player and therefore a greater asset to the Knicks, then you'd be a fool. And nobody--NOBODY--being paid to ultimately make personnel decisions doesn't take factors like that into account, and you're too dense to even address the point. Please, go away.
Wow, I sent in a follow-up to the Suh comment not even thinking for a second that you werent about to rip him. You seriously think it was an accident? Im stunned. Thats just...wow.
mike wilbon (2:00 PM)
You think he's Bruce Lee and can calibrate a kick to the cajones while falling back? With a reverse kick? You think he can do that on purpose? I'm stunned. That's just...wow.
Rob (San Antonio)
In regards to the comment about Cutler elevating his team I think we can safely say the same thing about Big Ben.
mike wilbon (2:00 PM)
no question. No question.
Are the 49ers really better off with Colin K. at QB? Yesterday without the 2 defensive scores folks would probably be singing a different tune?
mike wilbon (2:03 PM)
I must say, the kid stepped into two HUGE situations and not just survived, but he thrived. Bears on Monday night, he punched them in the face and they never recovered. And Superdome, probaby the loudest stadium in the NFL, with the Saints desperate for a win and having won, what, four of five? He was bold, was he not? Having said that, now that defensive coaches around the league have some tape on K, will they be able to throw him some curve balls? I don't know. But if this kid stays along this curve...
How much trouble are the steelers in with Big Ben on the sidelines? I say just like last year's bears. True?
mike wilbon (2:04 PM)
I'd say, exactly that kind of trouble. But you're not alone. How many backup QBs in the league could come in and keep on keeping on? Suppose Eli was injured? We saw last year what happens to a team that loses Peyton Manning. The Patriots were damn good without Brady a few years ago but that was a few years ago. Redskins without RG3? Indy without Luck? I mean, seriously, teams have to have their QBs, which is a HUGE reason the league seeks to protect them.
Mike, wanted your thoughts on ND. Seems like week-in, week-out, people keep telling themselves and everyone else that ND is not good, cannot beat (Michigan, Michigan State, Stanford, Oklahoma, SEC champ), and yet all they do is win. Where do you stand?
mike wilbon (2:08 PM)
Notre Dame is a more than worthy finalist for the college football national championship game, and so is the Alabama-Georgia winner. Look, I root for chaos because I loathe the BCS, but taking out after Notre Dame ignores the facts. It's damn difficult to navigate a college football season perfectly. Ask Oregon and Alabama. Yet, Notre Dame did that. And the Irish schedule, especially the first four weeks, are tougher than anything any of the SEC schools confront. Notre Dame doesn't play some of the dreck SEC schools play the first few weeks. Notre Dame goes and plays Michigan and (then-ranked) Michigan State...I don't want to hear that garbage. I've rooted against Notre Dame football all my life, but I admire the hell out of the program and while their coach is someone I don't think I could ever root for either because of his demeanor, there's no arguing that the guy is a great coach. Did this at Cinci and now at Notre Dame? Standing O for The Irish. I don't see how any other viewpoint is even responsible.
Josh (Las Vegas)
Mike, what will happen for Sherman and Browner in regards to their appeals? Will they be available for Sunday at Chicago?
mike wilbon (2:09 PM)
There's talk of the appeals process being decided this week, but are these things ever decided in one week? How long did it take the league to figure out the Bountygate appeals? I'd bet they'll both play...
Quick follow-up on Suh...the worst part in my opinion is that he will look the world in the eye and claim he didnt do these things that are clear on tape. I agree with Adam, there is something wrong upstairs with that guy.
mike wilbon (2:10 PM)
I'm okay with that reasoning in a larger sense, in an overall sense that Suh is over-the-line. I'm FINE with that. Just don't tell me he's James Bond and he can hold a martini and back-kick a guy in the center of the target. Listen to Jaws on SportsCenter on this topic right now.
Wizards this year worse than the Bobcats last year?
mike wilbon (2:11 PM)
Oh hell yeah. The Bobcats, if I'm not mistaken, are 7-5 while the Wizards have yet to win a game...now, the Spurs did need 2OT to win in Toronto yesterday and traveled here to D.C. and are as old as dirt and Pop could rest the entire team and the Wizards could...well...never mind.
Mike, hope you had a happy-holiday with your family. Question for you, regarding Penn St, and Bill O'Brien. With everything he faced, coming into this season, how would you grade-out, their season, when taking everything into account? Thanks
mike wilbon (2:12 PM)
I don't grade out, but I think he's coach of the year, period. Yes, nationally. Nobody faced what Penn State faced and to have a winning season? Are you kidding me?
Mohamed (Toronto )
What do you think the Eagles will do with Michael Vick and Andy Reid? Will they be back next year?
mike wilbon (2:13 PM)
No. Neither will be back and this is probably a topic I now find as tiresome as the water sprinklers down in Miami and Fireman Ed.
What you are claiming Suh did just didnt happen. It was a simple kick as he was falling down. Why are you comparing it to defying physics? Im starting to think you havent seen the play at all.
mike wilbon (2:14 PM)
I watched the play when it happened, Dude. It's not good. it speaks to Suh's recklessness and over-the-top behavior. Do I believe he back-kicked a guy in the cajones like he's David Beckham? Like Suh looking the other way in full motion can do that? Go outside and see if you can do that with a neighbor in the slow motion you're unathletic butt would surely be moving in! LOL
Shouldn't people think about the Suh situation another way... If he was playing for your team instead of against it, you would gladly put up with the boneheaded things he does because he is THAT good.
mike wilbon (2:15 PM)
Ah, yes. I know Matt Schaub said he wouldn't want him on the Texans. Please. With J.J. Watt on one defensive line. They'd be unblockable and Matt would be grinning from ear to ear, scarred as they might still be.
mike wilbon (2:16 PM)
Okay, TK is screaming so I gotta run to prepare for PTI...Thanks for chatting everybody...See you next Monday...have a great week! MW