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October 24, 1:30 PM ET
Chat with Michael Wilbon

mike wilbon
  (1:35 PM)

Hi everybody...We'll jump right into the NFL, the World Series, some college football and perhaps some lockout issues if there's interest!

Jerry Eastwood (Haslett, MI )

Wilbon, you ready for the two week hype of Alabama-LSU?

mike wilbon
  (1:38 PM)

Great question...and NO, I'm not ready for it. I think LSU and Alabama, in no certain order, are the best two teams in college football, from the best conference and that's all you can ask for midway through a football season. Yet, I'm not ready because I KNOW it'll all be overhyped. I watch a lot of college football, a ton, and my sense is that the college season simply isn't very good yet. Maybe it won't get to be any good. There aren't that many compelling story lines, there weren't any real notable upsets until Saturday...The Big Ten, my conference, stinks, which perhaps colors my perspective way too much. But the SEC isn't having one of its banner years. I'm looking forward to the game, I'll watch it...But the notion that it's a game-of-the-century that matches up with the best games of the last 25, 30 years to me is just faulty...

tdiddy (winnipeg) [via mobile]

Would you be a happy or sad Dolphins fan today? On one hand, cowher may coach next year and you might get Andrew Luck. On the other hand, you stink. I'm inclined to hope for next year.

mike wilbon
  (1:40 PM)

Wow, the Dolphins are stinky. As great as it was to watch Tim Tebow those last 6-8 minutes of the game, fact is the Dolphins held a 15-point lead with five minutes to play, at home, in a desperate situation considering they hadn't won...THEN CHOKED LIKE DOGS. Wow. Seriously, how bad can a team be? I guess you look forward to your new coach and new QB for next season. Thing is, Indy is so bad the new Dolphins QB could be Matt Barkley, which might be a great thing considering how good that kid looks. He's flying so far below the radar. Look, I'd rather be able to draft Andrew Luck for all the obvious reasons, but suppose Barkley is as good as he projects. miami/Indy/St. Louis all need something dramatic to turn around their fortunes.

BJ (NW Indiana)

As a Packers fan living in the Chicago area, I have a lot of Bear-fan friends. As Aaron Rodgers leads the undefeated Pack to an NFC North title, and more importantly, the fourth Packer QB MVP since 1995...how much am I allowed to berate them before it's considered cruel?P.S. Yes, this question was written both to torment Bears fans and get you to talk about the Packers

mike wilbon
  (1:44 PM)

If you follow my work, even a column I wrote last year during the NFC title game between the Bears and Packers, you'd know I don't have any problem talking Packers and writing about them...They're entirely praiseworthy and have the best QB in football. Yes, the best. Brady is higher on the historical ladder simply because three (rings) is more than one. BUT, if you ask me who my very first player is to start a franchise right now I'm going with Rodgers. Now, having slurped a Packer backer way too much let me say this...The Packers might be peaking too soon. it's almost too easy, the way they're winning. They're damn near perfect. Problem is, it's October...They look, well, Indy-like. The Lions have fallen off a bit but the Bears (you won't want to hear this) are coming on...the Niners are looking formidable...The Saints, I'm sure, would love a rematch...The Packers, without question, are the No. 1 team in football right now...but you might want to tone down the smile until at least the first of December...

Nick (corona) [via mobile]

You sir are a bum! You're the reason I stop watching PTI.

mike wilbon
  (1:44 PM)

Good! We don't want you anyway! Ha!

Jerry Eastwood (Haslett, MI )

Wilbon those Lions cannot stop the Run.

mike wilbon
  (1:45 PM)

The defense did look pretty flimsy against the run, didn't it? And that's 2 straight weeks, considering what Matt Forte did a week earlier...

Jerry Eastwood (Haslett, MI )

More Critical for the Cardinals in Game 5: Carpenter's Pitcher or Pujols's Hitting?

mike wilbon
  (1:46 PM)

If Carpenter gives up 2 or fewer, Pujols won't have to be a hero...In October you want pitching. Hitting is a wonderful bonus, especially when you've got Babe Ruth...But give me pitching. Look at last night's result!

