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 (1:01 PM)
Hey everyone, Mike will be here at 1:30 p.m. ET to take your questions!
mike wilbon (1:37 PM)
Hi Everybody and Happy New Year! For those of you who have been battling the flu, like me, GET BETTER! and keep your germs at home in bed for awhile!!! For the rest of you get a flu shot and avoid sick folk the best you can...Anyway, we'll jump right into the wild-card weekend, the RG3 "controversy" if you can call it that, the national title game tonight, and whatever else people want to talk about...
Rod (El Paso)
Does Shanahan face any fallout for the RGIII injury in light of Dr. James Andrew's remarks about the earlier injury? The whole situation is bringing back a lot of Bud Kilmer-Lance Harbor comparisons.
mike wilbon (1:42 PM)
Fallout? No. You think Mike Shanahan's owner, Dan Snyder, is upset with him? Then who else would get on Shanahan's case in a way that matters? I don't have a problem, personally, with the way Shanahan handled RG3 in the game with Seattle yesterday...And I'm not saying Shanahan made the RIGHT call; I'd have had no problem if he'd said, "Robert, I know you want to be out there but you can't be yourself and I'm shutting you down." BUT, I'm okay with Shanahan staying with his star player, too...Very, very tough call. My only problem with the Redskins offensive coaches was not running the ball more. You're up 14-0 and 14-3 and 14-10 and 14-13...RUN THE BALL...You've got the No. 2 running back in the NFL, and the lead, and even in a one-score game (down 21-14) RUN THE BALL...Why not?
Rob (San Antonio)
I must admit that this past weekend was a bit of a let down as far as NFL playoffs were concerned. Do you think this validates the argument against expanding the teams that make the playoffs?
mike wilbon (1:46 PM)
Great question...I hadn't thought of that at all, but YES, you don't need anybody in the NFC further down the totem poll than the Vikings, who surely would have been better if they'd had their starting QB healthy...I'm a lifelong Bears fan, I believe the Bears were next in line, and NO, I wouldn't want to see any more teams in the NFL playoffs. The play really was mediocre this weekend, or perhaps I should say the games were mediocre...I know it changes year to year...but I look at next week's AFC games and yawn. I think the Ravens have a puncher's chance at upsetting Denver and the Texans have no chance in New England...None...The NFL playoffs are fine. The NHL and NBA need fewer teams...NOBODY needs more. NOBODY.
Could you tell me what is the relationship of Dr. James Andrews to the Redskins. I did not even know that he was on the sidelines until the Baltimore game. Is he the team physician or one of the team physicians with a contract with the team? When did he first start appearing on the Redskin sidelines? Does he have an office in the D.C. area? I never thought that a surgeon of his renown would have a regular role with a team on the field.
mike wilbon (1:52 PM)
Another great, great question...If I was chatting from D.C., as is usually the case, I'd be able to give you an answer...but I'm in Arizona after a couple of weeks west with NBA duties and I have no idea of the official capacity the famed Dr. Andrews has established with the Redskins. It's something I'll have to ask about and update next week if we remember...From years of being around the Redskins it's hard to not think that Andrews is there simply because Dan Snyder wants him there, and Snyder is an owner who gets pretty much what he wants when it comes to people being on the field or in his owners' suite or on his jet, etc. You'd be surprised at how easy it is to get a sideline pass to an NFL game. It's really, historically, been up to the team's discretion...Now, I'd LOVE to have Andrews on my sideline, but I wonder if the Redskins are paying him as a "team" consultant or whatever...There's nothing suspicious here. Every team should have benefit of that level of expertise, but seems Andrews as of late as confined that to the Redskins...
mike wilbon (1:54 PM)
part two to that question is whether Andrews blames Mike Shanahan for playing RG3...The Dr. sounded irritated about the previous week, didn't he? Look, in this era of dramatically increased awareness in player safety and health, there are questions a veteran coach like Shanny NEVER had to answer...but he has doctors to answer now, and there's no avoiding it...
Not a Homer (Encinitas)
Okay I'm a homer, but please let me air this out. Last year, all you heard was that the Patriots could only beat teams with losing records. This year, the Broncos only beat 1 good team (Balt) and that was when they were on a slump, and all you hear is how great they are and Manning is the GOAT. Nobody ever seems to mention the fact that almost everyone they beat will either have new coaches or new QBs next year because they were that bad. It kind of reminds me of the Tebow effect where normally you would agree that there are some good in him as a player, but he's so overhyped that you can't help but focus in only the bad.
mike wilbon (1:55 PM)
Feel better now that you've vented??? The Patriots and Broncos, The Golden Boy vs. Peyton Manning, is going to be the AFC Championship game, and isn't that all that matters?
