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The Chat House

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Michael Wilbon
Washington Post Sports Columnist
Monday, November 5, 2007; 1:15 PM

Welcome to another edition of The Chat House where Post columnist Michael Wilbon was online Monday, Nov. 5 at 1:15 p.m. ET to take your questions and comments about the latest sports news and his recent columns.

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The transcript follows.

Discussion Archive

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Washington, D.C.: It was clear that the only thing that could have ruined the great game between the Pats and Colts yesterday was the officiating. Why did the NFL use a first-year crew for such an important game, and will pass interference ever become challengeable?

Michael Wilbon: Two very, very good questions to start today's chat. Hi everybody. I'm in Pittsburgh where the Ravens will play the Steelers tonight. But it's doubtful that game will be a fraction as important to the league's play or to the sports week as Colts-Pats was yesterday. I have no idea how the decision to go with a new crew could happen. No idea. There are supervisory people here for MNF that I will ask that question later today, but without any explanation it seems simply dumb. I've been traveling this morning from East Rutherford to Pittsburgh so I haven't seen anything yet that might have been explained yesterday. The way to go with pass interference is to make it two penalties. A flagrant foul goes to the spot, but the great majority would be 15 yards, so as to not have a disproportionate effect on the game. I don't ever see it going to replay...

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Orlando, Fla.: Michael

I am a huge Redskins fan, as are many of your loyal Chat House attendees. Would you please continue to be the voice of reason and remind us all that the Redskins are at best a mediocre team?

I phrased that as a question so that it might actually make the cut.

Thanks for the chats and your insights all these years.

Michael Wilbon: Why would people presume anything about the Redskins other than they're "pretty good." That's all. They're not terrible...A lot of teams (including my Bears) would die to be 5-3 right now. And they're not great...They're okay. Could get better...in decent position to make the playoffs. People who are fans of the Redskins should be pretty encouraged...but not beating their chests. Nobody in the NFC is unbeatable, not the Packers or Cowboys who lead the division...The Saints, I think, will wind up going to the Super Bowl...My preseason pick of New Orleans is looking better and better now that the Saints have won four straight.

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Fredericksburg, Va.: Hey Michael, love all your stuff. I saw one of the greatest games this weekend when I traveled to South Bend and saw the Midshipmen beat the Irish. What I don't understand is the fact that the press and most papers all claim Notre Dame loses to Navy. How about Navy beats Notre Dame? This is a good program that deserves more respect than it gets. Any thoughts??

One more thing, I hope no one ever says that smaller people can't play football, considering the player who caught the game-winning TD and two-point conversion for Navy was only 5 foot 6.

Michael Wilbon: Notre Dame losing is the story outside the greater D.C./Annapolis area where Navy is the story. Surely you understand that. Ninety percent of those people watching Saturday did so because they care about the Irish, not the Midshipmen...But having lived here for nearly 30 years and gotten to know people in the Naval Academy community, including a sprinkling of football players over the years, I couldn't be happier for anybody this week than I am for Navy...Just absolutely over the moon for the Midshipmen, their coaches and the people who've put a lifetime of work into that program over the 43 years that went by between Navy victories over Notre Dame.

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New Orleans: While I do not want to get overly optimistic, the Saints are starting to look more like '06 with a strong win yesterday. With the rest of the schedule being relatively easy and having the NFC wide open, the Saints have the ability to make another splash this season.

Michael Wilbon: Yes, they do...That's why I'm feeling pretty good about my pick...You know, I don't even remember who I picked in the AFC...had to have been the Colts but now I have to go back and check...

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London, U.K.: I know a win is a win, especially after the thrashing the Redskins took last week. But they needed OT to beat an awful Jets team with a new starting QB. To me, that is embarrassing and this team is no where close to being a playoff contender, no matter the sorry state of the NFC.

Michael Wilbon: Your record makes you a playoff contender, not who you beat. And if you think winning any game in any sport is embarrassing, it almost certainly means you don't compete in anything.

