The Chat House with Michael Wilbon: Super Bowl, Drew Brees, Sean Payton, Wizards, NBA and more

Michael Wilbon
Washington Post Sports Columnist
Monday, February 8, 2010; 1:15 PM

Welcome to another edition of The Chat House, where Post columnist Michael Wilbon was online Feb. 8 to discuss the Super Bowl, Colts Saints aftermath, Drew Brees, Sean Payton, the Wizards, the NBA, World Wide Wilbon (which is Not Just Another Sorry, No-Account Sports Blog) the latest sports news, his columns and anything else on your mind.

Mike was also excited to defend his candidates for best sports story, athlete and overlooked story of the decade, which are open for user voting now at World Wide Wilbon.

A transcript follows

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New York, NY: So I suppose this first question is obligatory:


Michael Wilbon: Hi everybody ... don't know how many people are joining us today, since so many people are stranded at home and I'm presuming people usually chat from work, but thanks to those who are here today...I'm in New York City. I can't say stranded since I was coming here anyway from Miami to do the ABC NBA show I do every Sunday in the winter/spring ... but getting home will be a journey. I could do without it, to tell the truth, but I haven't seen my son, Matthew, in eight days and we've got to have some wrestling and head-butting and daddy-son time before I go back to some warmth, Dallas, for the NBA All-Star weekend. I'd like to be anywhere that isn't Washington, considering what you guys have going on down there.

Yes, we start with congratulating the Saints! Don't know that I've ever been happier for a team/city that isn't my own. The Saints, led by Drew Brees, Sean Payton and Gregg Williams, did what most of us thought wouldn't be done yesterday. It's no upset, but most of us did pick the Colts. I'm happy to have been dead wrong. The Saints played with a sense of daring I never associate with the Colts, which is why they seem to be the Atlanta Braves of the NFL. That ain't bad, but it doesn't produce a dynasty either.


Roseland, N.J.: Superbowl MVP? Phil Simms. He has slowly and steadily become one of the best NFL analysts out there. He was especially good on the Saints' two-point conversion, quickly anticipating the overturn and explaining the nuances of why in simple, clear language.

Michael Wilbon: Phil has always been very, very good ... no better than Troy Aikman or Chris Collinsworth, both of whom I think are great. There appear to be quite a few terrific analysts out there, which make for great television listening.


Arlington, Va.: How can ESPN/USA Today have Duke ahead of GU? They got run out of the gym last week by those same Hoyas! And don't say rankings don't matter - because they do in terms of tourney seeding. How can they justify this?!? Top 25: Kansas retains No. 1 spot, Villanova falls to fifth (USA Today, Feb. 8)

Michael Wilbon: It's not college football. It's college basketball. There's a tournament. It'll get sorted out just the way it's supposed to. Ranking Duke ahead of Georgetown speaks to a specific bias on the part of the voters, many of whom are pfoofs, morons. They've got a specific bias toward Duke, many of them. But it's not football, it's basketball. Play it out, baby. They play it out.


New Orleans: I truly believe that the Saints would never have won the Super Bowl if Hurricane Katrina did not happen. With the sequence of events following: Hiring Sean Payton, signing Drew Brees, drafting Reggie Bush, and ultimately the Saints becoming the single entity to unify around. This is the most historic moment in New Orleans history, and words cannot describe this feeling. Laissez les bon temps rouler!

Your thoughts on the Super Bowl?

Michael Wilbon: Why would these people not have been selected otherwise? You saying Jim Haslett would have been retained? I don't know that was the case. And Reggie Bush ... I hate to tell you this but he was coming out of college whether or not Katrina hit New Orleans or Houston or Miami. He was going to be available. And Brees--we know this because he told us last week -- came to New Orleans largely because Miami didn't think he could rehab his injured shoulder, and yes partly because he and his wife thought they could make a difference in New Orleans ... I wouldn't say the Saints couldn't have won without Katrina. But I do think the spirit of the region, specifically the city, helped rally the team and vice versa.


Dupont Circle:: Hello Wilbon-

How gross was the Who last night? I missed the onside kick because I was busy washing my eyes out with vinegar after multiple glimpses of Townshend's belly - not to mention the grand mal from the light show.

Attn. Aging Rockers: Stay home. Disguise yourselves. Aging athletes look rugged, distinctive and battle worn. (Paul Simon, Springsteen and Dylan are exempt (for reasons beyond my understanding)).

