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The Chat House
Sports News

Michael Wilbon
Washington Post Sports Columnist
Monday, October 29, 2007 1:15 PM

Welcome to another edition of The Chat House where Post columnist Michael Wilbon was online Monday, Oct. 29 at 1:15 p.m. ET to take your questions and comments about the latest sports news and his recent columns.

The transcript follows.

Discussion Archive

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Ellicott City, Md.: I love the Redskins and Joe Gibbs, BUT -- they have no offensive imagination at all, and the magic of his halftime adjustments has faded. Is it time for him to go?

Michael Wilbon: Hi everybody, from Denver where the Red Sox fans, hungover in the afterglow, are heading for the airport and being replaced by Cheeseheads for tonight's MNF game...We'll start with the blowout in New England yesterday. Wow. We already knew the Redskins weren't an "elite" team by the way they narrowly escaped winless Miami and injured Arizona in the first six weeks...But that was something of a stunner yesterday, not that the Redskins lost; only delusional people thought they would win...but the way they got beat up and trashed and didn't brawl back. That was the "wow" for me. I don't want to start talking about Joe Gibbs' future when the team is 4-3 and sure to be 5-3 after beating the pathetic Jets in East Rutherford next week...The Redskins can still make the playoffs and even advance in the NFC. Who's great in the NFC? The Cowboys? Please? The Packers? We'll find out more about them tonight...But the NFC is still wide open. So Gibbs has some halftime adjustments yet to make. My questions about this team revolve more around the players. Who provides the fire on offense? Who's the charismatic star that the rest of the guys follow? It's not Portis. Campbell hasn't evolved as a personality yet. Who? Jansen, who has the personality, is hurt. I don't see the dynamic players like, say, Tiki Barber or Michael Strahan with the Giants in recent years. Maybe there's still time for somebody to emerge, but we're at the halfway point of the season...

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Prince William County, Va.: All in all, a sour end to an otherwise interesting postseason. Cleveland and Colorado learned you can advance a little bit without big money, but you still can't beat the elite. I'm sure Larry Lucchino will continue to downgrade his poor ol' franchise vis-a-vis the Yankees, even though he's with Evil Empire II (and believe me, to every non-yuppie outside New England, that's what the Bosox are now). It'd be like feeling sorry for Yale because it doesn't have Harvard's endowment. Awww. (Oh, and a note to Stan Kasten: Don't ever, EVER, play "Sweet Caroline" at the new Nats' park. Leave her back at RFK.)

Michael Wilbon: Well, that was nice little mini-column. Thank you...I like what you've got to say, except could care less about Sweet Caroline...Please. Let's not try and imply that the Nats in RFK had some great tradition.

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Should be paying attention in class, Md.: Oh Mr. Wilbon! I've been surfing the Internet and I saw that there are rumors that the Wiz are considered a dark horse for Kobe. Gilbert for Kobe, is that really a good idea?

Michael Wilbon: I'd do it...Why not? Gilbert's going to be a free agent soon enough anyway since he can opt out...So why not pursue Kobe? Ernie Grunfeld and Mitch Kupchak are friendly. That makes sense. Question is, what else would the Wizards have to give up? Would you do it for Gilbert and Jamison? I would NOT do it for Gilbert and Caron. Nope. But Gil and 'Twan...As much as I like those guys and want to see what the team can produce this season, I'd do that. Yep.

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Gaithersburg, Md.: The Colts and Patriots have had a swagger about them this whole season that makes it feel like that famous Larry Bird quote at an All-Star Game three-point contest, where he showed up in the locker room and said "y'all are playing for second place tonight." Is the rest of the league basically playing for second place in your opinion?

Michael Wilbon: Well, third place. Yes. No doubt. Look, injuries can dramatically alter any NFL season. The 1986 Bears went 14-2 and looked like an '85 repeat but Jim McMahon got dumped on his shoulder by some Packer lineman and the season was done for them. Brady and Manning would have to stay healthy, but presuming relatively good health, nobody else is in their class.

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Vienna, Va.: Michael,

What is your take on the A-Rod situation? Not the opting out, but when the announcement was made. I didn't think too much if until I heard Peter Gammons (who I respect a lot on baseball) react to it. Should they have waited to announce it?

