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 (1:07 PM)
Mike got delayed and will be here to chat at 1:45 pm ET.
mike wilbon (1:40 PM)
Good Afternoon everybody, Happy Super Bowl Monday...I'm guessing we'll deal with mostly Super Bowl topics in the wake of what I think is one of the greatest Super Bowls ever...
DW (Pensacola, FL)
Jim Harbaugh didn't mind the no call when his guys were holding Roddy White on the Falcons last drive in the NFC Champ game. Thats the reason his 9ners were in the superbowl.
mike wilbon (1:45 PM)
No, Jim didn't mind that bad no-call, and I thought that was a much more egregious violation than the call in question last night that really meant doom for the 49ers. I did NOT think the officials should have thrown a flag on the Ravens there...Yes, there was contact, but in the context of the game there were 50 little skirmishes like that on pass plays and NONE were penalized...The one penalty that was Culliver interefering with Torrey Smith on third down ABSOLUTELY needed to be called...I thought the zebras did a great job, for the most...Look, all these things are debatable...What I didn't like was Kaepernick not trying to get the ball into the end zone himself AT LEAST one of those snaps...
Is Ed Reed the greatest safety of all-time?
mike wilbon (1:51 PM)
Maybe. Quite possibly, yes. He is definitely on the short list of greatest ever with the likes of Night Train Lane and Ronnie Lott and Rod Woodson and Mel Blount of the Steelers...I put him a step ahead of Polamalu and Steve Atwater, who are obviously all-timers...on that first-tier, though, you have to include Larry Wilson, Emlen Tunnell, Ken Houston...Sorry for the spellings if I screwed up some of them...but there has to be context. And Ed Reed is as good as any of them, whether we're talking about his pass coverage or his ability to step up to the line and stop the run...Did you see the play last night when Reed took off after Kaepernick and made him get rid of that pass more quickly than Kaepernick wanted to? He's just the best ball-hawkwer anybody has ever seen, isn't he? I think he might be remembered as the greatest ever...very possible...
I think it's great most of the Ravens got their rings and Brigance had the chance to experience another Super Bowl victory, but man it is hard to root for Ray Lewis for because of his past. Seems the media ignored/overlooked the whole murder rap and painted Ray as this big hero and I'm sure he'll be rewarded with a big contract from ESPN. Why is this ok?
mike wilbon (1:58 PM)
He's been painted with different strokes by lots of different people, prasied and criticized and that's why we have various people offering opinions...So, to say "the media" did one thing or the other, when you can find a full range of opinions on Ray Lewis, his past and present, is just your agenda...I don't make hiring decisions at ESPN, and you'd be really stupid to join this chat and not know I'm not the Boss of ESPN...so let's stop with the phony anger...Lewis clearly has a following of people who believe in him and detractors who do not...I think it's about 50-50, but there's no research on this that I know of...He's a controversial figure, that's for sure and its fair because of all that he's been involved in over the last 17 years...And apparently he'll continue to be...He's a big star and TV networks, this one and all the others, love big stars. Look at the former players who are on the air!
DT (Washington, DC)
Regarding the ref's "letting them play"--if that's how they treat playoff and Super Bowl games, why not just "let them play" all season? Throwing flags all season and then only a few in the big game doesn't make sense.
mike wilbon (2:04 PM)
You're asking a philosophical question about something that is anything but...umpires have different strike zones. football officiaiting crews have different views of what constitutes holding or pass interference or what is "incidental" contact. It's SUBJECTIVE, not objective, and if you can't accept that you might as well stop watching sports...what about block-charge calls in basketball and how they're called, either from game-to-game or regular season to post-season...
Charles (San Jose)
Michael, if they'd called holding on the safety, would there have been any way to put a few ticks back on the clock?
mike wilbon (2:06 PM)
Great question. No. And that's why teams are okay with taking a penalty when the yards mean nothing and the time remaining means everything...
Brian (Washington DC)
Hi Mike!The last two Super Bowl winners both have African American GM's (Jerry Reese and Ozzie Newsome). Can we finally put to rest the notion the we "lack the necessities" to be employed in top level positions in all sports?
mike wilbon (2:07 PM)
Yes. And thank you a million times over for pointing that out.
