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The Chat House with Michael Wilbon

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Michael Wilbon
Washington Post Sports Columnist
Monday, November 15, 2010; 1:30 PM

Welcome to another edition of The Chat House, where Post columnist Michael Wilbon was online Monday, Nov. 15 at 1:30 p.m. ET to discuss the Redskins and NFL, the NBA, college football and basketball, all the latest sports news and his recent columns.

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washingtonpost.com: Michael has logged in and his first answer will be posted soon.

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Ashland VA: What has been most detrimental to the Skins over the years? Poor quarterback play? Poor offensive line play? Poor management?

Michael Wilbon: Hi Everybody! Welcome to a pretty big Monday. Looking forward to the game tonight, though not the trip to FedEx Field, which I figure might take 90 minutes during the evening rush. Anyway, as for your question, let's just call it inadequate decision making from management that has been the biggest problem...Now, this just pertains to football matters, mind you. The Redskins are incredibly profitable and well-positioned because Dan Snyder and the top-level management people have scored big in when it comes to financial affairs. On the field? not so much. Brad Johnson won a Super Bowl after he left the Redskins. Jason Campbell, while by no means a finished product, has had better results since he left the Redskins. Look at the coaching changes, and therefore the QB changes, and how can you draw any conclusion other than the top of the pyramid is accountable for the failures on the field.

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Floyd Mayweather Jr.: Michael,

I'm the greatest fighter of all time and I've never been defeated unlike Pacquiao, so quit calling me a coward! That being said, what excuse should I come up with next? After all, I'm Pretty Boy Floyd and I can't have my face looking like Margarito's did the other night.

Michael Wilbon: Floyd Mayweather is a coward. He doesn't want to fight a man his own size...I don't care what he says, what excuse he comes up with next; they're all lame. Mayweather is afraid to get his head knocked off, which is what I think will happen. I'm still gloating over winning a bet with my friend Kendall Gill (the University of Illinois basketball star, Chicgoan and all-around great guy) who thought Margarita's size would negate Pac's speed. Sorry. And Mayweather, I keep telling Kendall, would get chopped up just like Margarita. I'm not saying it would be an easy fight for PacMan...But I think he'd win convincingly. And it's a shame that Mayweather won't fight, given that boxers are the bravest people I've ever covered in sports. Not even close. They're the most courageous, most stand-up, most accountable guys in sport...but not this guy. Not Mayweather.

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Anonymous: How difficult would it be for the NCAA to tack on one game at the end of the year? Just one. Have Oregon play Boise and TCU play Auburn, and have the winner play for the BCS title. Why can't they do this every year with the top four teams and still have all the other bowl games play? That way we can all have our cake and eat it too.

Michael Wilbon: It's completely easy. But the Cartel doesn't want to do it. They don't want to share the money with "those people." The folks who run the Cartel are loathe to see one of their teams beaten on the big stage by a "small" school...They don't want the nation to see, even potentially, a game like the Sugar Bowl a couple of years ago where Utah (which sure has tanked the last two weeks) beat the daylights out of Alabama. They boys in the Cartel don't want equality; they want to hog the money for themselves...and if you open it up and play everybody that means you can't control the outcome of the games or where the money goes. It's sinister...It really is. Read Sally Jenkins colum on this from last week, which was brilliant.

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Richmond, VA: Mike - I don't know if you can answer this because it has to do with comments made by a fellow employee of ESPN, but are you aware of Colin Cowherd's comments regarding John Wall. Specifically, after he did the Dougie in the pregame intro at his home debut Cowherd said that Wall would never win a championship and compared him unfavorably to Rajon Rondo, citing in part Wall's turnover numbers (but not mentioning that Wall had played all of three games in the NBA to that point).

Then, after he went for the triple-double, Cowherd said that he didn't think Wall would ever be a true leader because he basically didn't grow up with a father (ignoring the obvious litany of people who did not have a father throughout their youth but still became okay leaders, like George Washington whose father died when GW was 11).

Michael Wilbon: I hope you are accurately quoting Colin, and fairly summarizing his positions. I'll just say this: Colin and I don't sound like we're on the same side of most issues, politically. The great thing about media now is that you have 360 degrees worth of opinions and can find whatever you want and tune out whatever you want...if you know what I'm saying. I think a position of "He's going to fail because he didn't grow up with a father", whoever takes it, is moronic...By the way, I never hear mention of Larry Bird having his dad around...Is this an oversight on my part of do I have that right? I'm just wondering.

