Hey Mike, talking about your Bears. My opinion about them totally changed in the last weeks. I think they will end ahead of Detroit and finish with a Wild Card. Look at their schedule: they play all 4 Teams of the weak AFC West+Minnesota and Seattle (their only good opponent is GB). They can totally go 6-1 from now. Your thoughts?
Hi Everybody...Since I'm just now flying back in from Chicago, where I covered Bears-Lions yesterday for ESPNChicago.com, this is the perfect place to start today's chat...And you're not the only one who has changed his/her opinion about the Bears in recent weeks. We all have because they've gotten so much better...The whole team, except for Jay Cutler and Matt Forte who have been good since Day 1 of the season. Everything else is improved, starting with the O-Line and receivers. Even the defense, which had a rough patch against the Saints and Lions has grown by leaps and bounds...It's all coming together at the right time for the Bears, who APPEAR to have a favorable schedule, yes. reeling Chargers, reeling Chiefs, completely beatable Raiders and Broncos all on deck...Seattle too in that mix. I don't have 'em going 6-1, though that's possible, but unlikely with trips to Oakland and Denver thrown in...I have the Bears winning 11 games if they beat the Chargers Sunday in Chicago, 10 if they lose to San Diego, which has to come out of nap time eventually. The beat down they put on the Lions yesterday is something the Bears players were quietly CERTAIN they would administer early in the week. The defense is approaching 2006 levels in the last four games. Devin Hester is as good as ever (he made that return with a fever of 100-plus and a bum ankle) and Cutler/Forte are an upgrade over Rex/Thomas Jones...They could be onto something...
How happy is Roger Goodell going to be when he gets to hand out fines to about 10-15 Bears and Lions players?
He'll be happy. The Bears will be fine with it. The Lions will whine and cry, as has become their way lately. One would think the NFL will look at the stuipid penalty called on Lance Briggs for dropping Calvin Johnson and either apologize for coming down on a perfect hit, or at the very least shut up since we all know the zebras blew it.
What do you think of a team going after Jay Gruden as a potential head coach? What he has done with Andy Dalton has been quite impressive.
Yeah, I'm with you...All this talk about Jon Gruden seems to be a waste of time to me, because it appears he has no interest in coaching right now, that he LOVES his MNF gig. Jay Gruden, on the other hand, seems to really be on it...I'd give him a look if I wanted to hire a young coach with ingenuity on the offensive side of the football...
How could Penn State continue it's season when the reason nobody did anything to stop the heinous crimes commited, was to protect its football program? Nobody's going to take away the players' scholorships or anything. Furtheremore, Tim Bradley the interim coach, has been on the staff since 1979. It seems pretty far fetched that he didn't know anything was going on, given just how tight coaching staffs are, and by how many people tried to cover the whole thing up.
I'm going to say this one time, and if I sound irritated it's because I am, specifically at this question. Here we go: The players on that football team, who spend about 40-50 hours a week practicing, preparing and taking treatment to fulfill their football scholarships did NOTHING to warrant having their seasons cancelled. That's it. I don't want to hear any other arguments or completely misdirected reasoning. Those kids didn't get flagged for failing drugs tests or being academically ineligible or ANY THING AT ALL. Got it? You want to punish them, the players? It's stupid, unfounded and doesn't address the issue of adults failing children at Penn State already. If you want to fire all the coaches there, all the adults, good...Fire them and bring in interim coaches from a local high school. I don't care. Make Mark May and Kirk the interim coaches the rest of the year. Just stop telling me the games need to be cancelled because I ain't hearing it.
Looks like the Cubs are down to Sandy Alomar Jr., Dale Sveum and Mike Maddux as their finalists. Who would you like to see be the manager?
That would be D) None of the Above...Will Terry Francona pick up the white courtesy phone?Seriously? I trust the judgement of Mr. Theo. Isn't that why the Cubs hired him, to tape into his expertise and baseball instincts. As a Cubs fan I'd sign off on whatever Theo wants. Otherwise, why have him?
If you were Patrick Witt, the Quarterback of Yale, would you have taken the Rhoades Scholar interview or pick the game against Harvard?