Rob (San Antonio)
Do you think the rules committee will revisit the voluntary safety at the end of the game to prevent teams from holding? For one thing it is amazing it wasn't called and if they didn't hold the Niners would have got to the kicker a lot quicker.
mike wilbon (2:10 PM)
Again, great question/comment...I think the rules committee and competition committee have to consider weighing in on this one. No idea what they'll decide, but the NFL is better about tinkering with the game to improve the product more than the other leagues...They're really, really active in that process and I don't think this will just sort of go away...The 2-point safety in that instance is a tool that ought to be available...But the holding has to be spotted and called immediately...
Good job not giving YOUR opinion on Ray Lewis. And good job taking my comment out of context. Not once did I suggest that you were the boss of ESPN. Not once did I say I was angry. I just said it was hard to root for Ray Lewis. Since OJ Simpson is a big star should we go ahead and ignore the murder rap and get him a commentating gig on TV?
mike wilbon (2:19 PM)
You asked me, surely knowing better, why ESPN would hire Ray Lewis, and it's not out of context to give you a rough answer because I presume you're smart enough to know--and if you're participating in this chat you know what the hell I do and you know it's not managing or hiring anybody--I don't have any knowledge or information about why my bosses, my employer would hire Ray Lewis. So it ain't out of context. You asked and I gave you an answer, so if its not the one you want to hear, too bad...networks put big stars on TV...you object to that, fine. that's your right...But don't blame me because networks hire stars, some of them who you don't like. And OJ Simpson, since you brought him up, WAS on TV for years and years precisely because he was a big star...
Do you agree or disagree with Bob Knight's opinion regarding the Fab Five?
mike wilbon (2:22 PM)
I didn't hear it. Please share! I'm guessing Coach knight wasn't/isn't in love with the Fab Five??? Just a guess.
Mike (San Diego)
Beyonce....damn. That is all.
mike wilbon (2:25 PM)
I thought Beyonce was good...Alicia Keys, too...But not great...Shouldn't Beyonce have flip-flopped, meaning sing the National Anthem and lip-synch the halftime concert? Isn't it just too much to ask to dance/sing like that? Madonna couldn't really pull that off last year either...I don't know. I'm a big fan of Beyonce and have seen her in concert and LOVED her in concert...Didn't like the selection of a couple of songs either, though I did love getting to see a brief reunion of Destiny's Child...
Mike, honestly at the age of 37, no player in the world no matter how fit is coming back from a torn tricep in 2 months. People don't do that at 27. But without proper testing, and knowing he is retiring anyways, Ray Lewis could do whatever he wanted to get back. ZERO chance he was clean, and now he's a hero going out on top. Will only increase use of PEDs with the way he is treated.
mike wilbon (2:27 PM)
Good point...I don't know that YOU can know there's "ZERO chance" he was clean. You've got proof? But the point that he is going to retire and could do pretty much whatever he wanted because there would be no consequence is valid...if he did...Wonder what the league will say once its overall investigation of deer antler spray is concluded...
Wayne (Kansas City)
So, where are the conspiracy theorists right now? 2 theories and Wilbon, I don't expect you to agree with either one, but 1) the NFL flipped the switch on the power outage because the game was getting out of hand and they didn't want a BCS Championship-like blowout on their hands because they wanted the $$$$$. 2) It seems that wherever the 49ers go, power outages follow. It helped them win a game last year over the Steelers, why not try it again and see if they can come back and win the Super Bowl. I think the NFL didn't want one team blowing out the other and so why not let SF regroup with a "power outage". Come on, this stuff just doesn't happen. I know the Superdome may be an older building, but it's equipped with enough power to handle the electricity. Somebody cheated and the Ravens were clearly going to blow out SF. Nope, can't have that happen. (Just like SB III, can't have the NFL beating the AFL for the 3rd consecutive year!)
mike wilbon (2:30 PM)
You're right about one thing: I don't believe in conspiracy theories. I just don't. I don't buy one word of your carefully constructed theories...It would be good TV. Hell, it's good reading. You can turn some phrases pretty well, Wayne...It's just a leap of faith I'm not willing to take, but I know you're not alone. I know there are people out there who believe some version of what you do. I'm just not one of them...