Michael Wilbon: I'm not one who thinks the World Series is so secret that everything else in the world has to come to a halt. I know the keepers of the game, Gammons chief among them, like a certain order to be observed...I haven't talked to Tom Boswell, but I suspect he and 99 percent of the baseball writers agree...And A-Rod has built up ZERO goodwill on the PR front over the years. So the reaction doesn't surprise me...Just don't count me among the offended.

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Cary, N.C.: Wilbon,

My question is does Belichick lose more and respect around the league after each week? Very good coach with a great organization, but are NFL insiders losing respect for him as a man? He never answered to why he was cheating and now he seems to be going overboard in trying to embarrass every team. Guess I thought he had more respect for the game, but it appears he has none. If he wants to rub Mangini's nose in it fine, but Gibbs too? Too many talking heads today are okay with Belicheats actions.

Michael Wilbon: Belichick is on a maniacal mission to crush everybody's skull because the NFL had nerve to call him on cheating. That's what this is. He's foaming at the mouth like a rabid dog trying to crush the life out of every team the Patriots face. You know what...that's fair. But I'd like to see an opposing team play the Patriots with the same violent intent the Patriots play with. I think you'll see the school yard bully met with force this Sunday in Indy...

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Washington, D.C. : Mike,

Could you please just skip all of the Redskins questions today? As a die-hard Redskins fan, I don't want to have to re-live any of that stuff that happened yesterday. So...

What do you think of that Kobe for Agent Zero rumor?

Michael Wilbon: As I mentioned, I like that deal. If you're the Lakers you get a guy who can score nearly as much as Kobe who's a L.A. native...That would be good for the Wiz, too, I think. Lineup of Kobe and Antonio Daniels, Butler, Songaila, Haywood...Okay, I'm not taking that team over Boston or Chicago, but it would win the division and finish no lower than 4th seed (again, presuming relative health)...And that's IF Antawn Jamison has to go. Kobe loves Caron Butler...loves him...was actually with Caron when he was told he was being traded to Washington for Kwame.

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Boston: Why is everyone dogging the Red Sox for spending money? Yes they have the second largest payroll in MLB, but they are FAR from the second largest TV market. Wouldn't you like to see your Cubs act the way the Red Sox have over these last few years?

Michael Wilbon: I'd like to see the Cubs win. Spending money isn't the only thing a franchise has to do. How would the Florida Marlins have won in 2003 if that was the case? I think the objection some people are voicing is that the Red Sox act like they're on some higher morale plane than the Yankees because they don't spend as much money as the Yankees. But as you point out, they spend more than anybody EXCEPT the Yankees, so I don't want to hear how the Red Sox are somehow taking the high ground because of that. Just enjoy winning the World Series.

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Richmond, Va.: Gregg Easterbrook (a.k.a. Tuesday Morning Quarterback) wrote last week that Colts-Pats is Good vs. Evil (hint: the team led by Tony Dungy probably isn't evil). What are your thoughts on this thesis?

Michael Wilbon: Makes for easy choosing of sides, doesn't it?

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Boston: What are the odds that Scott Boras will release a statement to the press concerning A-Rod during the fourth quarter of next week's Pats/Colts game?

Michael Wilbon: Any and all of you would love to be represented by Scott Boras in whatever you do. His job isn't to play nice with MLB or impress Peter Gammons. It's to do the best job he can for his client. If he ruffles a few feathers in the process, so be it. I have zero idea where A-Rod will end up, but I know there will be some footsie played between A-Rod and the Cubs...But they won't be the only ones.

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Arlington, Va.: How would you rate Mike Tomlin's coaching performance at Pittsburgh so far this year? Now that we are getting to the mid-way point of the season, do you or your colleagues feel he is meeting or exceeding expectations?

Michael Wilbon: Aren't the Steelers 5-2? They're not the Patriots, not the Colts. But if all the players on those two teams voted secretly as to what one team they would NOT want to face, I promise you it would be the Steelers.

