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 2 p.m. ET!
Brian (New Orleans)
You can't have a full NFL season without Skins and Cowboys drama. Thoughts on another Romo 4th quarter collapse?
mike wilbon (2:24 PM)
Hi Everybody...sorry we're starting late but with travel sometimes it cannot be helped, so let's jump into it...another crazy NFL day is where we'll start...
mike wilbon (2:26 PM)
Ooops, we'll go with that first question I just inadvertently posted, about the Cowboys and Romo and the 4th quarter, which to me was easily the most dramatic game of the day, and the No. 1 storyline...I don't know how to conclude anything other than that the Cowboys, among the teams that really matter over the past dozen years or so, have probably the lowest football IQ of 'em all. They make the same mistakes game after game, year after year. Romo throws the same ill-advised passes, the coaches fall in love all the time with the same dumb strategies. How many times do they have to screw it up? It's amazing, when you're averaging 7 yards per rush, that they'd throw 47 or 48 times, whatever it was. It's plain stupid...and these are NOT stupid people. So I don't get it. I just don't. But they're so easy to mock and ridicule.
Dan (Washington, D.C.)
Michael, I was briefly following the news of the Heisman Trophy this past weekend and wondered if anyone cares about this anymore, but in particular, the athletes, themselves. Maybe I am being presumptuous that Jameis Winston would rather win the national title and go on to a successful and lucrative pro career than have this trophy. So, the question: from your experience with athletes, do they ever tell you that the individual trophy -- the NBA in-season MVP, the MLB batting title, or the Heisman -- is actually not that important to them? That they do not care what these journalist-voters think? Or, do they, in fact, find the trophy, and the competition for the trophy, motivating? Thanks.
mike wilbon (2:29 PM)
No way. You're wrong. They do, at some point, care deeply. Maybe not on the way up when they're 22 years old. But I DO know enough athletes to know how much these honors matter when they're older. Shaquille O'Neal still talks about a season he thinks he should have won the MVP and didn't (it's the year Karl Malone won, not Steve Nash; people erroneously report this all the time). Anyway, it matters. It matters to Magic Johnson and Michael Jordan and John Elway...and now Kobe. It matters deeply...NOT more or as much as winning championships, that's right...But it matters more and more as they get older and begin to put their careers in context and become, for the first time, reflective.
Mike, are there restaurants in Chicago you always come back to whenever you're in town? I just moved here....
mike wilbon (2:40 PM)
Oh God, yes. Several for several reasons. I LOVE Chicago Cut, Del Frisco's, Gibson's, Tavern on Rush, Mastros...I love Bandera for lunch, the restaurant in The Peninsula, Shanghi Terrace (I think that's the name), I love breakfast places like Yolk in Streeterville and Oak Tree, and another late spot, RPM...and don't let me forget The Pump Room, which is way up on my list...and Hotel Lincoln's restaurant AND rooftop and Girl & The Goat...you don't want me to go on and on, do you? I'm forgetting great places because I'm doing this off the top of my head...But I need to extend my circle of spots...I love the places I just mentioned, but there are so, so many places...and in the summertime I venture out more and check out places all over the city and look so forward to that...But in the winter, when its cold and blustery and I'm getting out of a Bulls game (after writing a column) at 11:30 p.m. I've got to go to someplace familiar, my "Cheers" if you will, w/in walking distance of my place in Chicago...Oh, and I love J-Dawg's on North State when I need that burger or dog fix...I'm gonna stop now...Harold's Chicken, too, Bro...can't forget that...I'm not allowed to eat ribs anymore or I'd be telling you about the places on the South Side I used to frequent, but I've been banned!
Wilbon, I am as big a bears fan as they come (and an optimist). But we are not a good football team right? I know the NFL is weak this year and our offense has great potential, but if cleveland didn't have that holding penalty in the 3rd Q knocking them out of FG range we probably lose. Additionally, if Cambell didn't miss 10 throws or cleveland drop passes we were done. I was laughing at points in the game yesterday. Tell me I am wrong?
mike wilbon (2:44 PM)
You're not wrong at all. The Bears don't have a very good football team right now because the defense is the worst I've ever seen a Bears defense. THE worst, especially at stopping the run. BUT, that offense is so potent, so fully capable of averaging 40-something poitns per game. If Jay Cutler starts to spread the ball around the way McCown did, and not just lock in on Brandon Marshall. Look, the Bears scored 38 points yesterday without even playing well early. So many weapons. So, they've got this one spectacular unit that is going to have to carry them, again Sunday in Philly, and back at home against the Packers to go 10-6...This isn't really a 10-6 team but if they get there then you consider new posibilities, but I do not disagree a ounce with your assessment...