Pistol Pete (NJ)
It seemed like the power outage really affected the ravens momentum and played a role in the niners rally. Is there any preventative measures the NFL/Stadium owners can take in the future to try and prevent this sort of thing from happening again?
mike wilbon (2:32 PM)
I'm sure the NFL will try...But the fact is it IS an old building and stuff happens...even at the Super Bowl, the greatest spectacle in American life. By the way, I DO think it helped the 49ers recover and I do think it added to the drama of the event...
Rob (San Antonio)
Not a fan of Ray, respect his game, but not a fan. On that note. CAN WE GIVE IT A REST FOLKS!
mike wilbon (2:33 PM)
Rob, bless you. You should see the ones I didn't publish, both against Ray and for him...You just got the final word today. This ain't the Ray Debate!
Thanks for chatting, Michael! What are your top compelling NBA stories now that the NFL season has come to an end?
mike wilbon (2:38 PM)
Ah, nice transition! Well, I don't think we're going to veer very far away from the Lakers and their struggles, Miami and whether anybody in the Eastern Conference can mount a respectable challenge, the Celtics and whether they can keep it up (4-0) without Rondo, how close Derrick Rose is to his old self when he comes back for the Bulls...I think they're pretty well defined...OH, let me now forget the Spurs and whether they can mount a real challenge to OKC...Other stuff could pop up, but I think that's where we are to start the second half...
Bob Knight (My opinion)
"Fab indicates to me, that you've won something"
mike wilbon (2:40 PM)
Well, that's fair comment...though the nickname was put on Michigan's freshman before they played a game. It spoke to the talent, not the results.
Knight said, "I'm not sure what the Fab Five was, They never won anything. They never won a championship, they didn't get anywhere, they got beat. Fab indicates, to me, that you've won something, I've never been able to understand what 'Fab' was, It wasn't championships, I always knew that". - I happen to agree with Knight's statement
mike wilbon (2:42 PM)
Thanks for the full comment...for those like me who didn't hear Coach Knight's comments live. Keep in mind, he was a rival as coach of Indiana all those years...speaking of objective vs. subjective...I have to go back and hear the tone of the comments, too...But certainly, his comments are accurate; nobody can dispute that.
Paul (Portland, OR)
I saw one bit of commentary that didn't agree with the fact that the power outage is what stopped Baltimore's momentum, since in theory, halftime should have stopped their momentum. Not sure whether I agree or not, but just sharing.
mike wilbon (2:43 PM)
Thank you for that!
James (Oceanside, CA)
With the rumors of KG being traded to the Clippers, how do you see that rotation working out ?
mike wilbon (2:46 PM)
My question--and I've heard that, too--is whether the Clippers think this slide they're in is because of Chris Paul's absence or whether the Clippers actually need another piece. Would you bench Jordan and put KG next to Blake Griffin? I guess...It's just that the Clippers were functioning so well as they are now, WITH CP3 in the lineup, of course. They're n othing without him...I guess the Celtics would HAVE to get Eric Bledsoe AND DeAndre Jordan, right? You put with them Green and Rondo and Avery Bradley and maybe you've got something nice...Do Bledsoe and Bradley mean you can think about trading Rondo for something big if he's healthy?
Michael, What odds do the Nuggets have to finish in the Top 4 of the WC and make the conference finals? Don't think they can beat OKC, but they are playing very good ball.
mike wilbon (2:50 PM)
The Nuggets are REALLY good at home and George Karl's teams tend to get better as the season progresses...I think we're looking at OKC/Spurs/Clippers obviosuly, and I can't decide between Memphis post-trade, Golden State and Denver...If Memphis had kept Rudy Gay I'd take the Grizzlies 4th, but I'm not so certain now. Golden State's health is always in question, whether Curry and Bogut (their ankles, actually) will hold up...It's quite a Western Conference top six...
mike wilbon (2:51 PM)
Okay, gotta run and prepare for PTI...Thanks for chatting everybody...See you next week in a basketball world, college and NBA...Thanks much...MW