Wilbon, how frustrating is it to see the massive differential between the Bears Passing game to the running game the past two weeks? 95 passes to 20 runs.
Hi Everybody! I'm still in Chicago, following the Packers-Bears game last night, so we'll jump right into the aftermath of that game...Yeah, for a franchise that has had at least four of the greatest running backs of all-time (Grange, Nagurski, Sayers, Payton) plus other a tradition of running the ball with men like Willie Galimore and Brian Piccolo, it's hard to watch them be totally inept at running the ball. But this isn't the fault of the RB, in this case Matt Forte. It's the fault, largely, of an OL which isn't up to the task, and that's the fault mostly of the GM Jerry Angelo, which I wrote in a column now on ESPNChicago.com...The line struggled last season and wasn't upgraded, and now this is what the Bears have, a line that often can't protect Jay Cutler and struggles to run block...Sad state of affairs, and Cutler was dead-on when he suggested the Bears have to figure out how to run the ball if the offense is going to be any good.
Hey Michael, is Jerry Angelo on the hot seat? No losses seem more symbolic of personnel issues than these last two.
I don't know about hot seat. He did put together an NFC Championship game team last season, and a Super Bowl roster in 2006...He didn't do a good job this summer. Criticism of Angelo, I think, is fine...but suggesting he's on the hot seat is a little further than I'd go...
Can someone answer definitively for me? Did Tom Brady walk off the field without shaking Ryan Fitzpatrick's hand after the loss in Buffalo on Sunday? As I watched NFL RedZone it appeared that was the case...If so, that is classless, and being a total crybaby like his Head Coach but they are both media darlings for all media and get treated as if they should be mentioned in the Bible by all media...Of course Brady's post game press conference was dismissive and in total denial as usual. Its not just about wins or losses, it also about character and integrity and neither The Head Coach or Brady have those traits...Hell, Brady should go over and shake Fitz's hand just because he graduated from Harvard and has a near perfect SAT score!
Since I was in Soldier Field and turned away from Buffalo-New England as soon as the Bills FG was good, I didn't know about this...You say this quite eloquently. If it's true that Brady snubbed Fitz, he deserves to be popped publicly...thanks for introducing the subject and addressing it quite passionately.
Wilbon, Michael Vick's comments - fair or foul?
Fair. He and Roethlisberger get blasted all the time and don't receive those benefit-of-the-doubt flags that Brady and Manning and Brees and Rivers and E. Manning get. I don't understand it. Vick has been blasted over and over WHILE IN THE POCKET, not while running or even appearing to run and NOTHING. I'm entirely with him. And I'm not an Eagles fan...I just wind up wondering the exact same thing when watching the games. I get Vick's frustration. The game's a joke now, with the way QBs are protected. But even within the QB profession some guys are treated better than others. Perhaps the off-field troubles Vick and Big Ben have had means they're not welcome in the inner circle of favoritism. I'm being sarcastic, a little anyway. I hope this isn't the case, but what is it about then?
Are u ever wrong?
Hell yeah. I picked the Bears to beat the Packers yesterday...You're clearly new to my work. One thing Tony and I ALWAYS do and have for 30 years is start, when necessary, by saying, "I was wrong." People in sports media and people in sports should do it more often. it should be a regular part of the discourse. But I ain't wrong about the Lions and Buccaneers, so far, am I? HA! (I also gloat on occasion!)
Michael, what is your take on how division clinchers should finish out the year - they have earned the right to rest their players and get ready for the post season, or they owe it to the integrity of the sport to play out the season with their studs to win every single game?
I'm torn. I think the Yankees, if we just deal with this season, have been throwing a serious effort out there against the Rays and Red Sox. Philly? Hmmm, maybe not so much. The Nationals just took the Phils apart there last week. I think the division champs have to strike a balance, between resting the regulars (starting pitchers, first) and protecting the integrity of the game. It's not an exact science.
Love your work Michael. Right now I need to be talked down from the ledge. Give me some sort of hope that Atlanta gets into the playoffs and doesn't collapse.
Wow, there is no guarantee of course. The Braves and Red Sox are really dangling, aren't they? The excitement of the final three days has got to be agonizing for fans of all the teams involved. Our thrill is your anxiety, I get it.
I read your piece on the Big East. Syracuse and Pitt are more of basketball schools than football schools at this point. Why allow football to make the decisions?
