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The Chat House with Michael Wilbon: Hype of NFL Draft and More Sports

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Michael Wilbon
Washington Post Sports Columnist
Monday, April 27, 2009; 1:15 PM

Welcome to another edition of The Chat House, where Post columnist Michael Wilbon was online Tuesday, April 27 at 1:15 p.m. ET to discuss the hype of the NFL Draft and more from his columns plus all of the latest sports news.

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washingtonpost.com: We're waiting for Michael. Please stand by..

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Rockville, Md.: Do you think the Redskins's are ready to commit to Campbell and do you think both sides can put this offseason behind them?

Michael Wilbon: Hi Everybody! What a weekend of sports, huh? We'll start with the NFL Draft, but move quickly to the NBA playoffs and Capitals preparing for Game 7...I wouldn't trust the Redskins to committ to anything...ever. Why would I? Look at the team's history the last 10 years. Now, let me praise the Redskins for the people they've actually acquired. They got back my man D. Dockery to play guard. They signed Albert Haynesworth and he's a beast. And this kid they drafted in the first round, from all appearances, is a stud. Great pick...I didn't say he'll be a great player because who the hell knows, but he's a great pick for what the Redskins need. So why, as Tom Boswell wrote this weekend, did the Redskins need to create so much drama with their starting QB? Because they're as committed as a 26-year-old bachelor with options...which is to say, they're committed to nothing but their whims. I don't know whether it's just Dan Snyder or others, but forget about the word committment with the Redskins. They haven't demonstrated any in years.

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Washington, D.C.: Hi Mike, you have critized the Eagles about not helping D. McNabb, now the Redskins flirting with every QB but Jason Campbell. What are players owed from there teams management?

Michael Wilbon: Honesty and support...and I'm not sure Campbell's gotten either from Redskins management.

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washingtonpost.com: Boswell: How Not To Treat The QB (Post, April 26)

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Washington, D.C.: Why was Bill Kennedy working the Bulls game yesterday? Didn't he get into an incident with Doc Rivers during the St. Patrick's day game against the Bulls. Also what about the report that family members of Kennedy and Crawford were seen wearing Bulls gear at the game?

Michael Wilbon: Great question. Look, I'm friendly with Bill Kennedy and Danny Crawford. I know both men and respect them tremendously as officials. Danny, from what I've always heard, is one of the best referees in the game, and has been for years. And I certainly don't care even a little bit about what team's gear Kennedy and Danny Crawford's family members were or were not wearing. Danny's family lives in Chicago. What team might his family members root for, considering they're Chicagoans? Having said that, the NBA should NOT have had Bill Kennedy work that game, just because of the controversy he and Doc Rivers had previously IN CHICAGO! Doc, remember, is from Chicago, too. The appearance of something uncool should have been avoided. I'd have Kennedy work a Celtics game in Cleveland or Orlando in a heartbeat...it just seemed unnecessary to me, given the circumstances.

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D.C.: Wilbon, how paranoid is T.K. over the swine flu? Will he be doing PTI from his house?

Michael Wilbon: No, he's in Philly today. He must think the Swine Flu is chasing him right up the eastern seaboard.

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Bandera, Tex.: With all the draft picks in (I hope), and the fallout from last season -- who's on top to the Super Bowl next season?

Can Pittsburgh make a repeat?

Thanks.

Michael Wilbon: Draft picks have almost nothing to do with it. The Steelers will he the favorites in the AFC, along with the Patriots. The Cowboys will be, as always, overrated. The Bears, Giants, Eagles, Vikings, Saints, Falcons and maybe even the Cardinals again will be the betting favorites.

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Denver, Colo.: Mike -

I enjoy your work. Recently Slate ran an article alleging that the draft constitutes a restraint of trade since it prohibits draftees from negotiating with all teams who would desire their services. Again, according to the article, the reason the draft remains is because the NFL and the NFLPA agree to keep it this way. You have been critical of the league and power it has over players so I was wondering your thoughts on the NFLPA's rationale for keeping the system as it is. Also, should incoming players be allowed to negotiate with any team they choose?

