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!
Dan (Washington, D.C.)
Michael, we know when it comes to the Cubs, Bears, Bulls, and Northwestern, you freely admit to taking off your objective Journalist/Commentator hat and putting on your Fan hat. So, now heading into the MLB playoffs, are there any of the 10 (or 11) teams that you actively root against, as a fan?
mike wilbon (1:48 PM)
Hi Everybody...Just flying in from Chicago where I spent part of the weekend, so its appropriate we start with this question, I guess...And by the way, when you write a column for 20-plus years objectivity isn't part of the job description. That said, by birthright as a Cub fan I'm obligated to root against the Cardinals, whom I both hate and admire...As I get older though I find myself less able to hate the Cardinals (or Packers, for that matter...what the hell is wrong with me?) I KNOW I'll root for Cleveland in the A.L. and the Dodgers in the N.L. But I don't know that there's anybody I loathe enough to sit in front of the TV and root against...Just excited for post-season baseball starting tonight.
Deven (New York, NY)
How the heck does Joe Flacco throw 5 INT against the Bills?
mike wilbon (1:50 PM)
Careless...just like Jay Cutler threw those two really, really bad pics to the Lions...I think both those guys and both those teams will be okay in the long run this season. But the Ravens SHOULD have won that game yesterday. The Bears COULD have, had Cutler merely accounted for three turnovers and not four...but I thought the Lions needed to and should have won at home, going into yesterday's game with the Bears...
Ed (Queens Village)
Will you be at Ohio St/Northwestern Sat? Key to Northwestern to shocking Ohio St?
mike wilbon (1:53 PM)
We (NU) need to force Braxton Miller, Carlos Hyde and the Buckeyes into at least three or four turnovers. I watched the Buckeyes closely against Wisconsin Saturday night and I can't see anyway for us to beat Ohio State if the turnover battle is even or if we turn it over more...We need fumbles and interceptions from OSU...I can't wait for Saturday...biggest regular season game we've had in Evanston since 1996...
At first you hated Twitter. Admit it, you love it now.Do you get as much Wilbon "hate mail" as I do?
mike wilbon (1:54 PM)
Ha! I don't know that I "love" it. I like it. It's necessary. It's vital to being involved in the media industry...And oh, I'm sure I get more hate mail than you do, though as I'm sure you know I couldn't possibly care less than I do about it...
Josh (Las Vegas)
Michael, do you have an opinion on Kareem Jackson's penalty that cost the Texans 15 yards and ultimately the game? I have a hard time seeing the flag thrown in that situation but when I think about letting the play go due to circumstances that feels worse. Thoughts?
mike wilbon (1:56 PM)
I thought he was going to get 15 yards AS HE DID IT. I knew that was coming. He has to know he can't do that anymore...The whistle was blowing; we could all hear it...So why do it? What, he doesn't know you can't do that anymore? There are seminars about what you can and can't do. What purpose is served by slamming that guy? It was just dumb.
Deven (New York, NY)
Is the Patriots 4-0 start a fluke, considering they've almost lost a couple of these games, with many of their key guys out?
mike wilbon (1:59 PM)
Fluke? What? It's the Patriots, dude. It's a team coached by one of the greatest coaches of all time, and led by one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time. Fluke? This is what they've done for a dozen years. Fluke? No chance. Not to me. They do it with whatever hand the team is dealt. Offensive juggernaut, fine, play it that way. Defense and special teams? Fine, win that way. It doesn't matter, which is the mark of greatness. True Greatness. If the Broncos and Patriots played tomorrow, I'd take the Patriots...
non-Bear fans (NFCN)
Can you please use your powers to get duh Bears to sign Jay to a long-term extension? That would be great. Thanks.
mike wilbon (2:05 PM)
I have no powers whatsoever (and yes, I know you're joking), but I wonder how that whole story line is going to play out, which is only the most important story line the franchise has had for awhile...even more important than the Lovie Smith firing...He doesn't need many more games like yesterday or its going to negatively impact his stock wherever he goes...
Can any teams realistically even compete with the Seahawks and Broncos at this point? Or can we just play the superbowl now because there are no other teams that are even close
mike wilbon (2:08 PM)
Do you pay attention to NFL seasons over the past 20 years? Do you know how many times people asked this about the Colts when they were 80 and 9-0 and even 10-0? How many Super Bowls did those Colts win? Yeah, one. Every year for the past 10 years somebody awarded the Super Bowl to the Colts or Patriots and together they've one one. 1. Un. So, go right ahead and award the championship if you want to. I'll watch the season and the twists and turns it takes, in which there are slumps and injuries and all manner of variables. The Broncos and Seahawks might very well run things from now through the first Sunday in February. But I doubt it...Let's see.
Do you think the players have a tough time "getting up" for the Presidents Cup? It seems like there is rarely any buzz surrounding the event
mike wilbon (2:11 PM)
Yeah, I do. When you have the Ryder Cup every other year, then add The Presidents Cup, you're asking players to feel the same about international team competition every single year, which isn't reasonable. I used to love to go see the President's Cup when it was played at Lake Manassas at Robert Trent Jones. But I can see where guys wouldn't want to play Ryder Cup and President's Cup every year...