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Adrian Peterson:253 rushing yards for Peterson in the second half! How is that possible?

Michael Wilbon: He looks to me like the best back to come along since Emmitt Smith...maybe even Walter Payton...And he has much, much greater speed than both, and some of the cutback ability of Gale Sayers and seems to use his blockers at the point of attack like Marcus Allen...He's scary...Just scary.

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Washington, D.C.: Hi Mike,

Any idea why Brady was jawing at the ref at the end of the game in between taking a knee? Am I the only one getting tired of Brady, his designer suits, fancy-boy hair, and his Gus-Frerotte-esque head butting at the end of the game? Maybe it's just bitterness, but I remember the good old days when Brady seemed like a likable kid that you couldn't help but cheer for. These days he seems more and more like some playboy prima donna... despite his humble-pie interview act.

Michael Wilbon: You know who Brady plays for...his coach is a guy who behaves badly almost every single week for reasons that only he finds justifiable.

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Beltsville, Md.: I know three games is nothing in the grand scheme of things, but what do you think about the Wizards' horrible shooting so far? And how about Haywood's performance? Guess he doesn't need Thomas to push him after all.

Michael Wilbon: The Wizards have been an enormous disappointment, even though it's only three games. Bad shooting is why you have to play better defense. You can't shoot well all the time. But it's not the only reason ANY team should win games. Losing to the Pacers without Jermaine O'Neal...that's a bad loss. The Wizards look like they just showed up for work without camp or preparation, which I know isn't true because I know how much Eddie Jordan and his assistants have put into the start of this season. The veterans on that team owe their coach and the fans better than they've given so far...They've looked like chumps for three games.

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Washington, D.C.: Think people in South Bend are passing around a collection plate in order to buy out Charlie Weis's contract?

Michael Wilbon: Better be a big plate since I think the buyout is $10 million...Notre Dame needs to watch out. It's arrogance (one again) is showing.

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Minneapolis: Dear Mike,

Why is it that as soon as I am ready to write-off Minnesota sports, someone like Adrian Peterson comes along? I cannot keep going through this cycle of promise and despair (See 1998 Vikings with Randy Moss, 2003-4 Timberwolves with KG, 2006 Twins with Francisco Liriano). Every year our teams have potential, but it is never fulfilled.

Yours Truly,

Emotionally Exhausted

p.s. Is Peterson a top five NFL back?

Michael Wilbon: Why does every city's fans think its suffering is unique? Cleveland gets to feel that way. Everybody else needs to pretty much shut up, with the possible exception of Cubs fans. Notice I said "Cubs fans" not Chicagoans. And I'd take Peterson over anybody in the NFL right now. That's right, No. 1. Tomlinson has been the No. 1 back for the last four years, but now, for me, it's Peterson.

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Mom in Wilmington, Del.: Hi Mike - Love your chats, and PTI gives me great opportunities to show my son how to "discuss/debate" without fighting.

I'm not optimistic about tonight's Eagles game, so I'll ask you about Detroit. Are they now out of lucky-break/weird-fluke mode and solidly into "the real thing" territory?

Michael Wilbon: Boy, I don't know that I'm the model for discussion...I get too worked up, for sure. Anyway, I've long bought into the philosophy expressed by some coaches that "first you win, then you get good." Bobby Ross was the coach I first heard talk it, and I buy into it 100 percent. The Lions won a couple of games, now have won a couple convincingly, and now are confident they can't be stopped...They're good now. Let me tell you the one team the Redskins wouldn't want to see in a first-round playoff game...the DE-troit Lions.

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Broke Redskins Fan: How can the fan base hold the team accountable for their poor performance?? People will always buy the tickets... but man this is crazy...I wouldn't buy a crappy car over and over again for 10 years.

Michael Wilbon: One reason why I take so few Redskins questions is because of expressions like this, which are too hysterical and without context or practicality to entertain...Look, I know how fanaticism works. I'm like this about the Bears...But I'm throwing this one out there so people can see why I just have to flip the page many times.