Paul (Portland, OR)
Happy New Year, Mike. As an Oregon Duck fan, I had flashbacks watching RGIII yesterday... it reminded me of Dennis Dixon a few years ago when Oregon was near the top of the standings. He had a knee injury that was worse than the team let on, then his knee crumpled at Arizona, just like Griffin's yesterday. Hated seeing that.
mike wilbon (1:58 PM)
Thank you for mentioning that...I, too, recall Dixon's injury so vividly...Hated seeing that, too...In the moments RG3 lay on the turf after the botched snap, Tony Kornheiser called me, shaken up, and as a Redskins fan said to me, "Now I know how you felt when Derrick Rose went down last year." I told him, yes, it's a sick feeling, but I was hoping RG3 isn't hurt that bad. When he walked off without help I was encouraged, and still am, that he didn't shred the knee the way Adrian Peterson and Rose and Ricky Rubio did...I just shudder to think about anybody sustaining that injury...All the best to RG3...
ted (cape cod)
Are you excited that the NHL lockout is over? My Stanley Cup prediction is Penguins-Blackhawks with Sidney Crosby back on top again.
mike wilbon (1:59 PM)
I could care less today about prognostications, I'm just glad the NHL will have a season, albeit abbreviated!!! I'd be fine with that Stanley Cup Final, but having a season is something that just 72 hours earlier seemed like an overly optimistic view.
Jeff (Phoenix, AZ)
Mike D'Antoni is an absolute failure. Yes, I can make that well-founded judgment already. He is stubborn, can't handle personalities, can't adjust his "system," and simply is not a good NBA basketball coach. While Phil might not have led the team to a championship, there would not be the chaos and dark future for the Lakers that there is now. Thanks a lot, Jim Buss.
mike wilbon (2:03 PM)
I cannot and will not argue with this. I watched last night's game with Denver from STaples Center thinking the exact same thought, that Mike D'Antoni is the absolute wrong coach for this team...The Lakers are so bad defensively, so incompetent on that end of the floor...they're not going to get better to the degree that they challenge for anything. Look EVERYBODY wants to play offense in very sport; defense is about coaching and that's not Mike's strong suit by a long shot. I'm not going to say Mike's a bad coach; he an innovator, but on one side of the ball...He needs a defensive coordinator...did in NewYork and does now...The Lakers allowed 60 points in the paint last night to Denver. DENVER!!! The Lakers now trail Denver by 3 1/2 games for the 8th spot in the West with the season half over this week...Contender? The Lakers will struggle to make the playoffs. That's a sentence I can't believe I"m writing.
I don't know if it can be quoted, but on James Andrew's wikipedia page it says he is the team Doctor for Washington, as well as for Auburn and Alabama.
mike wilbon (2:04 PM)
Thanks for that...Then, if correct, Dr. Andrews does have an official relationship with the Redskins...
As a reasonable Chiefs fan I am able to take the positives and negatives of signing Andy Reid as the head coach. My question is, was he the best available coach in your eyes (I don't count Gruden or Cowher) or do you think there are better options still out there?
mike wilbon (2:08 PM)
I don't cover the NFL to the extent anymore that I know all the up and coming assistants and the overlooked guys...I did for years but not anymore...the great majority of us tend to focus on what I call the celebrity coaches, the ones who have already been in the public eye long enough for us to know most everything about them...I have some concerns about Reed hopping right back into the game, given the personal family tragedy he has gone through...I wonder about that...You're not worried about his credentials, obviously, but I wonder after the 13 or 14 years with the Eagles if he needed a break, or if he can bring the same energy to Kansas City he brought to Philly in the beginning?
RG3 should NOT have been on the field after the 1st quarter, he was hurting bad. I hear that Shanahan now says RG3 says he would not have forgiven him if he took him out. That is insane as no QB wants out. He had RG3 doing bootlegs in the 3rd quarter. Why wasn't RG3 protected by Skins?
mike wilbon (2:11 PM)
Didn't Mike Shanahan ask RG3 if he was okay to go? And didn't RG3, by his own admission after the game in a news conference, say with confidence he DID NOT WANT TO COME OUT? Should Shanahan think his starting quarterback is a liar and cannot be trusted? No, there must be some trust in that relationship. You're right, players want to play...Now, Shanahan has to say, if he feels this way, "I know you want to go but I'm sitting you down." But stop blaming the team. RG3 is a big boy. This isn't a regular season "take a safe approach" situation...These are the playoffs. Careers, and yes body parts, are at risk.
Mike I am a Cowboys fan. My dad is from Mississippi and grew up a Bears fan. Like you he seems to feel like the Bears are entitled to championships. My thought is as much as you have a problem with the Cowboys hype, don't you think you, my dad, and Bears Nation are living off the past. Love your stuff. Been watching since PTI first started.
mike wilbon (2:14 PM)
I can't speak for your dad, but I don't know any Bears fans who walk around thinking the franchise is "entitled" to win the way Cowboys fans do. There's simple math involved. I'm 54 years old and have seen my team win two NFL Championships, the first when I was 5 and can remember only the big things, and the second 27 years ago...So what entitlement? Sounds like your dad may be from the previous generation when the Bears won a ton in the 40s...but there are few of those grand old fans left...Cut your dad a break. Hey, at least we beat the Cowboys IN DALLAS ON MONDAY NIGHT this season...So pipe down, junior! LOL
Yogi (Seattle )
As a Seahawks fan I realize when your opponent's best player isnt 100%, its a clear advantage. That said, I always hate the loser's argument of "we would have won if...". Mike Shanahan, right or wrong, made the strategic decision to have a hobbled RG3-lead offense, while abandoning the run. That strategic decision blew up in his face. The Redskins did not deserve to win, even if it was their own doing. Do you agree?