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Washington D.C.: You going to be like everybody else and pick the Spurs to win the NBA Championship again?

Michael Wilbon: Nope...I've got the Suns winning. I can't pick between the Celtics, Pistons and Bulls in the east, and I'm waiting to see if the Bulls do anything in the Kobe sweepstakes...As a lifelong Bulls fan I actually hope they don't bite.

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Dulles Airport, Va.: What is the loudest NFL stadium that you have been to? Does it compare to the loudest college stadium? In my opinion Doak Campbell (FSU) is much louder than FedEx Field.

Michael Wilbon: Doak Campbell is up there. Jordan-Hare at Auburn is my No. 1...Well, LSU at night...Those are my top two...FedEx Field isn't among the loudest NFL stadiums. Those are Kansas City, Seattle, Denver, Philly, Lambeau...FedEx Field is just too big and the noise sort of evaporates. Oh, Baltimore's damn loud, too.

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Laurel, Md.: Don't look now, but the Browns are 4-3, in 2nd place in the AFC North. Is this the NFL's surprise/feel good story thus far?

Michael Wilbon: YES! Glad you brought this up. And just think, without that bogus timeout before the field goal thing against the Raiders, the Browns would be 5-2 with the most impressive loss to the Patriots this season. Romeo Crennell has done a nice job there, especially since he changed his QB Week 1. Brady Quinn may never see the light of day in Cleveland. What a nice story. We're going to talk about that today on PTI. Braylon Edwards can do some foolish things at times, but he's among the top 3 receivers in the league in my book.

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Sawx: Boston's the seventh-largest TV market, but when you add in Hartford, Providence, Burlington, Portland, and the rest of New England, they're as rich as anybody--so let's not make the Sawx out to be anybody's underdog. They won, so good for them.

Michael Wilbon: Here Here!

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Tom Brady's Knee: I can understand Bill Belichick's desire to crush every team in the NFL, but why keep your franchise QB in there to do it? One cheap shot helmet to the knee and it's goodbye Super Bowl unless Cassell suddenly gets good.

Michael Wilbon: You're absolutely right. And if I was on the opposing team, I'd hit Tom Brady with everything I had as late as I could and take the penalty and join the fight that would surely follow. Football is a violent game and there's got to be somebody out there sharpening his fans for the Patriots Golden Boy in the 4th quarter one of these weeks.

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Washington, D.C.: If the Wizards trade Arenas for Kobe, I will stop following the team.

I understand Kobe is a superstar and probably one of the best 3 players in the game, but he is also a selfish player that has NOT elevated his team, much less taken them to a title since Shaq left.

What exactly has Kobe accomplished since Shaq left that Gilbert hasn't done for the Wizards?

Why are we to assume that they would be better off, because Kobe is a better player? What about the team chemistry that appears to exist on the Wizards?

Do Kobe's teammates like him? Is he one of those players that is incapable of carrying a team because he is so selfish.

Michael Wilbon: Every single point you make is not only valid, but right on the money, which is why as a Bulls fan I don't want to give up players like Luol Deng, Ben Gordon and Jokim Noah to get him. He hasn't elevated his team since Shaq left. In fact, in the biggest test since Shaq's departure, Kobe came up zero against Phoenix in Game 6 at home in L.A. and Game 7 in Phoenix. He was dreadful. I'm so with you, I might reconsider what I just said...Thing is, I think Kobe's a frontrunner. With Caron Butler and an evolving Blatche and Songaila and these two rookies that I really, really like, Kobe might see a championship in his future and really evolve himself a little bit. But the Wizards can't give up too much. I could see this Wizards team finishing anywhere from 3rd in the east this year to 8th if they don't take playing defense seriously.

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Detroit: Heard from many gloating Lions fans today? The Bears look done.

Michael Wilbon: The Bears ARE done. When you don't have a QB and a running game you're done. The defense allowed only one touchdown yesterday (that after a Griese interception), but they're done and they might have to have a major re-tooling in the off-season. Brian Urlacher says he has arthritis in his back, which ain't good news. The Lions popped off at the mouth before the season and said they're a 10-win team. Well, they're halfway there. Much of the thanks has to go to QB Jon Kitna, offensive coordinator Mike Martz, and that quirky little head coach, Rod Marinelli...