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Olney, Md.: I'm not much of an NBA fan, but I got a HUGE kick out of seeing the home debut of the Garnett-Pierce-Allen Celtics this weekend. The joint was jumping! That said, can this team really make a run to the Finals this season? Somebody has to be a traffic cop and hand out the ball, and it's not clear who that will be.

Michael Wilbon: Yeah...I agree with both your sentiments...it's going to be difficult without a established playmaker. But I pick Boston because the other teams in the Eastern Conference, except Detroit, are all lacking something...Even if Boston makes a mid-season acquisition (and who would that be?) it's going to be the question about the Celtics all season.

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RE: Brady: The reason Brady was jawing at the ref at the end of the game was because the officiating was terrible. First-year crew? Bad mistake.

Michael Wilbon: Yes...yep.

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Fairlington, Va.: Hi Big Mike,

This might be too inside baseball, but why does ESPN go through the trouble and expense of having you fly to the game location to do the halftime PTI on Monday Night Football, but then have you and Tony on a split-screen from different parts of the stadium?

Or is this like the moon landing and you're really just in front of a green screen in your living room?

Michael Wilbon: First of all, I'm here because we do the full PTI sitting together on a set. That's 30 minutes. The half-time is 3 mins. But the problem is the broadcast booths in many stadiums are tiny little boxes that cannot hold another person...There are already the three of them, plus a statistician, makeup artist, and other staffers who NEED to be right there for the bigger purpose of the game. Sitting on the set by myself is just fine.

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Washington D.C.: Mike, I have to disagree with you about the Saints. Who have they beaten? I guess you can say the Jags without their starting QB. But the NFC will come down to the Packers, Cowboys, and Giants.

Michael Wilbon: We'll see. My final four in the NFC are the three you mention...and the Saints. It's the same team who beat some pretty good people last year, and have demonstrated the resolve to come back from an 0-4 record.

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Dulles Airport: Do you think Roger Goodell would have stepped in if the Andy Reid situation with his sons happened to a player instead of a coach?

Michael Wilbon: No, I don't. It's a personal family matter and Goodell should have zero play in it. Not only that, but Reid's sons are adults, 22 and 24 years old.

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Arlington, Va.: Is it too early for a Hoyas question? How do you see Georgetown doing this men's basketball season?

Thank you.

Michael Wilbon: Yes, it's too early. We all understand why the Hoyas are ranked, what, 5th in the preseason poll? They've got as good a chance to get to the Final Four as anybody. By the way, how about the way Jeff Greene has played for the Sonics, so far? He's looked good.

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Bowie, Md.: Speaking of jawing, looked like Dungy was trying to say something to Belichick during their "handshake" and got blown off ... anyone heard anything?

Michael Wilbon: No, but Dungy doesn't "jaw" at anybody. Belichick thinks he's the god of football right now and isn't in the mood to acknowledge anybody who not praising him to the heavens.

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Riggo: I see the power running worked for the Redskins on Sunday. What are the chance that this will continue for next week against Philly? Do you think the WRs will catch a TD?

Michael Wilbon: The Redskins need to run the ball, period. Joe Gibbs said as much three or four different ways in the post-game session with reporters. I'm not into who is catching TD passes. If Cooley and the backs catch them, fine. The WRs need to play better and the offensive play-callers need to try and get the ball down the field more.

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Washington, D.C.: I am a Jason Campbell fan, but when can we start talking about the areas he needs to improve? He throws a nice deep ball, but it is either perfect or they miss a scoring opportunity.

Michael Wilbon: Campbell is still a kid. He's still improving on all his throws. And he's not throwing to Randy Moss and Donte Stallworth...The Redskins wide outs are okay, but I wonder if it's the play calling more than Campbell's execution, though he has overthrown some open receivers deep, as he did Moss yesterday against the Jets.