Jerry Eastwood (Haslett, MI )

Wilbon have you seen a football team fall so far down like the Indianapolis Colts? Do you think they have a fragile mindset that without Payton Manning, they cannot simply win?

mike wilbon
  (1:49 PM)

Yes, I do. I know, it's amazing to think that one player on a football team who has nothing to do with two-thirds of the team (defense and special teams) could so dramatically impact the entire team...But Payton does impact the D...by keeping the other team's offense on the sideline. It's amazing...That wasn't the case when Brady missed the entire season (well, he got hurt in the first game, didn't he?) and the Patriots won 10 or 11 games. Thing is, Peyton seems to be the most important person in the Colts franchise, while Belichick, not Brady, seems to be the personality that drives the Patriots...Maybe I'm oversimplifying, but isn't it amazing how fragile the Colts players are, like they're simply defeated before they even leave the locker room. You shouldn't give up 62 no matter what.

Kyle (Lock Haven PA)

Joe Torre booze ban talk, is it too little too late, just at the right time, or totally pointless?

mike wilbon
  (1:51 PM)

Total overreaction. Hasn't there been booze in major league clubhouses for 120 years? If the answer is yes, stop with the impact it'll have on "the kids." The kids aren't in the damn clubhouse. They don't any idea what's in there. Just don't drink during the games if you're an active player. Period. Otherwise, there's food and drink all over the clubhouse. I've seen it with my own eyes...The spread every night is a Thanksgiving feast, for crying out loud. Don't tell me you have to do away with booze...And I barely drink and want alcohol banned from stadiums and arenas. I'm really, really down on stadium drinking. But the clubhouse? Seriously?

Jerry Eastwood (Haslett, MI )

Is it time for the NFL to get rid of these sorry games in London? I mean I am pretty sure you aren't happy Wilbon this game couldn't be played at Soldier Field!

mike wilbon
  (1:56 PM)

The game in London is a waste. The Glazer family, which owns the Buccaneers, is happy because that family also owns Manchester United so for them it's a crazy mad marketing opportunity. It's branding heaven for the Glazers. For everybody else it is a waste of time. The game didn't sell out and everybody except the Bucs would have been better served if the game was in Tampa Bay or Chicago...Europeans don't give a damn about American football; we know this anecdotally. I have friends in London who laugh about this game, the NFL trying to force "American Gridiron" on Western Europe, which already rejected NFL Europe...It works in places where we have a ton of servicemen and women stationed...Otherwise? Please. Pro football is this nation's pasttime. Nobody else cares or understands the game. it's not soccer, it's not basketball, it's not even baseball. Only Americans want American football. We don't need to export it. They NFL and its owners make enough money. But to sell a few t-shirts, it's going back to London again...that you can bet on.

Brian (New Orleans)

Has your son turned into a knucklehead yet?

mike wilbon
  (1:58 PM)

Oh yeah...Absolutely. He's 3 1/2 so he's in prime knucklehead zone right now. The thing that makes me happy now (as only a dad with a young son can be) is that my enemies are his. Whenever he sees the Packers he says, "We hate the Packers, don't we dad?" Same with the Cardinals...All the enemies of Chicago who right now are the best in sports at what they do, certainly better than their Chicago counterparts that he roots for because Dad does....Thankfully, he doesn't know that yet!

PA (Chicago)

Mr. Wilbon, what are your thoughts on the Redskins and how Shanahan had the quick hook for Rex? As Bears fans, we both knew games like last week's were inevitable, but shouldn't shanny have stolen a line fromm Lovie and said "Rex is our quarterback." instead of yanking him 1/3 of the way into the season for an unproven backup? Just wondering what you thought. Thanks.

mike wilbon
  (2:01 PM)

Oh, you are ON THE MONEY PA...Genius can certainly get in the way. The best chance the Redskins had to win that game yesterday was Rex atoning for his last start by having a 3TD, 350-yard passing performance, which we know he can do because he's done it already this season...a couple of times, right? But Shanny has to coach 'em up, so he overreacted and benched a guy who was 3-2 instead of sticking with him...The Redskins had NO CHANCE to win that game when they trotted Beck out there and have little chance to beat Buffalo Sunday...Rex throws picks. That's what he does. You have to live with it. He also can have huge games with a QB rating of 120...He does that, too.