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Falls Church, VA: Mike, did you enjoy the big NU upset of Iowa? It looked like the weather was MISERABLE. It also looked like 50% Iowa fans in the stands.

Regarding the Skins, I think the biggest issue is any sort of consistency. It's as if they're always trying to find the right formula and tinkering with it constantly. They'd be better served letting Shanahan do his thing for five years or more so the players get used to his system, and he can get his own players on the field.

Michael Wilbon: The weather was miserable at times, and yes it was 50 percent Iowa folks in the stands. Remember, Iowa is in many ways a "Chicago" school. Do you have any idea how many kids from greater Chicagoland area attend Iowa and stay in the area as alums? Same with Wisconsin...It's not like they have far to travel, even if they drive east from Iowa, and Northwestern is the smallest school in the Big Ten and the school with the least amount of football tradition. I enjoyed winning but have plunged into despair over the season ending achilles injury my quarterback, Dan Persa, suffered on the game-winning touchdown pass...or seconds after it...The kid is probably--hell, he should be--the MVP of the Big Ten. He completed 73 percent of his passes this season, I think. He's the best passer in the Big Ten by a million miles, and our best RB as well...With this kid running the show we're 7-3 with a loss after leading 21-0 at Penn State (he did his job), a loss after leading undefeated Michigan State for 58 minutes, a loss after leading Purdue for 56 minutes...So, it was probably the only time in my life as a Northwestern person (34 years) that I was less-than-thrilled after a football win...I feel so bad for Persa, that he doesn't get to finish the season and play in the bowl game he qualified his team to play in...

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San Jose, CA: Most of the debate for the NFL's MVP seems to center around Manning and Rivers. Would you include Brady? Any other worthy candidates?

Michael Wilbon: Hell yes, I'd include Brady...Last night's performance on the field and the sideline demonstrate exactly why. Anybody else? Hmmm...It's still early. Brees could get back into the discussion. It's a short list, at least for right now.

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Pac-Man: Has there ever been an athlete like Manny Pacquiao: Congressman by day, best pound for pound fighter by night?

Michael Wilbon: I'm sure there has been, back in the day when all professional athletes had day-jobs. And I mean 90 percent of them. Guys worked in the off-seasons, at least, and some did other stuff during the season...But, having said that, the Pac-Man is a beast...an absolute beast. Look, I wouldn't watch MMA if it was happening in my basement; I'm a fight guy. I grew up on it, I love it even though it's the seediest thing imaginable...But Pac-Man is just one of the best, historically, I've ever seen and I've been watching boxing closely since I was six years old and my dad got me hooked on the big fights, sitting next to him listening to the radio...There's nothing, to me, more exhilarating than a big fight and dominating one, which is what Pac-Man just did. Wow!

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Randy Moss: Is Randy Moss done as we knew him? I mean three different jerseys in one year and still he's not an impact player any team he's on. By the look of it last night, the Patriots didn't need him to "spread the field" against the Steelers.

Michael Wilbon: Well, this is what Bill Belichick knew when he traded him. I'm not ready to count out Moss just yet. I think he can have an impact this year, even though only half of it remains. Let's see. I think Jeff Fisher is a good enough coach to figure out that he can be an asset if used wisely...I don't think Moss can't get open, can't catch a pass anymore. Does he need to be adequately motivated? Yes, absolutely. I just think Fisher will figure out HOW to do that, which is critical.

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Larry Bird's Dad: Committed suicide when Larry was still a teen. His parents divorced and his dad was a sad alcoholic who was desperately sad and didn't think he was good enough to be around his kids. So yeah, if that dude is quoting Cohwerd fairly, then Cowherd is -obviously- an utter and complete moron. Bill Clinton and Obama didn't have fathers in their lives either...they turned out pretty well.

Michael Wilbon: It's such an irresponsible thing for anybody to say...even think...whoever says it. It's just dumb.

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Germantown, MD: Good day, Michaeal. Speaking of Sally Jenkins' article, did you see Bill Hancock's (Exec. Dir., BCS) letter to the editor today in the Post? What a bunch of tripe.

Michael Wilbon: I love Bill Hancock. Known him for years...many years...He always does his job exceptionally well and is doing that in this case...I disagree with him enormously on this, but you have to know where Bill is coming from...

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Indy IN: Isn't the Heisman the most over-praised and over-hyped award in sports? I mean what makes anybody think Cam Newton even cares about winning it? If I were bound to be a top 5 NFL draft pick I wouldn't. Hell, it's more of a stigma to win it at that point anyway (see all failed NFL prospects who won it).