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Hamilton, N.Y.: Hey Michael,

What do you think of Durant? I think the Sonics are going to rebuild real fast.

Michael Wilbon: Man, by the end of NEXT season they could be elbowing their way into the bottom of the playoffs...I wonder if they can grow any faster than that...it might be a bit much to expect, but they have some pieces and I like P.J. Carlesimo in the role of professor with a bunch of young players. Durant is really, really, really good offensively. Really good.

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D.C.: Wilbon, who's your number two team in the nation right now, LSU or Oregon?

Michael Wilbon: I'd vote Ohio State, Kansas, Oregon, LSU. I think LSU is overrated by most of my analyst buddies. Yes, they have a difficult schedule but they lost once and nearly did back-to-back in a season when the SEC isn't the best team in the country. The Pac-10 is. If Kansas beats Oklahoma State and wins the Big 12 (over Oklahoma) I think Kansas earns the No. 2 spot, depending on what the Buckeyes do. If Ohio State loses at Michigan (which I think can happen), then it could be Kansas and Oregon at the top of my list.

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Washington, D.C.: With no truly great teams and a bunch of really good one-loss teams, isn't this season the best argument yet for a college football playoff? Let's say the polls finish as is. Is LSU really that much better than Oregon or West Virginia? Wouldn't a playoff with the top 8 be amazing with this many quality teams?

Michael Wilbon: There are a million great arguments for a college football playoff system. It would always be amazing, just like March Madness.

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Boston: Thankfully Brady/Moss/et. al. pulled it out in the fourth quarter last night. With BC losing on Saturday night I was afraid it was going to be a lost weekend. Now I can go back to being a smug, Boston fan. Hey, even the Celts with KG, Ray and Pierce won their first two games.

Objective question from smug fan: will the Pats run defense keep them from going undefeated during the regular season and keep them from winning the Super Bowl?

Michael Wilbon: I have believed firmly that going undefeated is just too hard. Stuff happens. Somebody has a bad day, somebody is sick or distracted for a couple of plays, or the other guys plays out of his mind. The Patriots are only halfway there...I'm not ready to change my mind yet, not with games against the Steelers and (I think) the Giants remaining.

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Richmond, Va.: Something is being overlooked in the aftermath of the Pats victory. The Colts will likely have to face the Steelers before facing the Patriots in the AFC playoffs. They may not be able to get past them. And I think the Steelers are good enough to beat the Pats too.

Michael Wilbon: You and I think way too much alike for your own good. I think EXACTLY the way you do about what's coming up in the next three months...

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Accomac, Va.: Mr. Wilbon,

Loved your column today. You always have a way of helping me think more clearly about...well, almost anything.

But I do have a beef. All year long we've been hearing in the media, including from you, about how much stronger the AFC is that the NFC. Well, we're at the half-way point of the season (sort of) and the record is 20 wins for the AFC and 19 for the NFC. This sounds pretty even to me. Is it time for you to re-think the AFC's dominance?

Michael Wilbon: Did you watch Patriots-Colts yesterday? The top of the pyramid is what matters most. If the Patriots or Colts don't win the Super Bowl it will be an upset...

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Detroit: Gilbert Arenas talks too much and needs to tone it down. He seems more concerned with being a showman than getting his team to the next level. It's his choice, of course.

Michael Wilbon: I love what Gilbert does, how accessible he is, how he connects with fans and has a flair for entertainment. Bob Ryan of the Boston Globe always says sports needs more people like Gilbert...And I agree with him. BUT at some point, a professional athlete is judged by how far his teams advance. And Gilbert knows that. Right now, the Wizards are a big disappointment...

...Okay, gotta run to prepare for PTI over at the stadium...Hope everybody has a great week...Chat next Monday from...Seattle...Thanks.

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Editor's Note: washingtonpost.com moderators retain editorial control over Discussions and choose the most relevant questions for guests and hosts; guests and hosts can decline to answer questions. washingtonpost.com is not responsible for any content posted by third parties.


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