I'm 26 years old and saw my first live boxing this last May (Mayweather vs. Guerrero) and have to say, it really was an entertaining event to watch... In the two high profile fights since (Mayweather/Alvarez and Chavez/Vera), there has been an uproar over the judging of the contests. I have to say that I really struggle to accept poor officiating in any sport, but based on what I've read, the scoring of these 2 contests has been particularly egregious (especially Chavez winning this weekend). This sport is certainly doing it's best to keep me and my other millennial generation pals uninterested...
mike wilbon (2:18 PM)
Tim, I hear ya. It makes me sad, but you make a totally legit point. You sound like you've come to boxing relatively recently. Let me just tell you, that judging controversy is where boxing lives, always has. The most upset I've ever been while covering a live event was in Seoul, South Korea in 1988 at the summer Olympics when Roy Jones Jr. was robbed of victory in the gold medal match with a South Korean boxer...The decision was the worst I've ever seen. I remember writing for The Washington Post in subsequent days about allegations (one made directly to me) that there were pieces of gold that had been passed at the judging table. It's just part of what boxing is. I wish the sport could rid itself of these people and decisions, but...
Some under the radar interesting storylines for the upcoming NBA season? I, for one, am fascinated to see how John Wall plays with a new max deal and the newfound responsibility that is being bestowed on to him.
mike wilbon (2:29 PM)
Yeah, I'm really interested in how the Wizards evolve, though it hasn't gotten off to a good start, what with Emeka Okafor already ailing, and he figures to be a big, big part of what they do this season. I have the Wizard making the playoffs, in the 7th or 8th spot, but that depends largely on Wall and how he plays. He need to play 75 games, minimum. He needs to have improved his jump shot. He needs to cut way down on his turnovers. I really like the Wizards projected starting lineup (Wall, Beal, Porter, Okafor, Nene w Martell Webster coming off the bench...) that's a nice top six isn't it?
What do you think about the cubs firing their manager
mike wilbon (2:31 PM)
Hard to be surprised, right? I mean, the Cubs were terrible and kids like Castro and Rizzo seemed to be going the wrong way, which you CANNOT have since those are supposed to be two of the cornerstones upon which the franchise is being rebuilt. Even in a total rebuild you have to show some incremental progress, which the Cubs did not this season.
Oscar (Bay Area)
Thoughts on who Haden should hire as the next USC Coach?
mike wilbon (2:34 PM)
Jack del Rio? That's one name. He's an SC alum and has been coaching for awhile now. Kevin Sumlin's name has been mentioned, but it seems a stretch to me. David Shaw at Stanford is a name that makes sense. Greg Roman, the 49ers OC who was Harbaugh's OC at Stanford, so that makes sense...There will be more names, too. Some short lists have Northwestern's head coach, Pat Fitzgerald, who UCS AD Pat Haden loves and who is, I think, 38 years old still...(Obviously, I hate that rumor!) it just seemed dumb to me for USC to ever hire Lane Kiffin, who finally now might not fail his way up any longer.
Who are these idiots asking if anyone can compete with the Seahawks? They had no business winning yesterday. I don't know what Schaub was thinking, but the Texans still COMPETED with the mighty Seahawks
mike wilbon (2:34 PM)
You're absolutely right.
Has there ever been any talk of expanding PTI to an hour show? Sometimes it feels that a half hour isn't enough.
mike wilbon (2:35 PM)
Thank you for even thinking that. There was talk, and thankfully it was squashed! 30 minutes of Tony and me is quite enough.
Do you think the Giants should call Bill Cowher or Jon Gruden to be the Head Coach next year?
mike wilbon (2:37 PM)
No...on both counts. Each has chosen to do television. They've opted out of coaching. Each has been out for awhile...not as long as Dick Vermeil, who went to the booth for like 17 years before returning to the sideline...
As a big basketball fan in Chicago, I'm super excited for this season to start. Obviously I think they will have a tough time getting past the Heat(although I do think its possible), but just to be able to watch Rose again is really exciting. Are you pumped for the season to start Wilbon?
mike wilbon (2:38 PM)
God, yes. I can't wait. I plan to be in Miami for the season opener for Heat and visiting Bulls...Very, very excited for the season, which I think begins on Oct. 28 or 29...a Tuesday night, I know that much...
Think the Blackhawks can repeat their NHL title from last season? What do u think of this new re-alignment?
mike wilbon (2:46 PM)
I don't like the new realignment right now but it'll probably grow on me, as the things out of nowhere usually do over time. I hate anything that doesn't couple together the Blackhawks and Red Wings, which is one of the league's oldest rivalries...And now they're separated. Repeating isn't very common in the NHL. The Red Wings did it in 1997-98 and the Penguins before that in 1991-92...I think the Blackhawks are poised to do it. They're talented with great goaltending and depth, but young talented goaltenders emerge, as do young stars. I think the Capitals could be a team that gets it together this season, provided Alex Ovechkin doesn't take half the season to get started...But that's the other conference. Splitting the Blackhawks and Red Wings could help the Blackhawks, actually. Remember, only one team took the Blackhawks to seven games last season in the playoffs and that was Detroit...Maybe I should be glad to see them leave the Western Conference, but I'm not. Rivalries should matter.