Michael Wilbon: you know what...15 years ago I'd have ranted about this question and gone on and on...but you're probably right on the money. It means something to me, to men of a certain age (if I can borrow that label)...But to Newton, or to most young men who are 35 or younger? I don't think it has anywhere close to the same value, and in that I include impact and significane. That's sad to me, as an old guy, because I voted for the award for probably 15 years. I know all the winners through a certain stretch of time. I remember when it DID mean something enormous. But things change in every culture, and I suspect you're right...or close to being right.

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Woodbridge, VA: Here's my idea for sending the BCS a message that fans are fed up with the system - boycott the title game. Not the fans of whatever teams are in the game, because that would just be too cruel, but everybody else. If the BCS head honchos were faced with pitiful ratings that hit them right in their wallets, maybe they'd see the light.

Michael Wilbon: You're right, but it won't happen. People love football too much. I'm as fed up as you are, but I'll watch...Even if I promise not to in a fit of anger, I will ultimately.

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Chicago,IL : Do you view ESPN/CBS as part of the cartel? This morning, Brad Edwards seemed to indicate that if Auburn loses to Alabama but wins the SEC title game, they may bypass TCU/Boise in the BCS championship. What role do the networks, who have money invested in the big conferences, play in the whole process of keeping the smaller schools out?

Michael Wilbon: Some of my colleagues at ESPN, yet. But others (including Robert Smith, a very, very smart man who attended one of the Cartel schools--Ohio State...then again, I went to a Cartel school, too) are not. We've got plenty of rebels. And here's what's interesting. I know that Mark Shapiro, who essentally invented PTI on a linen napkin at The Ivy in Los Angeles 9 1/2 years ago, worked his tail off to get a playoff going. I KNOW this for a fact. Remember, a playoff will generate tons of money and some network is going to reap the rewards. How do we know that wouldn't be ESPN. Chances are it would be....

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Boston, MA: Michael, do you think Erik Spoelstra will finish the season as the coach of the Miami Heat?

Michael Wilbon: Yes, yes, yes, and...Hell yes. I think Miami would have to be under .500 for Pat Riley to appoint himself coach...And what's ailing the Heat ain't the coach. It's having no power player (Chris Bosh isn't that) and no true playmaker. I argue LeBron James absolutely can be the playmaker. But the Heat needs a power player...don't know who that will be. But Riley ain't winning without that, not as president/GM or as head coach.

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New York: I know it's still early but how much trouble are the Heat in? It struck me how when they lost at home to Boston that they did so despite shooting 50% from the field, outrebounding the Celtics and shooting better from the FT line. Yet they still lost. That's not a good sign.

Michael Wilbon: See previous question/answer. Look, the reason I was so confident in saying the Heat would never win 70 games and would win closer to 62, 63 games...They might not win 50. Still, I think those guys will figure it out by February and be fine by the time the playoffs begin. Do I think they'll be as good as the Celtics? No. The Lakers? No. I just think their time will come down the line, like next year and after that. Why did people expect them to win right away? Because they're celebrities? Doesn't work that way, people.

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Big East & ACC: Even more than TCU and Boise, aren't these two "power" conferences making the BCS a joke? Last year, their winners played in the Contractually-Obligated Bowl. This year, that won't happen but two teams, maybe one ranked, will get BCS bids over Boise, LSU or Stanford despite being what most people would call "an easy win" for those schools.

Michael Wilbon: This speaks to my exaggerated and obsessive point of a Cartel. The Big East and ACC are members, and that's that. Doesn't matter how stink their football conferences are. And they're awful, both of them. I'm hoping for a Maryland-Va. Tech ACC championship game, but don't tell me those teams are more deserving of a guaranteed BCS spot as so many schools from non-BCS conferences.

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Frederick, MD: Mike - Great chat! I looked up Auburn's NON-CONFERENCE schedule: Arkansas State, Clemson, Duke, and Chattanooga! Auburn is #2 because they are in the allegedly tough SEC. How do we know that the SEC is a tough conference? I guess because they say so. Certainly can't tell from the non-conference schedules. What a bunch of garbage!

Michael Wilbon: Thank you...One of my points, absolutely. Look up Florida's non-conference schedule the last couple of years, too. Same deal. AND when they do play somebody tough they bring their own officials. It's shameful. And I DO think they're the best conference, but they don't like to have to prove it on the field very often. This is why March madness is such a success. You have to prove it. That's what sports is about, proving that my guys are better than yours.