(I also don't count Prince - he doesn't age, he just writes dope jams.)

Michael Wilbon: I wrote something in my blog about this last night that you can find on World Wide Wilbon ... The question here is how long the owners want R&B and other pop acts banned, black people specifically, because Janet Jackson took her breast out x number of years ago. That's what this is about, keeping "those people" off the stage because "those people" acted up and now all of them have to pay so we'll get safe people who look like us (NFL owners speaking) that we can trust won't offend the country under our banner. This is what that is ... so we're stuck with aging rockers, I suspect, though I know the commissioner of the NFL, if he simply declared who the halftime act would be, would pick Beyonce ...


Atlanta, Ga.: So, was Sean's investment of a quarter million out his own pocket to get Greg Williams one of the best investments ever?

Michael Wilbon: Hell yes. Holding Peyton Manning and the Colts to 17 points in a dome? Yeah, worth every penny. Does this put Gregg Williams back into circulation for one of the upcoming head coaching jobs. Will he resist going to, say, the Raiders when Al Davis fires Tom Cable?


Snowmageddon, D.C.: Michael, Statistically Drew Brees' numbers are impressive, but during the course of the game he did not seem to be having a "wow" performance. 32 completions for 288 yards means there were not a lot of big plays, yet no one else statistically could have claimed MVP, except maybe the kicker. Could there be an argument for Hartley getting the award with three 40+ yard field goals and kicking a perfect onsides kick that will go down as one of the great plays in Super Bowl history?

BTW, who actually picks the Super Bowl MVP?

Michael Wilbon: a panel of media members, last I checked, picked the MVP. I've voted on it in my day. And Brees is the MVP. He hit on something like 28 of his last 29 passes when you discount one flat-out drop and one spike at the line of scrimmage. That's flirting with perfection.


Falls Church, Va.: Halftime show? What about Prince a few years back. It was pouring rain and he didn't miss a beat. Perhaps the best SB show I've seen on TV. Yeah, I'm tired of old (age) English rock band shows.

Michael Wilbon: God, Prince was great. Where was that game? Had to have been Miami if it was raining. I remember some kind of naughty symbol thing working. Was that after Janet? No, couldn't have been. Now, Prince. I could see why the NFL would say, "Nooooo, big boy ... we can't handle any of your stuff live at Super Bowl halftime." I could see why THAT R&B/Pop act might not fly...And remember, I'm a Prince fanatic. Love Prince. Seem him live, oh, eight nine times. I didn't even write during that halftime. Just wanted to see Prince. But I wouldn't rip the league for not bringing him back if it's PG stuff they want. I get that. But the notion that only rock bands can entertain America...don't get me started on what message that sends.


Washington, D.C.: Tell me you didn't wish you were in New Orleans last night.

Michael Wilbon: Naaaah, not anymore. Once upon a time I'd have loved it...But that's too much partying for me. I can't even imagine when that thing ended this morning. Probably just in time for lunch.


RVA: Last week on PTI you mentioned you were going to treat yourself to a movie marathon. Did this end up happening? If so, what did you see...and what did you think of what you saw?

Michael Wilbon: I couldn't get to NYC early enough to go marathon ... just saw the George Clooney flick, "Up in the Air" is the name of it, right? Anyway, I know people have said they were depressed by it, and I can see why. But I thought it was a terrific movie. Found everything from the material to the performances (especially the woman who plays Clooney's love interest who I don't recall seeing in a major role before this), especially the script, particularly good. And I don't see much out there this season, unlike last which I thought was the best year for movies in at least a decade. This year looks thin, but I'll go for two next Saturday and begin catching up. I need a re-release on Inglorious Bastards because I don't do much DVD ... I like theaters. I live the event of going to the movies and being unbothered for two-plus hours, of being away from cell phones and computers and tweeting.


Very lame on your part: I usually cut you slack when you raise race as an issue but you're dead wrong on the halftime show thing.

First, Prince performed in 2007 with the Florida A&M band. Guess you missed that one.

Second, the league clearly is keeping away from MTV-type acts. That may eliminate a lot of black acts but it also cuts out some white people, too. Do you think Lady Gaga will get a gig any time soon? Or Pink or Britney will be back in the near future?

Third, if they're so concerned about keeping the black folk out, what was Queen Latifah doing there in the pre game show?