Brian (New Orleans)

With Oklahoma going down this weekend, you do you think should face the winner of LSU/Alabama (if in fact all possible contenders go undefeated)?

mike wilbon
  (2:03 PM)

Boise State. if you need big-name BCS teams, most of whom are overrated, don't ever ask me that question. I picked Boise State to win the championship this season and I'm sure as good as LSU and Alabama are each would just as soon not face Boise. They never want to play Boise. The last time Alabama played a little team it expected to roll in a big bowl game, the Tide got rolled...by Utah I believe...The SEC is THE BEST conference, no doubt. But they're Floyd Mayweather and Boise is PacMan in this instance. They'd rather just avoid 'em. Sad college sports has come to be the same as professional boxing.

PA (Chicago)

Agreed. If you can't handle the up and down Rex will give you throughout the season, you never should have started him in the first place. It's not like Beck was out there ripping it up.

mike wilbon
  (2:04 PM)

How many times as Beck been the starting QB on a Super Bowl team?

DC (DC)

Does the Colts' performance this year suggest that Peyton Manning is perhaps the best football player of all time? He seems to be single-handedly the difference between Superbowl contender, and worst team in the league. Amazing.

mike wilbon
  (2:04 PM)

He's the most important player for that team and that franchise, period. There's no need to overstate it beyond that.

Jerry Eastwood (Haslett, MI )

Can you see Bill Cowher going to Miami this off-season?

mike wilbon
  (2:05 PM)

Seems to me we keep waiting on Cower and now Jon Gruden and seems to me neither wants to coach, that each man is happy with what he's doing, that perhaps they understand the stress associated with coaching better than we do. There are plenty of people out there who want to coach and who are damn good at it. I'd leave Cower alone. Gruden too. Maybe Gruden is the new Madden and he's never going back to the sideline?

Jerry Eastwood (Haslett, MI )

Also Wilbon, you need to give some love to Tony Gonzalez. Moved to second place all time on the receptions list.

mike wilbon
  (2:07 PM)

Get with the program, Son. I do all the time. I love Tony Gonzales...He'll be on the short list of greatest tight ends of all-time, right there with John Mackey, Kellen Winslow, Mike Ditka, Ozzie Newsome, Shannon Sharpe...Who did I leave out?

Jerry Eastwood (Haslett, MI )

How cool was it for the New Orleans fans to stand and salute Sean Payton in the booth during that game last night?

mike wilbon
  (2:08 PM)

It was expected. What, you'd thought they'd boo the greatest coach in the history of the franchise, a guy who won them their only Super Bowl?

Flemming (Copenhagen, Denmark)

Europeans don't give a damn about American football.........that is just plain wrong.

mike wilbon
  (2:10 PM)

It's way way way down the list and you don't want to seriously debate this, do you? It's soccer, Bro. And after that Rugby and after that golf...And in Spain and France and throughout Eastern Europe, specifically Russia and all the places that were formerly part of Russia, it's basketball. Please, don't go there with me. I've covered sporting events in Europe and travel to Europe as a tourist and as a journalist. By and large people could care less about American football, if they are even aware of it. Stop, don't be a contrarian just because you seem to love football. I love it to. Ask the empty seats in the stadium yesterday if they love American football.

Bryan (Springdale, AR)

Could you tell me what you would say if you had 5 minutes alone with Derek Fisher, Billy Hunter, David Stern, and that Silver guy.

mike wilbon
  (2:14 PM)

Ha! Hey, I like Adam Silver! I'd say what I wrote on ESPN.com last week, which is essentially this. "You guys are all self-consumed and people are looking at you like you're idiots. A great many of the people you call your patrons are trying to hold onto their jobs, their homes, their families. Their savings are wiped out, their 401Ks. Unemployment is above 9 percent and indicators are we're about to go back into a second recession in the last five years. You can't be so oblivious that you think it's okay to cease operation becasue you can't divvy up $4 billion. You are all formally educated people, bright men. Surely you know the nation isn't in the mood for this stupid debate." And then I'd walk out of the room, truly disgusted.