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Stevensville, Md.: What are your thoughts about running up the score? In my opinion it's a teams job to put up points, not save their opponent from embarrassment. The Redskins' players are cashing million dollar paychecks just like the Patriots', so they have no one to blame but themselves for the blowout.

Michael Wilbon: Your thought is my thought. You want somebody not to run it up...don't let 'em. On the other hand, Belichick is a cheat and during games behaves with little class...If I was on the other side my goal would have been for Brady to be helped off the field, by whatever means necessary.

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D.C.: What's up with your boy David Stern? He doesn't allow players to dress down like Brett Favre at a press conference, but it's okay for officials to gamble in casinos?

Michael Wilbon: It's wildly and absurdly hypocritical...Not that I have a problem with referees going to a casino because I don't. It's just that he modified a rule when it suited him and helped the league avoid embarrassment but he cited letter of the law when it came to suspending Amare Stoudemire and Boris Diaw for "leaving the bench" during the dust-up against the Spurs in the second round of the playoffs. Just goes to remind you that lawyers will justify anything that suits them, citing rules all along the way. And they apparently think most of the rest of us are too stupid to be offended at their hypocrisy

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Kansas City, Mo.: Mike: you've been everywhere in the NFL. Please tell me:

1. Your favorite stadium? 2. Best fans? 3. Best tailgating city?

Michael Wilbon: Favorite stadium (God, I can't believe I'm about to say this): Lambeau. The runners up would be Baltimore, Soldier Field and Seattle.

Best fans: Chiefs, Broncos, Steelers or Packers.

Best tailgating city: San Francisco...Nobody else need apply. The smells from the grills in the Candlestick Parking lot are without peer...Oh my goodness. I'm drooling just thinking about it.

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Arlington, Va.: Let me get this straight - you're suggesting blatantly trying to injure a player on the opposing team for no good reason other than you can't compete head-to-head. What kind of message are you trying to send?

Michael Wilbon: I'm saying football is a violent game and I believe in an eye for an eye. You think Sam Huff wouldn't have taken out Brady yesterday? And when I say "take out" I don't mean go for his knees; I mean a clean shot with every once of force one can summon...right in the strike zone. You think Butkus and LT and Bednarik would have stood for that stuff? No way. No chance.

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Washington, D.C.: You see Wise's piece on Arenas in the Magazine? Outstanding. Do you wish you had the time to write pieces like that on occasion?

Michael Wilbon: I haven't seen Mike Wise's story on Gil yet, but I talk to Wise all the time and we talked about that piece at length...look forward to seeing it when I get home tomorrow. And no, I don't do those pieces anymore and haven't for awhile...and have no real interest. Careers evolve in different ways as Mr. Tony warned me long ago. When he stopped write long pieces like that and became a columnist I asked him why and he told me his thoughts stopped at 1,000 words (about the length of a Washington Post column). I've known that feeing for 15 years, though I sometimes go to 1,500 words. But that takes lots of reporting and days of writing, something columnists have neither the inclination nor the time to do.

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Oxford, UK via Cambridge: Mike, you've said all along you don't think the Pats will go undefeated. Well, barring a plane crash or other such tragedy, who the heck is going to beat them? Most of my mates were at Wembley watching the Giants and Fish. I've taped this game in order to show them how it's supposed to be done.

Michael Wilbon: Perhaps you didn't notice the Patriots have a date with the Indianapolis Colts Sunday at 4 p.m. eastern. Let's chat on Monday about that outcome. I have the Colts winning. If the Patriots trash them, perhaps I'll reevaluate...have a great week everybody...gotta run over to Mile High for PTI and MNF...thanks. MW

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New Orleans: What do like better: Coaches wearing suit and tie during a game or the 'ole sweats and jacket?

Michael Wilbon: suits and ties, no question. Lombardi, Halas...Landry...Fashion, baby. The NFL should mandate it instead of ordering these guys wear stuff you can buy from Dick's or Sports Authority...Ahhh, but there's the reason the league has them wearing that junk, isn't it?

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