Michael Wilbon: I didn't say pre-game, and I didn't say National Anthem, which can only be interpreted so much. I said halftime. That's a show and that's been dominated by rockers, dude. So if you take offense to that characterization that's your right, and I don't much care that you do. Get me a list of the halftime acts since Janet Jackson. And I believe in my rant I said R&B and pop, which includes white people yes...but R&B is damn sure 95 percent black folks, or would you like to debate the color of R&B artists as well?


Baltimore: They say Paul Hornung never pays for a meal in Green Bay ... How much better off is Drew Brees?

Michael Wilbon: Brees will dine out forever in arguably the best restaurant city in America and one of the best in the world. So will every member of that team who anybody recognizes.


Chicago: How well do you know Roger Goodell? Is he egotistical? I'm curious because the NFL twice ran an ad last night for the draft, showing footage of Peyton Manning's selection, and they edited it to make it look like Goodell had been presiding -- no shot of Paul Tagliabue, who apparently never existed. Maybe it's no big thing but it seemed like an interesting insight into the man's character. Thanks.

Michael Wilbon: I've known Roger Goodell for more than 20 years and I don't associate big ego with him at all, not at all. I mean, he is commissioner so he has to have an ego. But you can have back-and-forth with Roger and he respects and likes a good disagreement. I was in a dinner group with him last week one night in Miami ... and we had spirited discussion and some disagreement ... I don't think of him as being an egomaniac ... far from it, actually. He doesn't seem all that different, to me, from his time as an underling, even though he was a rising star from the beginning and everybody knew he had aspirations. He's pretty low-key and not at all self-absorbed ... That's my experience.


From the Tom Shales' chat: Halftime and The Who: I DID find it amusing that three of the songs The Who played happened to be the songs now used as the themes for the various CSI's. It was a moment of such brilliant and echoing cross promoting, my eyes temporarily lost focus.

Tom Shales: There you go. Maybe that explains why they were there the year CSI, I mean CBS, had the Super Bowl.

Michael Wilbon: Yeah, that was pointed out to me by my producers at PTI. I only know two or three of The Who's songs and since I watch CSI: Miami I do recognize that tune, even though I don't know the title ... the song with the scream at the end. I just don't know rock on any level. I know the name Roger Daltry. I know The Who is a rock band. I didn't know, until last night, that Roger Daltry was lead singer of The Who, or that the CSI: Miami song was theirs.


Halftime shows since Jackson: McCartney



Tom Petty


The Who

Clearly there is a move to aging rockers recently, away from the MTV generation. Is this racism or just the league going in a different direction?

Michael Wilbon: I'm not saying it's racisim ... I'm just saying there is a reluctance to put on people the folks making the decisions on this stuff don't know, and whose work they don't know. And just as I can't differentiate aging rockers (hope that doesn't make me a racist because half my favorite musicians are white, just never rocker) I suspect the folks in charge of these decisions don't know enough about R&B to know who's naughty or nice. I'd bet they don't know...Hell, I KNOW they don't know. That doesn't make them racists...They want something comfortable and it is damn ulikely to include R&B which is 90 percent black folks ... I know who they could turn to and feel safe: Stevie Wonder. That's what they'll do next. Beyonce scares some of them, I'm sure ... Who else is black and middle of the road, R&B without being too cutting edge?


New York, NY: Mike, any guesses on moves by the Wizards prior to the deadline? Ernie wouldn't keep everyone would he? Please tell me there are cap space creating trades in the near future.

Michael Wilbon: They should do whatever necessary to get Tracy McGrady's $22 million contract that expires after this season. And they should start the rebuilding effort now, but I don't know that it's going to happen. People are calling about Caron Butler and Antawn Jamison, for sure. Ernie Grunfeld is invested in trying to see through the team he assembled. The new owners will be invested in starting over ... These agendas are completely at odds, and that's too bad because I'd back up the truck on this group and turn it into the New Jersey Nets for a year or two, just like Ted Leonsis did with the Capitals, who, what was that ... just won their 14th straight? I realize you have to get lucky in the lottery in the NBA. I know, I know. It's not a given. But this team losing with a big payroll IS a given. Tear it down and start over.