Thanks.

Michael Wilbon: I'm fine with whatever the union bargains, collectively, for the players. There has to be some bargaining agent that looks out for the players' rights. And that agent is the union.

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Home 'Ice' Advantage: Hello Michael,

I found something you and TK agreed on last week on PTI very interesting. You were discussing the NHL playoffs and said, in essence, that there is no such thing as a home field advantage in hockey, but gave no explantation. Why do you say that? Doesn't a arena full of screaming fans help the home team? What does give home field advantage in any sport?

Michael Wilbon: Look at the numbers. I don't have them at my fingertips now, and perhaps I'll get them for next week. But playing at home matters most in the NBA and then the NFL, and least in the NHL and MLB post-seasons. I'm so, so certain of it...Let's see if I can get the numbers to bear out my instincts.

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Poplar Bluff, Mo.: Michael, thanks for the chat. What is your opinion of the Redskins signing Mizzour Quarterback Chase Daniel? I think he could become a viable back-up quarterback in the NFL. Thank you.

Michael Wilbon: I like Chase Daniel a lot. A whole lot. He went undrafted because he's barely 6 feet tall, but it's said by everybody in the Big 12 that he has a big arm...He threw for HUGE numbers at Mizzou in back-to-back seasons. Yeah, I think he could be a backup. He threw 39 TDs and more than 4,000 yards last year with a passer rating of 159...the year before, 33 TDs, 4,300 yards...The kid's numbers are sick, but they were posted in that spread college offense which can be misleading. Very, very nice pickup by the Redskins. I think he could give Colt Brennan a run for his money.

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Arlington, Va.: I am hoping you can give us a little insight into ESPN's blunder earlier today. As Stienberg has reported in his blog, ESPN (erroneously) claimed that Mike Green was going to be suspended for game 7. This doesn't even make any sense and the two possible WaPo sources (Tarik and Dan) have both claimed this is laughable. Doesn't someone at ESPN step in as the head of common sense and just say this story doesn't add up, let's get another source. People seem too reliant on believing anything from a twitter account and that they don't have the time or energy to do real research.

Michael Wilbon: Wish I could tell you what happened and where the breakdown ocurred, but I cannot. I'm sure producers up in Bristol are trying to get to the bottom of it now. Somebody is going to have a very uncomfortable day or week up there...It happens, unfortunately, everywhere from time to time.

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RIP 2002-2009 Pistons: Mike,

Six straight East Finals, two Finals appearances and one championship. How will this Pistons team will be remembered among not just NBA history, but Detroit Pistons team history?

Michael Wilbon: Hey, it's hard to win a championship. The Pistons of Chauncey Billups, Rip Hamilton, Ben and Rasheed Wallace, Tayshaun Prince...they won one. Wouldn't the Wizards love to have one more? They did it without what most people would call a superstar, which is so uncommon. It's almost impossible to find in the history of the NBA. Seriously, who else did that? Maybe the Seattle SuperSonics of 1979, that won with Dennis Johnson as their best player. Those are the only two teams I can think of...Don't get me wrong, Billups and Hamilton are so, so good. Look at what Denver is going with Billups running the show instead of Allen Iverson. It just worked. And it worked, in large part, because Larry Brown is one of the greatest coaches to ever wear a whistle. He's unbelievably great as a coach...the only one, I think, to win an NCAA title and an NBA title. This team isn't as good or as appealing to the masses as The Bad Boy Pistons of Thomas/Laimbeer/Dumars/Mahorn/Sally/Rodman/VJ...and maybe this group doesn't win if Kobe/Shaq/Phil aren't feuding in 2004...But they DID win. It was quite a ride, getting to the Finals twice, winning once and getting to the Eastern Conference Finals six straight times...Cheers to them. I think Joe Dumars will have them right back in the top three in the East within two years, what with the youngsters he has acquired (Stuckey, Wil Bynum) and the cap space they can use to sign (Carlos Boozer?) free agents in the next two summers.

