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November 7, 1:30 PM ET
Chat with Michael Wilbon

mike wilbon
  (1:58 PM)

Hi everybody...I'm very, very, very sorry to start so late...Ran into travel issues getting to Philadelphia for MNF game today...We'll jump right into the LSU-Bama game, the NFL's extraordinary day yesterday, NBA drama on the labor front and whatever folks want to get into, including, sadly, the mess at Penn State...

Sarah (IL)

I think the Bears should bring in Moss and/or Owens....Forte can not continue to be the entire team's offense and their current WR are nothing special

mike wilbon
  (2:02 PM)

Well, I am here for Bears-Eagles so it's appropriate to start with a Bears question...I was for--and wrote on ESPNChicago.com a couple of weeks ago--that the Bears should sign T.O. for just the reason you state, that Forte canNOT carry this kind of load the entire season if the Bears want to be a serious contender down the stretch and into the playoffs...It would help Jay Cutler immeasurably to have that kind of weapon, help Forte, at a time when scoring is at a premium in the NFL...But if you follow the Bears as I have all my life, you know it just isn't the way they approach their business...But it's fun to agitate...

Jerry Eastwood (Haslett, MI )

Could you have asked for a better defensive football weekend with LSU-Alabama and Steelers-Ravens? A combined ten field goals!

mike wilbon
  (2:05 PM)

Glad you brought this up! One of those games I loved, one bored me to tears...Steelers-Ravens, featuring the two best defenses on the planet, still had quite a few moments where those great defenses were CHALLENGED by terrific offense. Flacco and Big Ben were held down for the most part but they really performed with the game on the line, each of them. in Alabama-LSU both teams relied on great defenses, yes, but both are offensively challenged. Neither has a creative offense, nothing imaginative. Nick Saban didn't even try to score late in the game; he was content to wait for OT. I just think the LSU-Alabama game was nothing more than a light appetizer for the NFL games yesterday, which were fabulous!

Jerry Eastwood (Haslett, MI )

Do you think Norv Turner will be out in San Diego if they don't make the playoffs or lose in the first round?

mike wilbon
  (2:08 PM)

Great question...I still think the Chargers will win that division, even though they're taking their annual snooze right now. They're napping, yes, but so are the Raiders and Chiefs...Nobody in that division can really be trusted, so I figure the Chargers will wake up at some point, probably at 7-7, win the last two games to go 9-7 and take the division. They've done it that way before...Remember, as it concerns Norv, there are other times we thought he was in big trouble and stayed on...so I don't know this will be any different...

Jerry Eastwood (Haslett, MI )

Sad news came accross that Joe Frazier doesn't have much longer to live. Your thoughts on his legacy?

mike wilbon
  (2:11 PM)

It is very sad...Joe Frazier will be remembered as the heavyweight with perhaps the greatest left hook ever, except for the much more compact left thrown by Joe Louis...The Brown Bomber's was really more an uppercut. Anyway, Frazier's defining moments will be those fights with Muhammad Ali, the first that for many of us were defining moments in our lives. The first one divided a nation in a way no single sporting event affects America now...If you have a chance to catch the documentary "A Nation Divided" (I think that's the name) do it, by all means. Ali was an absolute god to me, but he denigrated Frazier in a way that demeaned Joe his entire life, in a way Frazier never got over. I wonder if Ali ever understood the full measure of what happened...

mike wilbon
  (2:14 PM)

...Frazier was one of the great heavyweights of ALL-TIME...not as overpower as Jack Johnson, not as flamboyant as Ali, as powerful as Marciano or as graceful as Dempsey. But Frazier stood in there with Ali and delivered one of the great left hooks in history (the one that knocked Ali down and broke his jaw in MSG, the first fight of the trilogy), then suffered more damage than a man should ever in the Thrilla in Manilla...So, so sad to hear the news about joe...

Sonia (Ca)

Can we have an all Timmy Tebow chat?

mike wilbon
  (2:18 PM)

We should, shouldn't we? Tebow seems, to me, like one of those guys who since he was 10 years old was told he couldn't do something but did it anyway. He's the guy who never had the biggest arm or the smoothest throwing motion in whatever was being played at the time, but always led his team anyway...I admit, I LOVE Tebow...find him irresistible. Yesterday was the first time when I thought John Fox and his staff were actually trying to help the kid, as if they woke up and thought, "Okay, he's ours, for better or worse, let's help him try and win this game." And he did. Look, I'm not gonng sit here and swear that he's going to be a great QB or win a bunch of championships; I don't believe that, actually. But this notion that he can't play QB in the NFL...I don't believe that either. I think, like lots of guys, he's somewhere in the middle. I just hope he at some point finds a staff that's imaginative enough to create an offense he (and guys like him) might use to some success in the NFL...