How many points will the Bears have to score in order to beat the Iggles?
mike wilbon (2:44 PM)
Brian (New Orleans)
Who would you have voted for the Heisman?
mike wilbon (2:49 PM)
Great question. I used to vote...for a lot of years, in fact, but I haven't for some time. I think I'd have voted for Winston, considering he was cleared legally. I think I would have voted for Winston, McCarron and then Jordan Lynch...I think...But I would have been really, really hesitant to not give a vote in the top three to Johnny Football...
Mike do you agree that the NFL needs to do something about these sorry thursday night football games? Those teams looked so tired out there, the game was just no fun to watch. And I bet if they had an extra couple days to get healthy, the Broncos would have done way better. I know the NFL loves the extra night of ratings and will never do away with thursdays altogether, but I think they should have thursday games up until thanksgiving, and then after that replace them with saturday night games. College ball is over by then, and in december, 3 days is just not enough time off between games.
mike wilbon (2:51 PM)
Thursday night football is a nuissance. It's awful. The NFLPA should have been fighting like hell against it. But there's so much money it for the league there's zero chance it's going away anytime soon. $$$$$$ It's a money grab and the one thing we know is leagues and their network partners don't turn down money, no matter what they might say out of the other side of their mouths about player safety and health.
Which side are you on in regards to the Cutler/McCown debate? Should Emery spend 15-17 mil a year to retain Jay or should he tag him or neither?
mike wilbon (2:57 PM)
I am absolute in my belief the Bears should keep both QBs. I know it tends to kill the salary cap and Emery doesn't really want to do that. BUT, you need two QBs, you really do. I love having them both, knowing its an NFL luxury few teams have. But Cutler has been injured in, what, three of the last four seasons, right? So if you have to spend more there, do it...build the defense through shrewed drafting. The Bears have all their picks. Do it that way, perhaps without a big free agent pickup...Easy for me to say, right? it's just that we've seen the Bears in backup QB hell and it cost the team two trips to the playoffs in recent seasons.
Sorry if this is a repost, internet issues...anyway, You talked about the Cowboys Football IQ being a low point, my brother and I brought up the exact point but I would like your perspective on another angle. After a game like that, how emotionally draining is it not only on the losers, who have to bear the weight of the loss for seven days, but also the winners, who are on top of the world and ready to take on all challengers, right now, but have to put their emotions on the back burner for a week? Is this one of the most important aspects of a great coach?
mike wilbon (3:02 PM)
Yes...winning at times presents a great problem. But morale is so important in pro football, more than any other sport, because 2 straight losses is treated as a catastrophe in the NFL when it is NOT in MLB, the NBA or NHL...Losing, in the NFL, so tears at a team, the raw feelings in a locker room, the tension within the coaching staff, the excessive nature of ALL media coverage now. It's building the team up after a loss in pro football that seems to be the toughest job of 'em all. I talk to coaches all the time in the other sports after a loss...I've had dinner with coaches and players after crushing losses in baseball and basketball...but I don't even approach a social conversation with a football coach after a loss...don't even try it. It's an emergency.
Wilbon and Paul to an extent...here's the best business side of the Cutler/McCown debate: franchise Cutler, trade Cutler to a QB needy team and accumulate picks. Sign McCown to a 2-3 yr deal and groom another QB. Marc Trestman's offense works. Cutler can do it, McCown can do it, Wilbon could do it. It works. Franchise then trade Cutler. We have holes in our defense. Plug those holes and we'll be the Chicago Bears again (with defense).
mike wilbon (3:04 PM)
I'm posting this because you make sense BUT I don't agree. I think you can re-make the defense with the picks already on board. I want the luxury of those 2 QBs...
Derrin (Plano, TX)
Will Dez Bryant ever get it?
mike wilbon (3:08 PM)
I don't think so. Don't see it. Who makes an impression on this kid? Who can get in his ear and tell him something he doesn't want to hear? Maybe he will at 30, but it'll be too late to impact his NFL career by then because that's late in an NFL career. I hope I'm wrong. He was born into terrible circumstances and reared in terrible circumstances (something like 8 schools in his life), things that were beyond his control and surely continue to impact his emotional and psychological makeup. I hope somebody can get to him, but he seems like he's in a mode nobody can change...