Bethesda, Md.: Did Peyton need to win this game to stake a claim in the "greatest QB of all time" discussion? How do you view his legacy right now? The League: Manning's legacy fail? (Washington Post, Feb. 8)

Michael Wilbon: A win yesterday was going to make him the greatest ever? really? Is two more than the three Tom Brady has won? Is it more than the two that Ben Roethlisberger has? What were people thinking about when they said this junk all week? Two makes Peyton Manning greater than Joe Montana? Greater than John Elway. He's not only not WITH those guys he's below them. And don't tell me about passing yards or passer rating. You have to win the damn championships to be considered the greatest every in any sport and Peyton hasn't won enough. Two wouldn't have been enough either. People need to stop.


Free Meals: Wilbon-

Is that true, or just a cliche? Do local sports heroes really get free meals after heroic victories?

Michael Wilbon: Uh, yes. And national sports heroes get meals, and then the desert, if you understand what I'm saying to you.


New Orleans: How about some dap for Russ Grimm being selected to the HOF? They finanlly selected a 'Hog'. Joe Jacoby should be up next. Thoughts of the new HOF inductees?

Michael Wilbon: Thanks for mentioning that. Big ups to Russ Grimm, who I think should have been in several years ago. But hey, he's in now. That's Grimm, Monk, Green and Riggins from those Joe Gibbs-era teams. I'd love to see Jake get in. But I sat in the HOF selection room for 10 years and I know it's very, very, very unliikely he's going to be elected in the modern era. There are so many guys who are on deck, deserving people like Richard Dent (most feared player on the most feared defense in history), like Cris Carter and Chris Doleman. Jake's name hadn't come up in several years, and I've been off the panel for several years. But Grimm, who so many players and coaches and media members, felt was the best of the Hogs, goes in with a phenomenal group including the greatest receiver of all-time (Jerry Rice) and one of the five best backs of all-time (Emmitt Smith) ... What a class to enter Canton with ...


Ashburn, Va.: So Gregg Williams goes into the biggest game of his career and stifles one of the greatest offensives of our generation. What is going through Snyder's mind today?

Michael Wilbon: R-E-G-R-E-T?


New York, N.Y.: Did you catch the Terps beatdown of UNC yesterday? Terps might have something going out there in College Park.

Michael Wilbon: No, Super Sunday isn't a college basketball day for me...I hope something good is going on in College Park...But you can't judge it by beating the Tar Heels. Perhaps you've noticed that everybody's doing that these days? It's a game Maryland should win (this year) and did. Good for them. But it ain't like beating the Tar Heels last year when they were NCAA Champs. Stay calm, let's see. Georgetown's win over Villanova was a much, much bigger deal, especially coming off the trap game lost to South Florida.


Woodbridge, Va.: Are the Colts the football version of the Atlanta Braves? Great talent, solid coaching, tremendous regular seasons but unable to rack up multiple "world" championships.

Michael Wilbon: Yep.


Re: Gross Who: Thanks for including that - and I should mention that for years the Who was my absolute favorite. And you're darn right about the motivations behind this nonsense. Keep up the good work.

Michael Wilbon: Thanks ...


Bethesda, Md.: Wilbon, thanks for the chats, as always. Completely agree, The Who were terrible. I'd welcome Beyonce, but know what I'd welcome even more? Getting rid of the whole Super Bowl halftime extravaganza, and just having a regular halftime like any other game. Does that notion even come up? Or is it more likely that hell will freeze over?

Michael Wilbon: Thanks ... Too much money to give it up ... Advertisers pay even more for halftime, I'm sure.


Re: Falls Church: Back up and read disclaimer. Prince was not included. Not only does he write dope jams, he sings Foo Fighter songs to prove he can sing them better than they can.

In '89, Prince was proficient on 27 instruments. Don't mess with Prince. He's short, but gamey.

Michael Wilbon: I love that.


Silver Spring White Dude: I hear you on too many old white guy rock acts on halftime shows (except for Prince) and I'mma let you finish... but BEYONCE would have the best halftime show of ALL TIME!

Michael Wilbon: Just so people know, more folks have an interest in the halftime Super Bowl entertainment issue than ANYTHING by far...And we've got a ton of questions. That's the No. 1 topic. And not only am I not surprised, I think it's something so many people can relate to ... Anyway, I'm on a train home tonight to D.C., allegedly, so I gotta run and do PTI then hustle to Penn Station. But I can answer some more questions about this and other stuff ... I'll have time during my train ride...and I'll post them on World Wide Wilbon late tonight or early Tuesday morning ... thanks for chatting everybody...see you next week after the NBA All-Star weekend. Dig out safely. MW


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