Jerry Eastwood (Haslett, MI )

Who has meant more to their team: Dalton with Cincinnati or Harbaugh with San Francisco?

mike wilbon
  (2:20 PM)

Wow, you get my standing O for best question of the day so far...Answer is Harbaugh. Look, Dalton has been fabulous. But the defense has been in the top 3 in the league so the Bengals might have been a .500 team even with Carson Palmer back there...Harbaugh has taken the same roster that produced diddly last year and has the 49ers with the second-best record in the NFC. San Francisco is a virtual lock for a bye into the second round. Alex Smith, who people wanted out, looks perfectly serviceable and everything the 49ers are doing looks credible. Dalton is going to give Cam Newtown all he wants for rookie-of-the-year if the Bengals keep rolling like this...They've both been great.

DT (Washington, DC)

How do you think things will go down for Penn State? The more I read (and I am keeping it to a limited amount as what I have read is horrible) the worse it gets and it isn't getting better anytime soon. How does something like this affect recruiting as opposed to the usual NCAA infractions (cash, cars, etc., etc.)?

mike wilbon
  (2:24 PM)

I must tell you, I didn't read any of it until midnight last night because it IS indeed so unthinkably awful. I just didn't want to deal with it the entire day so I left the stories (from the New York Times and The Washington Post) on the desk until I was calling it a day. I'll admit, I don't care about recruiting or any affect it might (will) have on Penn State. I suppose teams will bring it up, and I also presume Penn State will say this entire scandal and shame belong to a coach who was no longer under their employ, so it shouldn't affect them. Either way, I don't care. My thoughts are with the boys involved and their parents. I'm the father of a young boy and I can't even imagine the emotional storm within those children and their families, the trauma that is impossible to wipe away...And it seems it's always easier to prey on children in need of guidance, including Foster children...

mike wilbon
  (2:26 PM)

...I don't know if Joe Paterno should be held more accountable. I'm not going out there like some of my colleagues and demand he be fired or resign. There's too much I don't know...Paterno met his legal obligation by reporting what he was told to a superior...Did he have a greater moral obligation as the most important, most revered and adored man in the state of Pennsylvania? Should he have picked up the phone and called the head of Pennsylvania Law Enforcement, who obviously would have taken his call? I don't know. I don't know. I have a problem with anybody who claims to absolutely know anything...It's too hard, too sad, too tragic...

Dr. H. Doofenshmirtz (Tri-State Area)

How cool would it be if the Harbaugh boys faced each other in the Super Bowl?

mike wilbon
  (2:33 PM)

well, we'll get a preview Thanksgiving night when the 49ers and Ravens play each other, I believe in Baltimore...I guess it's possible they could have a February rematch, but the Packers and Jets are going to have a lot to say about that, right!

Mike (Evanston)

Northwestern 28, Nebraska 25. Discuss.

mike wilbon
  (2:37 PM)

Stunner. No way I thought we'd beat Nebraska in Lincoln, especially after we lost our starting QB, Dan Persa, early in the game to a shoulder injury. The Northwestern defense, which has been fairly maligned, played fabulously. The offense, with Colter running, throwing and catching, was great...One of my close friends, from Nebraska and a Cornhusker booster who watched with a discerning eye, says Pellini was bested by Pat Fitzgerald...All I know is as Saturday afternoons go, this was one of my favorites in 35 years of following Northwestern...Now, we need to beat Rice, Minnesota and Michigan State (all at home, in Evanston) to reach a bowl game...I'm trying to focus on that instead of the blown double-digit leads against Illinois, Michigan and Penn State...

Dr. H. Doofenshmirtz (Tri-State Area)

Do the Packers go undefeated in the regular season?

mike wilbon
  (2:38 PM)

No...I think they lose Thanksgiving Day in Detroit to the Lions...They'll go 14-2 probably...What I wonder about with the Packers is how long they can sustain this level of play. It's awfully early...

Jon (Baltimore, MD)

It seems that if there is any one sport that needs a market correction, it's the NBA. When owners are losing money, but the last guy on the bench is making $5 miilion/year guaranteed, something has to give.

mike wilbon
  (2:41 PM)

And it appears that's going to happen. You exaggerate some...the last guy on nobody's bench is making $5 million, and there's a lot of exaggerating when it comes to the NBA, including the number of owners losing money. BUT, a necessary market correction is not an exaggeration...I think unless there's a settlement in the next 72 hours the NBA 2012 season is in serious jeopardy...And players don't have any kind of right to make $5.3 million, or whatever the average is. I don't think the owners are going to cave, not with this much leverage. If the players won't settle for a 50-50 split they're going to lose a lot of money and nobody in this financial climate is going to weep for them.

Kevin (Wisconsin)

What do you think of the Bears not giving Forte a big deal yet? Is there a chance he leaves when he becomes a free agent?

mike wilbon
  (2:43 PM)

Not if they "franchise" tag him, which is the club's option. I think the Bears SHOULD pay Forte and get on with it, but they undoubtedly look at Chris Johnson in Tennessee and wonder what they're paying for going forward. A RB with the number of touches Forte has doesn't last much beyond 29 years old. The Bears, like the NBA owners, have all the leverage. If Forte does leave, the Bears will just draft another RB...Forte is the best player from scrimmage in the NFL right now, but the Bears seemingly could care less.