Tony (Richmond, CA)
Do you think the Cowboys overcome yesterday's debacle and still manage to win the horrid NFC East? Or are they destined for another final game choke up which results in them missing the playoffs? If so, does Garrett have to go?
mike wilbon (3:16 PM)
Hasn't Jerry already declared Garrett is staying as head coach no matter what? I think the Cowboys are gonna to lose here in Washington Sunday..and that could put it all on the season finale against the Eagles on the final Sunday. how do you bet ON the Cowboys after yesterday? How do you have faith in Dallas after that? How do you count on them? I wouldn't.
Andrew Z. (Struthers, OH)
Have you gotten the chance to watch 30 for 30's latest episode "Youngstown Boys"? What did you think?
mike wilbon (3:17 PM)
Did not. Have it on TiVo but can't get to it until after the season...EVERY SINGLE one of those 30 for 30s is fabulous. I love watching them.
Andrew Z. (Struthers, OH)
With the recent news that Ryan Freel was diagnosed with CTE, what should Major League Baseball do to prevent further cases?
mike wilbon (3:19 PM)
Take steps thought previously to be unnecessary, like banning home plate collisions. Maybe pitchers should wear those liners, if not helmets. I know nothing is going to keep pitchers completely out of harm's way of line drives coming off the bats of hitters just 60 feet away, but perhaps you have to try something...
ted (cape cod)
Who would get your NFL MVP vote between Russell Wilson, Jamaal Charles and Peyton Manning?
mike wilbon (3:24 PM)
Tony is sitting right here and says Peyton Manning...because (he says) Russell Wilson, because of Seattle's prodigious defense, has less to do with his team's spectacular success than Manning does with his team's success...I say, hogwash; Seattle would be an average team without Wilson, if that. I'd, right now, go Wilson, Manning, Charles...I could see Peyton going back to the top of my list, but I wouldn't vote until after the final game. it's that close.
Isaac (University Place, WA)
Is it time to admit that Colin Kaepernick is overhyped? He hasn't done anything to impress. A backup like McCown has been more impressive this year. Everybody was saying that he didn't have all of his weapons, but everybody is back now, though they are just returning but he still hasn't looked good enough to compare to RGIII (last year), Andrew Luck (pre reggie wayne injury, and Russell Wilson. Deep down do you think Jim Harbaugh regrets letting Alex Smith go? Their winning games but mainly due to defense and not Colin
mike wilbon (3:25 PM)
Yours is an example of classic overstatement. "Hasn't done anything to impress." That's, well, stupid to say. He 's not Joe Montana or Steve Young but he helps his team win and remain a threat to beat anybody and reach the Super Bowl ONE YEAR AFTER GETTING TO THE SUPER BOWL..Shhhh!!!
Scott (Northglenn, CO)
I've gone back and forth on Dez Bryant over the years, but I think that some of his 'antics' shouldn't be criticezed..it seems like he clearly wants to win, and isn't that what you would want out of any player? Maybe he could channel hsi emotions better, but I don't think he's doing it in a selfish way..your take?
mike wilbon (3:28 PM)
He's a liability. He undermines so much of what he does on the field with team-killing behavior. I was at the Bears-Cowboys Monday night game where he was the 3rd best receiver on the field, after Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery...I wouldn't want him. And for people who say, "Well, who's better?" I'd start with the above two...or maybe Megatron, or Josh Gordon, DeSean Jackson...and while Jackson can be annoying, too, I don't see him as being outright destructive...
Chicago Pizza & Oven Grinder Co. on North Clark
mike wilbon (3:28 PM)
Haven't been. is that a suggestion I can take to the bank?
Isaac (University Place, WA)
What two teams would you like to see in the Super Bowl this year? Who's your ideal matchup for the best game?
mike wilbon (3:29 PM)
I've said since Labor Day Seahawks v Patriots...so no need to change now. I'd LIKE to see the Bears but there isn't much chance of that this season.
mike wilbon (3:30 PM)
Okay, I gotta run and prepare for PTI...Let's do this again Monday, a week from today, which kicks off Christmas Week. We can look ahead to the NBA and some football bowl games before I disappear on vacation for the Monday before New Year's Day...have a great week everybody...thanks for chatting...MW