I'm 52 years old, Dude. My perspective ain't his perspective. But anybody who is smart enough to be a Rhoades Scholar is somebody who's call I respect...Me? At 21 I'd have played, at 31 I'd have played, at 52 I'd taken the interview...That's the way of the world, right?
Wilbon, do you see the Lions recovering from this beatdown from Da Bears? Also, how many wins do you see the Bears ending up with? If the ball bounces the right way, they could wind up being 12-4. Thoughts?
I see the Lions beating up on teams that succumb to a bully, which is what the Lions are in danger of becoming...I do not really see the Bears going 12-4...Winning in Minnesota is difficult and in Green Bay could be next-to-impossible...That would make 5 losses right there. Four wins=10, and those four should be Chargers, Chiefs, Seahawks and either Oakland or Denver but not both...So, 10-6 and the No. 1 wild-card spot in the NFC...Let's see if I nail it...or get anywhere close.
Mike, I love your answer to the Penn St questoin, but surely you can see where Ryan from nY was coming from. You will win that argument in a debate everytime, but everyone will at least have the same feeling as Ryan does. In a perfect world we would bring down the entire PSU football "program", while allowing these kids, along with new coaches, staff, everything, rebuild a new one. Thanks.
So, to hell with the senior class, right? That's what you're willing to do. What regard does that demonstrate for the players who did nothing? The players will almost certainly be able to transfer, the undergraduates, yes. And good for them, those that want to. People need to concentrate the problem, not just make sweeping statements that don't address the issue. yes, part of the issue at Penn State is "football at all costs." I agree. And punishing the kids who play there now, as opposed to the adults who carved out that agenda, fixes what exactly? No, I reject his point completely.
You look at all the scandals that have happened in College Football this year: Ohio State, Miami, North Carolina, Penn State. Now Coaches are talking the blame for most of it and rightfully so. But shouldn't the school take some blame for the amount of pressure they put on coaches to recruits and to win? Because simply put, if you don't win in college, you lose your job.
Yes, yes, yes, yes. Thank you for getting it! Didn't Nebraska fire the coach after going 9-3 a few years ago...And for what, because folks there think its their birthright to be 11-1. how many 9-3 seasons has Nebraska had since firing that guy?Maryland fired Ralph after going 8-4, right? What are they now? Didn't Miami just fire an alumn, Randy Shannon, after going 8-4 and pushing the graduation rate higher than it has been in years? Yes, all the football schools have totally out-of-whack expectations about what their teams can and should do...
Wilbon, you like to say the Chargers go to nap time during the season. But how about the Ravens? They seem to go to nap time after a big win each time! Losing to the Seahawks?
Oh yes, you're on the money. The Ravens are totally up for the tough games but don't give a damn about the softies, and lose to Jacksonville and Seattle. Please. That's why I can't take the Ravens seriously as a contender anymore. And as good as John Harbaugh has been overall, that responsibility lies with the coach...to get them ready for every game. The Patriots NEVER do that...The Steelers hardly ever do it. It's a downside to the Ravens that can't easily be explained away.
Andy Reid has to be done now, right?
Not now as in he'll be fired before the season ends...But unless Philly runs off a 6-game winning streak to finish 10-6 or at least 9-7 I think it's likely Reid will finally be tossed in Philly...It's no tragedy. He's been there 13 years and they had some really, really good teams...a couple of times the Eagles flirted with greatness. Reid will coach again, if he wants, and I would guess he'd be successful. But the disappointment over this team doesn't seem to be the kind of thing a town like Philly gets over easily...if at all.
Mike, did you watch that Oregon-Stanford game on Saturday night? I wasn't all that impressed with Andrew Luck. I mean I think he'll be a good NFL quarterback, but he sure didn't look like the next Aaron Rodgers. Product of his offense having almost no weapons, or has he now created doubt based on his past few performances?