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Fairfax, Va.: Tortorella's suspension: fair or foul?

And who ya got in Caps/Rangers game 7?

Michael Wilbon: He should be suspended. But he also should have pulled his team off the ice and made Capitals management understand that the game would not continue until the people who threw stuff at him and his players were removed. No excuses. None. Get them out.

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Washington, D.C.: Have you ever caught heat from ESPN for bashing the NFL draft hype machine (a major property of theirs) in your Post column?

Michael Wilbon: A little...as if I care.

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Hockeytown: Wouldn't home ice be a HUGE advantage in hockey since the home team gets to put their line out last so, for example, if New York puts out its worst defenseman, the Caps can put out Ovechkin? Maybe the stats don't bear it out but that would seem to be a big advantage to me.

Michael Wilbon: No...I remember, going back to my Blackhawks playing the Canadiens in, oh, 1973 maybe...perhaps 1972, in Game 7 in Chicago. Blackhawks led 2-0 in Game 7 in the old Chicago Stadium and lost to Montreal. Crushed me as a kid. Killed me. Tony Esposito had played too many minutes and got tired. Anyway, home ice just doesn't have the bottom-line advantage that, say, the NBA does in the playoffs...I gotta get these numbers to see if my feelings on this are substantiated.

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Herndon, Va.: Why do the Redskins refuse to draft an offensive lineman? Clearly they need to build in this area, and isnt' the draft the best place to find youthful players?

Michael Wilbon: Not sexy enough? Not glamorous enough? Seriously, that's my theory. Nobody would admit that, but what else could it be?

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Why would Mike Green be suspended ?: For having a bad haircut ?

Michael Wilbon: Ha!

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Memory Lane: Thanks for hosting this chats Mike. I'm curious to know about your first ever encounter with TK? Where/When/How? What did you first think of him and did you ever see the two of you becoming as close as you are today? Thanks.

Michael Wilbon: Goodness...Great question. I don't recall it. Seriously...Must have been in the newsroom on the 5th floor of The Washington Post when I was an intern, in June-Aug of 1979...God, 30 years ago this summer...I remember him hardly speaking to any of the youngsters early on, then later thawing out and taking us to lunch...then having plenty to say to us, very much like a mentor. I bet the first month he didn't talk to me or Suzanne Tobin, who was an intern in sports with me...We're too old to recall. It's been too long.

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Vienna, Va.: If the Caps make it into the 2nd playoff round, what do you think their chances are to advance again, especially if they're seeded against Bruins or Penguins?

Michael Wilbon: I have zero idea...I just know I want to see Carolina beat NJ so that I can see Crosby vs. Ovechkin. That's all I care to see.

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Centreville, Va.: Hello -

What is the deal with the Bengals? Is it Marvin Lewis or Mike Brown (or both or neither) who seem to not care about character at all? I think it was Yahoo! sports that noted that their first three picks this year all have issues of some sort -- and going into that locker room!

Michael Wilbon: Yeah, I don't get it. I've been railing against this for years. The Portland Trailblazers tried this and it failed miserably, but after they got very, very close to winning it all (17-point fourth-quarter lead against the Lakers in L.A. in Game 7 of the Western Conference Finals in 2000)...To me, it just doesn't work.

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Ft. Washington, Md.: I don't know what it is about the NFL. Yesterday, a perfectly beautiful day, instead of playing outside with my daughter I was watching the draft. I turned it off when it dawned on me that I didn't know any of the players being drafted and I was tired of the false analysis. The NFL just sucks people in something as mundane as its draft. Why is that?