mike wilbon (2:15 PM)
Michael, who gets the Bears HC job and why?
mike wilbon (2:18 PM)
Dude, my biggest decision the last four days has been whether to get out of bed to reach for NyQuil...so I haven't exactly been all over the Bears talk...I just hope they hire a dynamic offensive coach who can play 21st century offensive football while maintaining something close to the brand of defense the franchise is proud to consistently play...I have a Mike Holmgren wish but that's so un-Bears like...I hope they get a guy who can win two more games than Lovie won, which would mean (in my mind) a Super Bowl win and a trip to another...
Brandon Pence (Lexington, KY)
Good afternoon Mr. Wilbon! After Friday night's game, did the Bulls show us A) A blueprint to defeat the Miami Heat (Memphis did it similarly - crash the boards, close out on the shooters, and let Lebron/Wade do what they may) and B) that they are still potentially a favorite as long as an 80% ready Derrick Rose is good to go come playoff time?
mike wilbon (2:20 PM)
As a fan I jumped the same conclusions you did. As somebody who covers basketball for a living for 30-plus years I discarded the second assessment and kept the first...The Bulls did show how you beat the Heat, but I don't think they can do anything in the playoffs this year, whether or not D-Rose returns to something that resembles the D-Rose we knew and loved. The Bulls, remember, have lost home games this season to the Wizards, Bobcats and Hornets...It's one thing to gear up to beat Miami for one game...But four times??? Bulls fans have to moderate their expectations...Really, we do...
Soldier Field (Chicago)
I didn't think a playing surface could look any worse than me, but FedEx Field's surface took me down. Congrats on that, nation's capitol.
mike wilbon (2:21 PM)
Throw the turf at Heinz Field in there and you've got the three worst, right? Candlestick used to be in that group...we'll see how it looks Saturday night....
Katie (New York City,NY)
I think what's getting lost in the media coverage today is the lack of mentioning how much the field conditions at Fedex Field were beyond terrible yesterday. If I'm Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder I Would make a switch to Field Turf ASAP to protect the investment of RG3. Do you agree?
mike wilbon (2:24 PM)
I've talked to a great many players about this over the years and most, not all but most, have told me they prefer field turf...that used to shock me, but I've heard it so much as the years go by...I'd have to hear from Redskins players who have played for other teams, like Seattle, as to which they prefer. We know money isn't an issue...I'd listen to my players and make a decision based on that...Historically, Washington has always had natural grass, going back to RFK...And Dan Snyder so loves everything associated with RFK. But this may need changing. Either that or better natural turf. Does Lambeau Field have this problem? Hell it doesn't even get cold in D.C. anymore; why was it in such bad shape?
Hi Mike, of the 4 home teams in the NFL this weekend which one is most vulnerable to be sent home packing?
mike wilbon (2:26 PM)
Very nice question...The Falcons, of course. I think Seattle is going to win and I think Green Bay will win, but clearly the 49ers are a formidable team...I can see Seattle and Packers in the NFC, but the Patriots and Broncos are going to play in the AFC...
The Rockets are a fast paced team and really fun to watch. James Harden has been better than expected. Did you think that the Rockets would play this well this year, and have you seen any of their games?
mike wilbon (2:28 PM)
No, I didn't...and yes, I have...They're really exciting to watch and while I didn't think Harden and Jeremy Lin would be a fit, they're worked at it and Omer Asik has been MUCH MUCH better as a full-time center than I thought...Big ups to a certain Rockers executive (and good NU alum) D. M. You think the Lakers can catch the Rockets? Hmmm...I don't...
Hey Wilbon, a few weeks ago you answered a few questions about Avery Johnson. I think - now that he's gone and the team is responding - it was pretty apparent what a bad coach he was. Do you think he'll land a head coaching gig anytime soon?
mike wilbon (2:29 PM)
I don't know...Don't know if Avery is interested in jumping right back in...he certainly is damn good at the broadcast table or in the studio...I've talked with him briefly...It didn't work in New Jersey/Brooklyn but he got awfully close in Dallas...I hope he has another shot...if he wants...
Why doesnt Brady or Rodgers get more people behind them for MVP? Why do we take their greatness for granted...why do we root for the guy switching teams, or coming back from injury? It's like all the crazy talk that LeBron is not MVP in the NBA
mike wilbon (2:30 PM)
Legit question. I think I can make the argument for Brady/Rodgers/Manning equally for MVP, as well as, obviously, Mr. Peterson...Okay, gotta run...it's PTI prep time..thanks for chatting today everybody...We'll chat next Monday...have a good week...MW