Look, I called Kornheiser during the Stanford-USC game and told him EXACTLY what you just said to me, that I like Luck a ton, that I'd happily draft him or trade to draft him, but that I don't believe he's "Can't miss." I think he can miss. BUT, I ran this past Steve Young and Trent Dilfer, whose opinions I absolutely trust...certainly beyond any observations I have. These guys KNOW what they're talking about and they tell me I'm nuts, that they've seen Luck in person, gone to his practices and he's got every throw in the book, athleticism beyond the norm, poise, intellect and that he IS "can't miss." Remember, one loss is nothing. Didn't John Elway, who is for my money the greatest QB ever, go something like 6-5 his senior year at Stanford? I don't think Tom Brady had an undefeated season at Michigan...Losing is usually about team, even though Luck had that pick-6...But I'm just a little bit skeptical...If Young and Dilfer are a 9 on Luck, I'm a 7 1/2, which is to say I'm going to leave just a little wiggle rooom for doubt.
Is Patrick Willis of San Fransisco the most underrated player in the NFL? You love to cry east coast bias Wilbon. This guy never gets any pub and plays on the same intensity level of Ray Lewis in his prime.
He's on the list. If he played in New York, Boston, Dallas, Philly, maybe even Chicago (because defense is honored there) he'd be a much bigger star. Much.
Is Tiger's finish in the Australian Open mean anything towards his come back?
Not to me.
I typically disagree with you when it comes to sports mainly because you like to down the Brewers and Packers (with you being a Cubs/Bears fan)...but I have to say I TOTALLY agree with your view on PSU possibly canceling any games or the season. The players did nothing wrong, and do not deserve to be punished for it.
Always remember this, particularly since you're from Madison. Yes, it's my birthright to hate the Packers (the Brewers are 5 minutes old in the grand scheme of things, so they don't count in the same way as the Packers) but rarely if EVER do I root against Midwestern teams (okay, Notre Dame is an exception) when they're not playing my teams...That said, thanks...
As a member of the media, how difficult is it to not fall into the ever-popular trap of overdramatizing sports events? using the NFL as an example, every Monday there is a new list of elite teams, while those on the list the previous Monday are now deemed to have major incorrectable issues. A better example is one from ESPN that I read this morning when a boxing analyst now says Floyd Mayweather is without question the best boxer in the sport right now, and Pacqiaou is now done. Seriously?
Corey, great question/comment! This stuff chaps my @#$%&*#! It's stupid to the point of being offensive. That's the case, in part, because so many people with no sense of context are out there commenting, people who have no sense of the history of sports, people who don't know anything earlier than this morning's SportsCenter. This isn't just an ESPN issue, it's an issue in the culture, with fans, with young sportswriters and media people, with players who didn't grow up with any sense of the history of the sports they play....it's societal, but it's real. I hate it more than I hate anything about the industry I'm in. We saw this very clearly, recently, with Dirk Nowitzki and his tremendous championship run. Rather innocently or moronically, so many people start screaming, "You have to put Dirk in your top 10 NBA players of all-time or your an idiot." Then you ask them if they've ever heard of Elvin Hayes and they look at you like the idiots THEY are. They have no idea of how great Oscar was, how great Elgin Baylor was. Hell, they don't know how good Julius Erving was. It's discouraging, really how little people know as we go forward about sports.
"That happened before I was born" is the laziest excuse for not knowing something I've ever heard. Babe Ruth DIED before I was born but I know his career as well as I know Derek Jeter's. There's more video than ever, more places to find information about a player, yet people know less. They know today, and usually not all that well at that. I see polls on SportsCenter where they start asking about the greatest so-and-so "since the merger" like the men who played in the 1950s and 60s aren't worth their investment of time...See, you got me started.
How can you penalize the players when they did nothing wrong? this isnt a recruiting violation or crimes they committed. Higher ups made the wrong calls
And that's the point.
Gimme Butkis and Nitzchke. I'm with you, Michael. Have you ever seen Bill Russell play? All heart.
Of course. These men were greater than anybody playing today. There's not a LB in the NFL today who was as good as Butkus, who was a combination of Urlacher and Julius Peppers. Are you kidding me?