Michael Wilbon: I love this question. The answer: Because the NFL is the smartest, most compelling sports/entertainment brand in America. You're addicted. Don't fight it. I used to be addicted, too. Now, I've confined it to September through the Super Bowl...I don't miss a game. Seriously, I sit like a bat in a cave and watch 17 full weeks, on two flat-screens in my home office and I dare people to walk downstairs and bother me on a Sunday. Matthew either has to join dad or get out once he turns, oh, 3. The NFL is IT, baby. And don't think they don't walk around looking in the mirror and smiling about it either.

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Silver Spring, Md.: Mike,

How bad was the Raiders draft this year? I've been a fan of the team for a long time but Darrius Heyward-Bey at the 7 spot? Mind-boggling.

Michael Wilbon: Why? Who knows? Suppose Terrell Davis, he of the 2,000-yard rushing season for the Broncos, had been picked in the 1st round instea of the 6th? Would the Broncos have been crazy. The guy helped John Elway to a pair of Super Bowls. 15 running backs were taken before Davis. So, who was stupid? Supose the Maryland kid turns out to be better than Michael Crabtree? Seriously, like WRs don't go bust or boom all the time. Who knows? Why do people get so worked up over this stuff? THEY DON'T KNOW. If they did, Giovanni Carmazzi (I think that was his name) wouldn't have been drafted before Tom Brady. There's no science here...None...

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Caps v. Bruins: Couldn't happen in the second round, since they're seeded 2-1, respectively. They'd each be seeded against lower opponents, to give them a theoretical chance of playing each other in the conference finals.

This is all hypothetical, of course.

Michael Wilbon: The NHL re-seeds my man. If Carolina wins, the Caps and Pens play each other while the Hurricanes and Bruins would play. Don't mess with me on this. The NBA is the only league that doesn't re-seed.

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Washington, D.C.: OK Wilbon, who turns this trade down: Wizards send their pick (assuming it's not 1 overall) to Detroit along with contract filler (Mike James, Etan Thomas) for Tayshaun Prince. Prince is EXACTLY the kind of veteran, playoff-tested defender that we need here, and he'll go to waste in a rebuilding Detroit.

Michael Wilbon: I like that...IF the Wizard don't finish 1 or 2. If they do, I want Blake Griffin or Ricky Rubio, the Spanish point guard...That's just me.

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Arlington, Va.: Speaking of taking a 'little heat' for bashing the NFL draft, aren't you and TK a bit hard on a local D.C. sports team, the Washington Nationals? Sure, they haven't done much right lately, but there seemed to be vitriol in your comments last week on the 'Natinals'.

Michael Wilbon: Let me say this once more: The Nationals stink. And they're an embarrassment, what with being unable to spell the team's name correctly on the jersey. Please, don't tell me to pull punches on the Nationals. They're the worst team in baseball now, the worst. They stink on every level.

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John Madden: MW -- thoughts on John M calling it quits? There was a lot of vitrol directed at him in the WAPO's comment section when the story ran...I dont get it...no one knows the game better than he does...

Michael Wilbon: Any criticism directed at John Madden is idiotic. You don't mean writers from the sports section, do you? If so, that's moronic. He's the best ever, period. He made the game accessible for people who never played it. He spoke eloquently, though in plain language. He's as good as anybody who's ever analyzed any sport, and the notion of criticism of Madden is too stupid for me to entertain.

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West Los Angeles, Calif.: Isn't it a fact of life in the NBA that when teams give up on players for expiring contracts, the affected players give up on the teams? Might this explain things like Iverson's bad back (must take his word) and Wallace not scoring a point Sunday. While this aspect of NBA life might be viewed as millionaire players and owners doing in each other, unfortunately it's the fans who pay and get screwed in the process.

Michael Wilbon: Amen. Beautifully said.

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Washington, D.C.: I hope the Capitals ban the "fan" from attending future games for at least one season, preferably more. Yes, the NHL should hold coaches and players to a high standard, but fans shouldn't be let off for stupidity such as this.

