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The Chat House

Sports News

Michael Wilbon
Washington Post Sports Columnist
Monday, January 10, 2005; 1:30 PM

Welcome to another edition of The Chat House where Post columnist Michael Wilbon talks about the latest in sports.

Join Wilbon online Monday, Jan. 10, at 1:30 p.m. ET to talk about the latest in sports.

Michael Wilbon. (The Washington Post)

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Submit your questions and comments any time, before or during today's discussion.

Welcome to another edition of The Chat House where Post columnist Michael Wilbon talks about the latest in sports.

Wilbon was online to talk about the latest Redskins loss, the NBA brawl, whether D.C. baseball is going to happen and all things sports.

The transcript follows.

Editor's Note: Washingtonpost.com moderators retain editorial control over Live Online discussions and choose the most relevant questions for guests and hosts; guests and hosts can decline to answer questions.

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Alexandria, Va.: Ok, are Vikes that good or were the Packers just that bad yesterday?

washingtonpost.com: Vikings Go to Hurry-Up (Post, Jan. 10)

Michael Wilbon: Sorry for being late everybody...My flight from Chicago, after leaving Green Bay, was a half-hour late, so I'm scrambling a little bit...But as for the Packes, they were dreadful, first on defense to fall behind 14-0 and then on offense. Brett Favre has rarely been worse, and I don't want to hear about his receivers being hurt. The guys who did play got open and Favre couldn't get them the ball. He used the word "terrible" to describe his own play--the guy is totally stand up which is one of the 10,000 reasons I love him--and then said "terrible" was an understatement. As for the Vikes, they look great one week and incompetent the next and this has been the team's pattern for four or five years now, ever since the 1998 season (I think it was '98) when they should have gone to the Super Bowl but lost that home NFC title game to Atlanta. Daunte Culpepper has been brilliant this season. Remember, he and not Manning led the league in yards passing this season. Culpepper was up around 4,700 yards and I believe threw 39 touchdown passes to only 11 interceptions. He completed 69 percent of his passes and ran for 400 yards. In any other year he could have been MVP, if not for Manning. My producer, Matt K. here at PTI calls him a "pulling guard who throws," which is a great, great description. Having said all that, I expect the Eagles to throttle the vikes on Sunday in Philly, because that's the nature of the Vikes. Great one moment, blank the next.

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Gaithersburg, Md.: Since you probably had a great vantage point in the press box, how bad was Randy Moss's gesture to the crowd after he scored that touchdown? The guys at FOX were going on and on about it. What kind of reaction did it get from the fans and was it brought up at all at the press conference?

washingtonpost.com: Moss Draws Attention With TD Dance (Post, Jan. 10)

Michael Wilbon: I didn't see one nanosecond of Randy Moss' gesture. When you're at a game like that and writing about it, you're scribbling notes or looking up records after a play. I rarely watcht the aftermath, though I've adjusted that behavior in games involving T.O. Remember, the TV has something like 11 sets of eyes (cameras) and I've got one set and that set doesn't function well all the time...Well, the director doesn't function so well. Anyway, I don't care a whit about what Randy Moss did. Don't get me wrong, he's a vulgar, crude, rude dude...this just in! But I don't want to hear from the NFL unless the league is ready to talk about having erection ads on its games 20 times a game and cheerleaders who moon the fans every second of every game...It's okay for the NFL if it makes money. It's okay to be crude if the NFC sanctions it and the league and its TV partners reap the rewards. But if the league doesn't slap a logo on it, then the NFL comes down with all its might. As you can tell, I'm sick of the NFL and its hypocrisy. Erections are acceptable dinner table discussion, but Randy moss fully clothed and pantomining a mooning is the worst thing in the world? Please. Sometimes, the NFL powers-that-be disgrace themselves...or at least make themselves look dopey and silly.

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Pittsburgh, Pa.: Mike, I liked and agreed with your column today. You emphasized Favre's 4 interceptions (and rightly so), but far worse-seeming to me was the play where Favre ran 15 feet past the line of scrimmage on 3rd and 6 from within the Viking's 15 and then moronically chucked the ball into the endzone on an illegal forward pass. If he slides instead he might have first down and at worst brings up 4th and 1. Instead, they're penalized and it all results in a botched fg (if I remember correctly).

My feeling is that it would be unfair to 15 year olds everywhere to call this a high school-level mistake. It was a total meltdown, and it's amazing the fans didn't start booing there and then. Or do you think I'm being too critical of one boneheaded play?

Michael Wilbon: I know, you're so right...Favre even laughed at it when the flag was thrown...But that play only cost the packers five yards, not possession. Of course, Ryan Longwell who had made 12 of 12 kicks this year inside of 40 yards, promptly missed that 33-yarder...But the picks were so, so bad...three of them anyway. And no fan in Green Bay should ever boo Brett Favre. If one does, he should be escorted out of Lambeau and have his season ticket confiscated.

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Arlington, Va.: Hey Michael -- I read you comments on how the Wizards will probably fall in the second half of the season and I have to agree. I have watched a lot of their games and the front court presence of the Wizards is still in need of help. Haywood is ok, but without a true power forward/center how long can the triple threat of Jamison, Arenas and Hughes keep up the pace? What should the Wizards do to address this -- keep Kwame and see how he pans out? Are the a any free agent big men coming available next year? Thanks for your insight.