Jerry Eastwood (Haslett, MI )

I think Seattle got it wrong. They should have kept the Sonics there and moved their awful football team they call the Seahawks.

mike wilbon
  (2:45 PM)

Ain't that the truth! Problem is, the Seahawks did reach the Super Bowl...Nothing against Oklahoma City, but the Sonics should be in Seattle. It's the NBA's loss. The New Orleans franchise should be in Oklahoma City because it's just asking New Orleans too much post-Katrina to support a second professional sports franchise with a population of way under 500,000 people...

tdiddy (winnipeg) [via mobile]

Your reaction to that idiot caddie Stevie Williams? What a turnaround from all the goodwill after the firing. Obviously Tigers choice was bang on. again... WHAT A MORON.

mike wilbon
  (2:47 PM)

Stevie Williams, if the quote attributed to him is accurate, has revealed himself to be a bigoted scumbag. He should be ridiculed at every turn.

Jerry Eastwood (Haslett, MI )

Did Andy Rooney ever make an impact on your writing or journalistic styles from the way he wrote and presented his material?

mike wilbon
  (2:49 PM)

No...no impact on me professionally...I respected his work, enjoyed his essays. I think he got a little too crusty and self-righteous at times, particularly as he got older...But he was such a great writer and essayist...And he was certainly unafraid...I must admit, I thought the only thing he was afraid to do was retire because he probably thought if he stopped working he'd stop living...and if so, he was right on the money.

Jerry Eastwood (Haslett, MI )

Do you think LSU's Mathieu's should be suspended for a game for that closeline hit he did on Dre Kirkpatrick on the punt?

mike wilbon
  (2:49 PM)

I certainly would not be opposed to a one-game suspension...

Dr. H. Doofenshmirtz (Tri-State Area)

Do you think the big May 5th fight--Pacquiao/Mayweather--actually happens?

mike wilbon
  (2:50 PM)

Sadly, no...I don't think it will. I think Mayweather is afraid to fight him.

DT (Washington, DC)

Steve Williams is who we (I) thought he was.

mike wilbon
  (2:50 PM)

Amen.

Jerry Eastwood (Haslett, MI )

Did you like how T Sizzle announced where he went to college: Ball So Hard University?

mike wilbon
  (2:51 PM)

I must admit, that got me to laugh out loud. T-Sizzle is good for the NFL, which tries as hard as it can to be colorless.

Ryan (NY)

Gut feeling, do the players take the 51% deal on Wednesday? Or are more games going to be cancelled? Seems like this is the best offer they're going to get before they decertify and kill any chance of a season

mike wilbon
  (2:52 PM)

Agreed. I don't feel optimistic...Can't tell you why, other than talking to people across the industry...I just don't sense that it's about to come to an end...

GBK (Lincoln Park)

How can NBA owners complain they are losing money on things like building stadiums when they continually use taxpayer dollars to fund the majority of them? It's a joke and I hope the NBA stays locked out.

mike wilbon
  (2:53 PM)

Okay, a different viewpoint...Thank you for that! By the way, not all stadiums are built with taxpayer dollars. The late Abe Pollin built the Verizon Center in downtown D.C. with his own money. It's the second arena he built with his own funds...

Paul (Cincinnati)

Tough divisional battle in the AFC North this year. Steelers 6-3, Baltimore and Cincy at 6-2. Who ya got?

mike wilbon
  (2:54 PM)

I picked Baltimore at the beginning of the season and had ZERO idea the Bengals would be in the conversation...But I'll stay with the Steelers, even though they've been swept by Baltimore...They're really gonna put the pressure on the Patriots/Jets/Bills, aren't they?

Jerry Eastwood (Haslett, MI )

What is the best part of these chats to you Wilbon?

mike wilbon
  (2:54 PM)

Being challenged to think about the questions and points of view I might not have considered...

Dave (DC)

Michael, it's 20 years since Magic Johnson's HIV announcement. Any thoughts on it being that long?

mike wilbon
  (2:57 PM)

This is a great way to end today's chat. Thanks for asking about this. Obviously, I'm close to Earvin Johnson. I see him all the time, weekly during the NBA season. I've come to know him well, become friends with him, and have known him on some level since we were in college, in the Big Ten, at the same time. I love him, absolutely adore him...and cannot stress that I'm overjoyed to just have him here, to see him healthy day after day after day. And that was NOT presumed in 1991 when we knew so little about HIV and AIDS, when players including Karl Malone said they didn't want to be on the court with him for fear of being infected through contaminated blood...

mike wilbon
  (3:03 PM)

There are so many elements to any discussion about Magic and HIV, from how he brought the conversation, open and honest, to the black community for the first time, really...the way he retired from basketball and started a second life as an entrepreneur and philanthropist that trumps the first life as the greatest lead guard in the history of the sport. I think Magic might be the most important black businessman in American, given the number of people he influences and employs. His second act is amazing. And I think it'll become more interesting because I think the group he's involved with will be successful in getting an NFL team to downtown Los Angeles. All of it's amazing since we didn't presume he'd have 20 years. I know this, what he's DONE in that time is more than most people do in a lifetime...I'm honored to know him, to be his friend...

mike wilbon
  (3:03 PM)

thanks for chatting today everybody...We'll try it again next Monday...have a great week...mw