Because they THINK they're all football schools, and they want to be football schools because football makes SOOOOOO much money, so much more in 90 percent of the cases than basaketball. North Carolina is a basketball school, but I bet they don't vote like it. Same for Maryland. Syracuse hasn't been a football school since Jim Brown graduated in 1956 or whatever it was. But they all want a big slice of that big pie, not the little pie, the HUGE one that has all that TV, conference, gate and bowl money...
Are you buying Vick's claim that he doesn't get the late hit calls that other QB's do?
Yes! Look at my earlier answer...
How about those bills? do you think that Buffalo is for real? I dont know how many more of these comeback games I can take!
I don't know if the Bills are for real; every year there are a couple of teams that start fast and fade...BUT, the Bills are probably the most exciting team in the league right now. The back-to-back games with Oakland and New England are arguably the 2 most exciting games of the season. If they're 6-2 at the halfway point, they're for real...Same goes for Detroit and the Redskins...
That fake out punt return by Knox and Hester yesterday was probably one of the coolest NFL plays I have ever seen. The refs were so confused they had to make up a penalty because surely something illegal must have happened for 10 guys to run to the complete opposite side of the field from where the ball was!
The officials on the field simply blew the call. They had no call. What a joke. That could have wound up being the play-of-the-season on special teams in the NFL. What a wow play. The Bears return teams, punt and kickoff, are unbelievably well-coached, so creative...Kudos. They should have had an on-sides kick to try and recover to win the game in the final minute...To call a penalty there was, well, a bad piece of officiating.
Would you have thought through the first three weeks, the Bills, Redskins, Raiders and Lions would be leading or tied for the division lead?
I have the Raiders going to the playoffs and I have the Lions going 9-7 or 10-6, so yeah...The Redskins and Bills? Not so much.
Michael, how do you feel about rating NBA players based on winning titles? NBAtv has been playing a lot of past Finals games, and I don't see how Barkley's Suns falling to a berzerker Jordan (42 pts/gm?!?!) and two last second shots (MJ in game 4 and Paxson in game 6) makes them a worse team than last year's Mavs or Barkley (who average 26 points per game with an injured shooting elbow) a worse player than Dirk. But that's what most people will wind up believing based on jewelry. For that matter the Suns took the champion Rockets to 7 games each of the next two years...
I rarely worry about something this out-of-season, but a few people I know have been watching these old games on NBA TV and talking about 'em...Charles once had, I think, a 47-point, 24-rebound Game 7 in the conference finals...I think I have that stat right. Are you kidding? Who in the NBA could even do that now in a Game 7? Seriously. The Suns' problem in those years, however, is they blew a 3-1 lead and I think another 2-0 lead...Charles Barkley, regardless of what any knucklehead says, was a GREAT, GREAT player, better than Dirk, and Dirk is great. But winning is the goal, winning is the objective, winning is what the culture values...Close calls wind up being just that, close calls.
It's kind of interesting that the two quarterbacks who dont get many calls are the two quarterbacks who have had some problems in the past?
Yeah, a ton of people are pointing this out. Makes you wonder. Big Ben has been my favorite QB in the league for the past three, four years...He takes unbelievable shots and nothing is called. If he said the same things Vick said I'd back him 100 percent, too.
How do you think Cam Newton and my Panthers will fare against your beloved Bears this weekend?
I think it's possible the Bears defense can confuse Cam. That's the goal of a sophisticated defense when facing a rookie QB who's bold and certain he can aggressively get the ball downfield. Look, Cam may go for 400 yards against the Bears, but I expect the Bears to intercept him at least twice...This becomes, at 1-2, a pretty huge game for the Bears if they have any aspirations this season.
Mike, for all the Yanks talk about hating the Sawx, don't we think they'll play hard against Tampa because they want NO PIECE of the Rays in the playoffs, and would much rather play the depleted, running-on-fumes Red Sox team?
Actually, if I'm the Yanks I want to get rid of the Red Sox, first and foremost. Ask the Bears if they'd like to win that game in Week 17 of the regular season up in Green Bay last January that would have prevented the Packers from making the playoffs. When you can kill a rival, kill your rival. The most bitter loss in Yankees history has to be blowing that 3-0 lead to the Red Sox in 2004, right? I don't think the Yankees care at all about the Rays.
How much longer does Tony Sparano have?
As Richard Pryor used to say, "How long? Not long." The owner there was looking at replacing him over the off-season, remember...
Do you think that the introduction of "super conferences" may diminish the power of the BCS, leading to a true college football tournament sooner than expected?