Michael Wilbon: I haven't looked at the free agent class for next year just yet...probably because this season is just starting to unfold...There's still time to get some help by the trading deadline this season, but I don't think Kwame Brown is going to fetch a big, tough, rebounder anyway...And that's all the Wizards need. If they had a big man like, say, Eric Dampier in Dallas, it would make such a difference. I know there are plenty of people in town who think Kwame is still going to become a player. While I think that's possible, I don't think it is going to happen here...

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Arlington, Va.: I see where Peter Angelos is complaining that the presence of the Nationals in DC is hindering his free-agent spending during this off-season. My question is, what was his excuse for the past five years?

Michael Wilbon: Angelos doesn't have an excuse. He's a fraud.

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Washington, D.C.: Good Afternoon Michael,

Lets talk about the matchup between the Rams and the Falcons. The Falcons beat the Rams back in Week 2 34-17. I have heard on several talk shows that the Falcons are only Michael Vick. Stop Vick and the Rams win. Why is it that the Falcons defense does not get the credit they deserve? The Falcons defense harassed Rams QB Marc Bulger, sacking him five times.

Michael Wilbon: You're talking to the wrong guy. I was screaming all season that the Falcons were a team that could be the Eagles even if T.O. was playing. I think the Rams can seriously challenge Atlanta...perhaps even win. But I favor Atlanta. I like the Falcons D, particularly since the defense is a quarterback-attacking defense that will not let Bulger get set and throw. Also, I think Atlanta has the No. 1 rushing attack in the NFL, which means Vick doesn't have to complete 30 passes for 300 yards for the Falcons to win.

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Herndon, Va.: Mr. Mike: It doesn't matter how good you are - you stay on past what some fans feel is too long, and you get booed. I want Favre to come back, but if he isn't comfortable with a level beneath what he was at his best, then I hope he does retire.

Michael Wilbon: Brett Favre just threw 30 touchdown passes this season. Who would you rather have, Mark Brunell? I'm not saying Brett should turn into Joe Paterno...No, nobody has earned the right to stay forever. But for now, I like Brett and I hope he comes back for at least the 2005 season.

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Belcamp, Md.: How surprised were you at the play of Chad Pennington against the Chargers and do you think the Jets have a chance?

Michael Wilbon: Oh yes, the Jets have a chance. Yes. The Steelers are my pick to win it all, but the Jets have no pressure this week. They're underdogs and they know it and I think the Jets will play like underdogs, take some chances, play relaxed...I'm covering that game and can't wait.

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Dallas, Tex.: Favre's illegal forward pass while laughable, caused a 5 yard penality AND a loss of down which hurt more than anything. They would of had a 3rd and 1 if he would have continued to run out of bounds.

Michael Wilbon: No, it would have been 4th and 1 had he run out of bounds...One problem: he wasn't close to the sideline.

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Bethesda, Md.: Hey Mike,

Can you beleive that the Wizards might actually be able to match last year's win total by the All-star break. To me, it seems that they need 22 more victories to make the playoffs. Do you think so?

By the way, is Full Court Press starting this week?

Michael Wilbon: Great observation on the Wiz. I said 45 victories after Week 1 and I'm sticking with it. And Full Court Press, the WRC-TV show hosted by George Michael with David DuPree of USA Today and some combination of Kornheiser and Mike Wise, our blockbuster column acquisition, plus yours truly will begin not this week, but the following week...Hope you watch.

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Columbia, Md.: Mike,

Is Champ Bailey over-rated as a coverage corner, or was the Bronco's pass-rush so ineffective that Deion in his prime(time) would have been helpless against the Colts?

Michael Wilbon: I keep reading where Champ Bailey had a good season...he was voted to the Pro Bowl. But every time I watched the Broncos play this season Champ was getting roasted like a marshmellow. Deion would have been tested, but he would have won a whole lot of battles. By the way, Champ has been one of the league's elite cornerback for several years but he's never been in the same league as Deion. Never...never ever.

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Baltimore, Md.: Mike,
Thanks for doing these chats every week. Do you think the Mets grossly overpaid for Beltran, and is Beltran possibly the most overrated free agent in recent memory?

Michael Wilbon: You're welcome...I'm happy to do it...Gets me in fighting shape for Konheiser in a couple of hours. Beltran will either be a good by of overrated depending on one thing: his production. If the guy hits 40 home runs and drives in 120 on average for the next five to six years and leads the Mets to some division titles, then he'll have been worth it. If not, he'll have been overpaid.

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New York, N.Y.: Any thoughts on Vince Carter's pathetic admission of slacking off with the Raptors?

Michael Wilbon: I would never want Vince Carter on my team. Never. No sign of character, of being a good teammate, of being the kind of person you would want to have around your place of business. Not a bad guy, just self-absorbed and kind of a knucklehead. But wherever he goes, discontent is sure to follow. He could care less about winning, and therefore, never will.