Jerry Eastwood (Haslett, MI )

Wilbon, halfway through the chat and you haven't even mentioned the great Michigan State-Wisconsin game and how you called Wisconsin to lose all week.

mike wilbon
  (2:16 PM)

I don't want to gloat too much! Well, a little. Look, Wisconsin showed HUGE heart in the game, coming from 14-down late to tie...It looked like OT, didn't it. That Hail Mary of 44 yards was an all-timer and it's going to cost Wisconsin a shot at the national title. Look, I wasn't rooting for the Badgers to lose; I just thought Michigan State would beat them, and close as it was, the Spartans did that. What a game.

PA (Chicago)

You think the Bears win that game if it's in TB?

mike wilbon
  (2:17 PM)

Great question...Probably not. I thought Tampa was going to win the game in London...Glad I was wrong. But great question/point. Hope the Glazer family feels the trip was worth the L.

Limey (O'er the Ocean)

Wilbon, where's the dap for Manchester City? Did you see their dominant 6-1 drubbing of Man United?

mike wilbon
  (2:18 PM)

Did I see it? No. I saw far less than I usually would on an October weekend. Homecoming weekend at my alma mater, Northwestern, consumed 90 percent of my time, including the Penn State 34-24 victory over my boys in Evanston...(Goodness, we can't stop anybody)...Anyway, Big Ups to Man City...Boy, tough weekend for the Glazer family, huh?

Adam (Toronto)

Why don't you ever answer questions from Canada?!?

mike wilbon
  (2:19 PM)

Because I like to systematically skip the questions from Canada! (if you think I look at the city and not the content of the question, pal, you'd be sadly mistaken!)

Jerry Eastwood (Haslett, MI )

How does the NHL take advantage of the NBA Lockout and how can they get more people and casual fans to watch their sport.

mike wilbon
  (2:20 PM)

They'll get a little bounce...But largely, the fan bases probably aren't the same. There are some cities with big overlap, like New York, Philly, Chicago, Los Angeles...But in most cases, like Washington even, the people who support the basketball team aren't hockey fans, have no interest and might attend a game or two, just to get the in-arena experience...But mostly, they want basketball and don't see hockey as a substitute...

Jerry Eastwood (Haslett, MI )

Where do you rank Brian Urlacher as an all-time Bears greats? I guarantee you already have him behing Walter and Ditka.

mike wilbon
  (2:30 PM)

Everybody has him behind Walter and Ditka because he's BEHIND Walter and Ditka. Look, I know Brian, like him tremendously, and think he's in the discussion for all-time Bears...But don't get all modern on me and forget about people who won championships like Richard Dent and Dan Hampton, or guys from the 40s and 50s when the Bears were true Monsters of the Midway...Remember, the Bears have something like 27 Hall of Famers, players including Doug Atkins, George Connor, Red Grange for crying out loud, Ed Healey, Stan Jones, Sid Luckman...We can go back to the 1930s and 40s and talk about Bronco Nagurski...There was George McAfee, Bulldog Turner...And remember a couple of guys named Sayers and Butkus. I LOVE Brian Urlacher, but nobody who has been around football for both would tell you he's Butkus. Did I even mention Singletary, who some coaches think is the greatest modern day middle linebacker? It's a long, long list of great players...Just because you didn't see them play or are unaware of their careers doesn't mean those careers didn't exist or should somehow be dimished because they weren't on the Red Zone... I think winning a championship then puts Urlacher higher up the ladder. That's why I get ticked if it looks like the front office didn't improve the team in a specific off-season and thereby wastes what's left of Urlacher's brilliant career. He deserves the best effort of the executives fielding the team...

Jerry Eastwood (Haslett, MI )

When the NBA comes back, do you think Jimmer Fredette will be the savior for the Sacramento Kings and do you think he will be able to handle these expectations.

mike wilbon
  (2:31 PM)

One 6-foot-3 jump shooter is going to save the Sacramento Kings? Really? Just stop and think about what you're asking. Kobe Bryant, a few years ago, missed the playoffs with the Lakers. Missed the playoffs entirely. And you want a jump shooting guard to save the Kings? Why would you even suggest that?

jc (md)

Has David Stern done anything right as NBA commissioner? Seems that the league has been in a downward spiral for years...

mike wilbon
  (2:32 PM)

What? The league is coming off a huge increase in popularity, using any indicator, from ticket sales to ratings...What are you talking about? Now, you can attribute that to LeBron and what he did last summer, which created unprecedented interest coming into the last season...But saying the league has been in a downward spiral for years just tells me you're not paying attention and just want to rip the NBA without the facts.