What up Wilbon, do I have any reason to believe the players will actually accept this offer? How can they sit their and play the victim vard, when all summer long players have been coming out of the woodshed to take anything they can get to go play overseas? I know this isn;t reality, but the players are coming of as selfish. We all knew the owners would be like this, but I believe the palyers have lost sight of reality. Any suggestions for an NBA lover on what to watch instead of my beloved B-Ball?
For all of you not watching NBA TV, the players just announced they are decertifying...they reject, it appears, the league's latest revised proposal...This puts the season in serious jeopardy. We'll know more over the next hour or so, but there ain't gonna be professional basketball in America by December 15, and likely not by Jan. 15. Those of you who wondered why some of have been saying, "The sky is falling" now know why...The NHL missed an entire season. MLB missed the entire critical part of a season. And now the NBA runs serious risk of doing the same thing.
Which team was exposed the most, Bills, Jets, or Lions?
Lions and Bills were both exposed about the same, weren't they?
What do you think of David Nelson handing the ball to his girlfriend after the touchdown? On the field she is still a cheerleader of the opposing team.
If the Bills had been leading the game, or involved in a close game it would have generated a bigger smile...But weren't the Bills down 21-0 when he did it? Just sayin'.
Push. How can you pick one over the other?
Ooops, that question was "Bigger Impact: Wade Phillips as the Texans D-Coordinator or Jay Gruden as the Bengals O-Coordinator?" My answer is...Push. Tie. Toss-up. Can't pick one over the other.
What puts more pressure on a kid: Being a highly touted recruit with big expectations or living up to your draft hype during the season?
Living up to draft hype. By that time you're a pro and there is much, much, much more scrutiny...You're getting a paycheck, yes, but it doesn't mean you can live up to the expectation. Recruits bomb out every day, and while some of them do so in obsessive college sports communities, it happens at every school muyltiple times every year. It stings at the time, yes, and it's pressure...but that kid can go live someplace else and rarely does anybody in the new commmunity have any idea who he is.
Your thoughts on the breaking news Wilbon of the NBA Players rejecting the league's offer and beginning the process of disbanding the Union?
There probably won't be a season, and that the players have a whole lot less leverage than they seem to think they have. I KNOW there are owners who are rejoicing over this news because they don't want to play, and the certainly didn't want the 50-50 proposal David Stern was pushing. I told at least 10 owners didn't want to give the players 50-50...and now they're not. Do i see the players ultimately winding up with a deal that's better than the one they just turned down? No. perhaps if they win it in the courts...but at some point the two sides always have to leave court and strike a deal...this looks like the NHL's missed season of a few years ago.
Packers vs Vikings was surprisingly close the first time, do you think Green Bay runs over the Vikings this time?
No, I just see the Packers winning a high-scoring game of the 40-31 variety...if you call that close.
Why aren't sportcasters giving the 49ers any props? Everything is either about the Packers or Tom Brady, but no one (including ESPN) is giving any thought to the Niners!
ESPN is located between Boston and New York. You think sportscasts in California, or for that matter Washington State/Arizona/Nevada aren't featuring the 49ers? Think again.
Really? The Redskins had to win those 3 games? Really? Couldn't be headed for 0-16?
So you could do what, draft Andrew Luck? Why not just start thinking about Matt Barkley, who might be just as good one day?
Michael - Am I the only one not seeing Michael Jordan's stance in the CBA negotiations as hypocritical? In 1998 the league position was different than it is today. It's not apples to apples. Also MJ may very well have made more money for this league than any other individual in its history, and he's said he'd be willing to pay top players top salaries. Has he ever advocating paying midlevel players ridiculous salaries? He made less than the current midlevel for almost his entire career.
let me ask you this: if you were working as an Assistant District Attorney, and a huge firm that does defense work offered to quadruple your pay, and you accepted a job as a defense attorney...would you be a hypocrite? Or would you just be doing your job at that time. When Jordan was a player, his job was to think as a player. Now, he's an owner, not a player. His loyalty is to what he is now, period.
Okay, I gotta run and prepare for PTI, especially with this NBA news that will dominate the news now. Lotta college basketball on-deck for me, it looks like. Hate to lose an NBA season, but I can't say I'm surprised. Okay, thanks for chatting everybody...have a great week...see you next Monday! MW