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Washington, D.C.: It's not hard to understand Marty Schottenheimer's playoff record after watching him botch the play calling on that last drive on Saturday, is it? Three runs into the line to set up a 40-yard field goal on a wet field. Did he suddenly get amnesia and forget about Drew Brees, Antonio Gates, and LT? What was he thinking?

Michael Wilbon: Marty, Marty, Marty. How about the 15-yard penalty he saddled his team with for running onto the field because he thought a roughing-the-kicker penalty should have been called. I don't know what to say about Marty other than he's a good-but-flawed football coach. He does some things so well. He prepares a team so well, has such sound principles...But late in these playoff games he's so, so ineffective on game days. Also, I think he wears his teams out in November and December from all the early work the do...I've had former Marty players from Cleveland and Kansas City tell me this, and it's hard to not believe them.

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Crofton, Md.: Hi Mike
Are the Terps that bad or NC that good?

Michael Wilbon: The ACC is that loaded. I wouldn't surprise me if the Terps wax the Tar Heels here. Nobody in that league is going to have fewer than four losses, in my opinion, when all is said and done. And yep, the Heels are good. But so is Duke. So is Georgia Tech. So is Wake.

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Blitzburgh, Pa.: From what I read in the national media this week, it seemed like Randy Moss was this horrible guy who divided his team, etc. But after reading what the players actually said, they seemed to rally around him. Still, people are talking like Randy is someone the Vikings have to put up with and would like to trade.

I understand that people don't like Moss. His bizarre unwillingness to say the easy thing or lie outright combined with a childishness (sometimes good, sometimes bad) definitely rubs a lot of people the wrong way. But what I don't understand why some sports 'reporters' feel the need to make up stuff when there's a lot of stuff to legitimately criticize. Moss didn't divide his team, he galvanized them.

Michael Wilbon: Where were you all of last week when his own teammates, notably center Matt Birk and fellow receiver Marcus Robinson roasted Moss for being a bad teammate at the end of the Redskins game. Not only those two guys confronted him. So what are you talking about? Not only that, the people who took on Moss the most were former NFL players, who certainly have the right, considering they were part of that fraternity long before he was and many of them helped make the game what it is before Moss came along and began acting like a jerk. You need to do a little more reading, pal. Or listening. Everybody reported what those Vikings said all of last week. If you were out of the country, I might give you a pass.

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Rockville, Md.: Michael
Great column about Farve today.
Since you were at the game perhap you can confirm or refute something.
During the Fox broadcast of the game, there seemed to be quite a bit of cheering for the Vikings even on the first and second touchdowns. The fan response to the Packers seemed very similar in volume on the audio. Having attended a number of games at Lambeau, I was quite surprised by the "level" of support , at least on the Fox audio, for the Vikings. I'm sure some Viking fans got tickets, but not nearly as many as the audio would seem to indicate. After the first two scores, I would have expected it to be mighty quiet at Lambeau.
What was it like in person?
Thanks !
PS My money says Farve comes back for one more year.

Michael Wilbon: Being geographic neighbors, I always see Purple People in Lambeau and I always see Cheeseheads in the Metrodome. Always. But, that place was so raucous in favor of the Packers I couldn't hear any Purple People to speak of. But what a place to watch a game. It's the best football palace left standing. To borrow a phrase from Chad Pennington, "I was honored and privileged to cover that game in Lambeau. This year, I've been to Wrigley Field, Fenway, Yankee Stadium and Lambeau...Not bad, huh? I gotta get to Cameron Indoor Stadium and I'll have gone to the top venues in the country...though I admit college basketball has some great ones, including the Palestra and Allen Fieldhouse in Kansas...

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14th Street, Washington, D.C.: Yo Mike, you sure are in a fighting mood today. Good thing I TIVO'd PTI.

Hey, make the case for keeping Mike Sherman in Seattle. He might even need some help here.

Michael Wilbon: Do you mean make case for keeping Mke HOLMGREN in Seattle? I won't. I'd fire him, realizing he'll probably go to San Francisco...But what's he done in Seattle? He never won a playoff game in, what, six seasons? I'd fire him. Yes, I would.

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Baltimore, Md.: Mike,
Great column today. I was wondering, who would you rather build a team around? Kevin Garnett or LeBron James?

Michael Wilbon: Thank you. Probably LaBron...I like guards who can do everything...What a surprise, being from Chicago and having watched Michael Jordan's every game...I wouldn't turn down KG, by the way. The guy is phenomenal. And he's being undermined by Latrell Sprewell, for sure. But I'd take either guy...LaBron's ability to set up his teamates, though, is what separates him for me, though narrowly.

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Washington, D.C.: I always thought the Chat House was you and Tony. Is he bound and gagged in a broom closet? What happened? Did you two fight over the keyboard too often?

Michael Wilbon: Tony's too big now, with his radio show, PTI...Maybe he'll do one gargantuan special Chat House a year...Me, I'm of the people. I love you guys.

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Michael Wilbon: Okay, gotta run and get ready for PTI. We're having a 90 percent football show today, as I'm sure you understand...Can't wait to get started and we'll chat next week after I get back from Pittsburgh on aturday and New England on Sunday...

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