PA (Chicago)

Speaking of the NBA lockout, how can grown men sit in a room together for 16 hours and make no progress? Then meet again 2 more days in a row and get nowhere? That seems impossible. What were they doing the whole time?

mike wilbon
  (2:35 PM)

They didn't make "no" progress. They settled a number of issues that have to be settled to get a CBA...They made no progress on the issue of basketball related revenue...That's the No. 1 item. I think the mediator got them in a spirit of cooperation by fostering agreement in the room...they signed off, we're told, on most all of the "other" stuff, things that have to be settled to get a deal...then tried to attack the big issue and got nowhere, stoned. I like the approach, even if it didn't yield anything on the one issue that is so separating the two sides that we won't have hoops for awhile.

Vinnie (ATL)

Wembley does the wave every year. All you need to know about Europeans and American football.

mike wilbon
  (2:35 PM)

thanks for that!

wayne (va bch)

Dude, you've answered seven (7!) of Jerry Eastwood's questions!I miss Ralph Wiley...do you have any good stories?

mike wilbon
  (2:40 PM)

Wow, I miss Ralph, too. I really do. I think about him all the time. Good stories that I can tell (LOL)? I'll tell you this, which is personal more than anything else. When The Washington Post first made me an ocassional columnist in 1988 or whatever it was, I'd write often for the Saturday newspaper...That was a smart move by my boss, George Solomon the former sports editor of The Post...The Saturday newspaper is and always has been the least read issue of the week. Anyway, I'd go work out or wake up at noon or something, and I'd have a 3-minute message on the old answering machines that had actual tape...Ralph would critique the entire column and he'd praise or rip my butt, nit-pick, the voice version of carving up the column with red ink. On his own. Uninvited. The first 2 or 3 times I'd think, "Who the hell does this guy think he is?" Ralph had been my mentor and he wasn't going to let me slide. He wanted me to the best best columnist I could be. I owe him and Kornheiser for that, for putting a foot in my #$% when they thought it necessary...I miss Ralph every day, his wit and friendship, his anger and edge, his intellect...There will never be another.

Mike (Chicago)

Definite lock-out interest here Wilbon. Would you agree with that statement "It's the owner world, we all just live in it". To me, this is becoming increasinly clear and obvious. I understand the player's position, they just want to be treated fair and with respect for what they bring to the equation, however life's not fair and there's no better deal to be reached by prolonging the lockout.

mike wilbon
  (2:42 PM)

Ah, yeah. That's pretty much it. And I don't know who out there, even those who might look favorably on the players' arguments, would say the players aren't being treated "fairly." In the context of the world we live in now? In this world economy? What, the 10th man on the team has a "right" to a $5 million guarantee? Sorry, I don't think "fairness" has any play here. How about an owner who thinks "fairness" would allow him to not lose millions every year? People are going to find it really, really, really hard to swallow that these two sides can't split it up 50-50...

Mark (Baltimore)

Who u got, sapp or barkley in their race?

mike wilbon
  (2:43 PM)

Sapp is what, seven or eight years younger? And he's played more recently? Hmmmm.

Mitch (NC)

Can I be your plus 1 if you go to the Carrier Classic? I'm an Iraq vet, I'll be security/right hand man.

mike wilbon
  (2:45 PM)

I should go and carry your bag! I'm honored, but getting to the Carrier Classic, which I've done in the past, is something that's almost impossible to do now with the schedule. But let's figure out something...Some arrangements can and should be made for an Iraq vet...I wouldn't deserve such honorable security, trust me, but you deserve and have earned the seat at some good basketball games...Let's work on this!

mike wilbon
  (2:46 PM)

Okay, I gotta run guys. TK is chomping at the bit to start prep for PTI...Thanks for chatting...We'll do it again Monday...MW