Michael Wilbon: Again, Amen. Well said.

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Baltimore, Md.: You mentioned a couple weeks ago on PTI that the playoffs are "reduced" without Kevin Garnett. Objectively, do you find yourself also thinking that way about the Suns, too, and in particular, Shaq? It really feels odd to watch NBA hoops in (almost) May and be missing such an outsize personality and player, as well as a darned entertaining team to watch -- both of which were playoff mainstays for so long.

Michael Wilbon: Okay, nothing about my work or anything I said is objective because I've got opinions about everything. That said, of course the playoffs are reduced without Shaq and Steve Nash and Amare Stoudemire. Yes. The Suns were the most exciting team in the NBA for four years, and now they're apparently done. They may start over entirely. They picked up where those Sacramento teams in the early oughts left off...And it's too bad for basketball junkies who love a little run-and-gun, baby. Not to mention, who's more entertaining than Shaq? Answer: Nobody.

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Chevy Chase, Md.: How do you really feel about the Nationals?

Michael Wilbon: El Stinko. Am I leaving any doubt?

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Rubio!: Thank you! I've been saying for weeks that if the Wiz don't get to pick first, they should take Rubio. Most people seem to think it's crazy, but there are a lot teams having success getting real point guards to play one. I love Gilbert, but he's no point guard.

Michael Wilbon: My point exactly. Rubio is 6-4, 6-5. He can run a team. And the Wizards have weapons. I'd love to see Rubio play here. By the way, do you see Rudy Fernandez for Portland? How great is this kid? Griffin or Rubio...that's what I'm hoping for the Wiz.

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NBA Playoffs: Do you think they should be re-seeded like the NHL?

Michael Wilbon: Yes...Been an advocate of that for a long time.

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College Park, Md.: Are the Spurs done as a championship team? If so does it make sense to try to trade Duncan and rebuild around Parker?

Michael Wilbon: They are done, for now. But I think a free agent signing, good health and a good draft pick can put them back there. And NO, I don't see them trading Tim Duncan. Hmmm, no. No chance.

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Takoma: For the record, the fans threw nothing at Torterella heavier than really foul language. Torterella clearly overreacted and has to check himself. That said, what about the Brashear hit? Suspension? Or, good, heavy hockey hitting?

Michael Wilbon: That's not the reporting I'm hearing. I hear there were things thrown and more than one.

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Washington, D.C.: Do you think the Redskins' efforts to obtain respectively Jay Cutler and Mark Sanchez were more their complete/partial lack of confidence in Jason Campbell or more their efforts to "light a fire" under Campbell so that he'll play with a "chip on his shoulder"?

Michael Wilbon: Neither. I think it's Dan Snyder's infatuation with shiny new things. Simple as that. It's not like we haven't seen it before...Okay, gotta run and prepare for PTI...Happy Birthday to my assistant, Amy Shapiro, without whom I could barely function...Everybody be well...See you next week...MW

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Washingtonian in California: Thanks to the Caps success I'm watching hockey for the first time (yes, yes call me a bandwagon rider but what can I say, I love my city and am happy when its teams do well)

My question/comment is this. Watching hockey, with all the fighting, coaches throwing things at fans, etc., one thought came to mind: "Man, white people can get away with anything." Can you speak to this? Why hockey is allowed to embrace this aura of uncontrolled violence both on the ice and in the stands? But in basketball, the situation is so different. It's frustrating to me that this double standard isn't addressed more.

Michael Wilbon: Oh my God, we have to get to this question next week. This is a must...Can somebody remind me...I promise...This is too good to pass up, but gotta run...Have a great week everybody...Watch Game 7 tomorrow night, Capitals and Rangers. Nothing better in sports than Game 7s. Nothing. It's single elimination with new history. Fabulous.

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Alexandria, Va.: Any thoughts about the Kobe-Spike Lee documentary thing?

Michael Wilbon: Haven't seen it yet..Dying to see it.

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