I know it was against the Rams, but does it seem like the niners are getting back on track? I thought the rams were supposed to at least have a good front 7. But Again it was the Rams, should I feel better about the niners??
mike wilbon (2:47 PM)
yeah, I was out there ringing the bell for an improved Rams team, but so far the Rams have mostly been stink-o-rama...and the Niners did what good teams do: they piled on.
Do you think we will ever see any of the 4 major sports shorten their regular season? NHL and NBA could especially use a trimming
mike wilbon (2:49 PM)
Ain't that the truth. The NBA and NHL seasons should be shortened to 70 games, max...but that would reduce TV and gate revenues, so it simply won't happen...The shorter seasons, as we've seen in the NBA and NHL the last two years, are so much more exciting as sprints instead of marathons. But it ain't gonna happen so we can stop wishing it.
Is there any sport you used to write about, that you miss covering?
mike wilbon (2:50 PM)
college basketball...it's been almost condensed to a one-month season by the extension of the NFL into February and the NBA's re-emergence...college hoops has been marginalized and I hate to see that.
World Series prediction and why?
mike wilbon (2:51 PM)
I'm not going to predict...I don't follow MLB closely enough any more to have a meaningful or insightful prediction...I'd like to see the Indians vs. Dodgers for purely personal reasons. I almost always root for Cleveland teams when Chicago teams aren't involved AND I have some obvious ties to the Dodgers owners. So there! LOL
Who Dat or The Fish tonight?
mike wilbon (2:52 PM)
Who Dat...Drew Brees and the Saints are incredibly tough on Monday Nights...That building simply reverberates on Monday Nights...
Rob (College Park, MD)
Do we take anything from the Redskins finally breaking through in the win column? Or does it not 'count' because it came vs. basically a D2 team?
mike wilbon (2:54 PM)
Oh, it counts. Breaking slumps if often done at the expense of bad teams, which the Raiders are. Matt Flynn was about as bad as a QB has been this season. Flynn had the pocket-awareness of a junior high QB; he never seemed to have any clue where the rush was coming from...The Raiders are so, so bad. BUT, you beat the bad teams you can build on something...
Is there anything from the Winter Olympics that you'll make sure you're in front of the TV for?
mike wilbon (2:57 PM)
No. Great question. But no. I hate to say that because I covered the Winter Olympics a few times (Albertville in '92, Nagano in '98 and Salt Lake City in '02) so its not like I hate winter sports. I love a lot of them, though not figure skating. But no, I found that in 2010 I barely watched. I've somehow migrated away from the winter sports without really knowing why. I've seen them all in person, even got on a bullet train in Japan one Sunday morning to take a 30-minute trip to the Curling competition...but I'm done now...I love the downhill skiing, but in person not on TV...same for the ski jumping. Oh wait, the hockey I will watch. It's the most artistic hockey tournament in the world. The artistry is amazing, and (the NHL hates when anybody says this) without gooning/fighting its pure. It's riveting and I wish the games were all on live here because I'd watch a lot of them.
I know your a Blackhawks fan Wilbon but do you see this year being a redemption year For Roberto Luongo under John Tortorella in Vancouver?
mike wilbon (2:58 PM)
I'm very conflicted here: I love Luongo (a friend of PTI) and find Tortorella a bore...totally conflicted.
Richard (Cali) [via mobile]
Did you see the Jon Jones fight last weekend? Great fight
mike wilbon (2:59 PM)
I did not. I heard the early reports he was bleeding like a pig and presumed he lost...then just found out he won! I don't fake, Bro. I rarely watch MMA. It's not for me. I watch now and then, but usually not. But I've seen Jones fight, oh, a half-dozen times max...I know what he's like but its not part of my viewing habits...
While I think Seahawk fans are smarter then your average fan when it comes to knowing when to cheer, I don't know if they themselves are actually any louder than othe fans(well def much louder then at Foxboro because you can here a needle drop there) so I want to know how you feel about the stadium being architetually(word?) designed to help the team?
mike wilbon (3:01 PM)
Oh, I'm fine with it. And having been to every stadium in the league many times over (except the new Meadowlands stadium and thew new Lucas Oil spot in Indy) I KNOW Seattle is the loudest stadium in the league. No question about it. I presume Lucas Oil is louder than the old Hoosier Dome...still, Seattle's place is a burden. it's an advantage without question.
If you and Tony were surviving together in a bomb shelter after a nuclear holocuast, how many minutes would you last before you just walked out into certain radiation death? 4 minutes? 7? Less?
mike wilbon (3:02 PM)
What? Who sits around dreaming up these scenarios? Tony's scared of flying or driving across a bridge, my man. He could probably go years. I'd give up...
mike wilbon (3:03 PM)
And on that note, we'll conclude since I have to prepare for PTI...thanks for chatting everybody. Big night tonight, what with Saints-Dolphins and Rays -Rangers...Get that clicker ready...And we'll chat next Monday after Northwestern v. Ohio State in Evanston...yeahhhhhhhhh! It's on! MW