It would probably lead to a playoff, yes, and it's the only reason I'm okay with the threat of the Super Conferences, a December Madness...or January...
Hi Mike - when will we see basketball again? (NBA I mean..)
mid-February maybe. I think it'll come down to the wire just like it did in 1999 when Billy Hunter and David Stern ironed out an agreement in the 11th hour to save that season in February...These sides aren't even close to close. Forget November. Christmas is the earliest I can see a season beginning.
ooops, the question was "When do you think we'll see NBA Basketball again?"
So, uh, you gonna pick a winner for tonite 'Boys/'Skins game or just leave me hangin'?
Redskins. Cowboys are too injured.
What up Mike, I remember last week you said you were gonna watch the Playboy Club, thoughts? Any new shows that have caught your eye?
Playboy Club was "okay" to me, but everybody seems to hate it and I can't imagine the show overcoming all that negative energy. It had zero momentum, it seemed to me. I LOVED Pan Am last night. The two are similar but Pan Am was much better executed, from the writing to the music...Loved it. I've only sampled those two...I'm a scripted drama guy...Hate that Law & Order SVU is going off because I'm a big Mariska Hargitay fan...So I watched that season premiere...I TiVo'd that Maria Bello show but haven't watched it yet...Might get into Revenge but didn't see the opening episode of that either.
Looks like Northwesterns alum, Mike Kafka, will be starting next week. How do you think he will do these next few weeks?
I'm rooting for Kafka, but it's going to be a struggle...He's got a big arm and is athletic but this is a tough position to be in.
Why are NBA players so dead set against a "hard" salary cap? I don't usually side with ownership in labor disputes, but a hard cap would be good for the game, that's pretty obvious. And if it grows overall revenues, then the players will wind up with more money anyway!
"Good for the Game" doesn't mean "Players get rich" does it? If whatever industry you work in would be better off if you made less money would you be in favor of it? No, I didn't think so.
Do you think Tony Gonzalez will go down as the best Tight End in the NFL of all-times?
No. Kellen Winslow is the best tight end who ever lived, in my opinion. I only saw the end of John Mackey and I know people 10 years older than me would say "Shut up, fool" and I would respect that. Mackey, Winslow, Ditka would be at the top of my list, I think, and Ozzie Newsome right there with Tony G., who should make it into the HOF on the very first ballot. He's been a phenomenal player for so many years.
if the skins win tonite, do they still have a chance of going 9-7 or 10-6 ?
At 3-0, you're asking, does a team "have a chance" of then going 6-7 the rest of the season? Uh, yeah. Let's just see what happens tonight before we start counting Ws the rest of the season for a Redskins team that has been 2-0 before recently and done nothing after that...
AL wild card. Who gets it?
Red Sox. I don't trust the Orioles to keep the Red Sox out. I think last night's 14-inning win was the turning point for Boston.
Wilbon, thank you for putting the classic Big Finish at the end of PTI, rather than putting it into Sportscenter.
Don't thank me. I don't have anything to do with programming. Surely you don't think talking heads on TV make decisions on when stuff runs! I think the Big Finish is out of SportsCenter altogether now. We do a separate block for SportsCenter, but the Big Finish has been out for weeks.
The Maria Bello show was AWFUL
Was it really? C'mon! I still gotta watch.
Who's better looking you or Tony?
You actually spend time wondering about that? Seriously?
Seems to me that the owners have the leverage in the NBA negotiations, right? For the most part, they seem to have the means to hold out a bit longer than many of the players - and they can swing the 'contraction' stick whenever they need to. Or am I missing something?
I don't think you're missing anything. I think you're right and the owners, the longer they hold out, are going to get more of what they want...Not everything, but more.
What is the one positional need, you feel Wilbon, that the Cubs need to address right away in the off-season?
One need? Are you kidding? Is it mean if I say "Manager."
How about your boy World Metta Peace, get eliminated first from Dancing with the Stars?
He was terrible. Did you see him. I love Ron, but he was awful. Isn't Ricki Lake going to wind up winning? I've gone from luke warm on Hope Solo to being a groupie...
it pretty much sucks to be Kansas in all this superconference talk. What about KU to the ACC?
I hate that as much as I do Syracuse to the ACC. It stinks. I guess I could live with a Basketball Superconference if it comes to that...
Okay, I gotta run and prepare for PTI before hopping on a flight back east. Thanks for chatting everybody. Hope you have a good week. See you Monday!