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Mr. Pediction: Who will win tonights game- Redskins or Eagles?

Michael Wilbon: Ah, we finall work our way to that! Eagles, I'm afraid...I don't have any confidence in that pick, though. I think in my pool picks this week I took Philly, but with a low point total...It just seems to be a pick-'em game to me and I don't like the Redskins to sweep the series this year from the Eagles...I think Vick is going to be tough to handle, very tough.

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Floyd Mayweather Jr: What's up with calling me a coward? I'll take Manny Pacquiao anytime, anywhere....that is as soon as I get back from my ten year vacation at my new place on Mars....

Michael Wilbon: Thanks for that!

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Re: BCS Championship: So what does happen if a "small" school from a "weak" conference does win? It's not like there are huge supporters of the current system, outside the Commissioners for 3-4 Conferences (Big East, ACC, Big Ten at least). How much lower can BCS support get?

Michael Wilbon: They're not looking for support. They've got power; they don't care about support. They've got all the money and college presidents as a group cowering in the corner.

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Washington, DC: When it comes to individual achievements in a professional basketball game, how impressed were you with Kevin Love's 30/30 game this past weekend?

Michael Wilbon: Straight out of Moses Malone. I screamed out loud at a nice Chicago restaurant Saturday night (or was it Friday) when I logged onto ESPN.com and saw that rebound total. If I have a good team on the verge of something, K. Love is the guy I'm targeting on a bad team to go after to improve my team. And my bet is, given the bad personnel decisions the T-Wolves have made, that K. Love can be had. I LOVE this kid...And he's not one-dimensional; he can score 20 a night easily...

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Right Here: Given your friendships with many professional atheletes (Barkley, Jordan, Woods, McNabb etc) how are we to take your writing and television appearances? Do we always need to filter your comments through the "well, he his Wilbon's boy" screen? It's quite frankly exhausting to read your work and then try to remember your publically stated bias/friendship to figure out how I'm supposed to judge what you say.

Second, if I'm allowed a follow-up. What do you consider yourself? A writer? Television commentator? I think that you and Tony K are creating some kind of new thing, "Sport-Observing-Celebrity" (sorry that's the best I can do).

Michael Wilbon: You don't have to wonder. I declare my baggage openly. You'd better wonder about people who have the same kinds of relationships (we all do) and don't declare. You shouldn't be that naive, but you sound it. I'm creating a new title for myself now: how about Discussion Leader. That's what I am. I mostly give my opinion, and at that point I'm a columnist. But on PTI I'm that plus a guy who's trying to get discussion started on any number of different issues of the day. If it offends you, I've got a clicker to hand you. There's no begging on this end. You've got plenty of options, I'm sure.

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New Orleans: How about some dap for the only remaining unbeaten team, the Hornets? While it is still very early in the season, how do you like this team in the now some-what weak West?

Michael Wilbon: Very nice point...well taken. Chris Paul has come back completely healthy. I mean completely. I think he had 19 assists against Miami. He's running the Hornets the way he did three years ago when they had a breakout season...Chris got hurt and that team plummeted. But they're back now, and they seem to have to energy of their new coach, Monty Williams, a D.C. product who is one of the bright young minds in the NBA. The west needs some pizzaz. I didn't think New Orleans would be providing it, but they have so far...

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Ft. Wash: I don't disagree with you about the Heat not winning right away but why were the Celtics able to win right away? Better coaching? Better meshing of talented players?

Michael Wilbon: Great question...The pieces fit better. Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen all do dramatically different things. They've have different skill sets. Meanwhile, LeBron James and D-Wade are very similar. Ray, in the case of Boston, doesn't need the ball at all except to shoot it. LeBron and Wade NEED the ball in their hands. Kevin Garnett does NOT need the ball much. Hell, the criticism has always been he doesn't demand it enough anyway. But they play in difference spaces on the court, the Boston trio...They complement each other. With the Miami guys it's going to be work. Bosh, for instance, seems lost right now. He says he's aware of that and will make the proper adjustments, and I believe himm because Chris is a very bright guy...But it ain't going to happen overnight, which is why I say late January...maybe early February...

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BSC: Help me Mr Wilbon.

I thought Jenkins's article last Thurs was ridiculous (really...get Congress involved?) But I also agree that the BCS head's response today was indeed a bunch of tripe.

Maybe it's because I went to schools without a college football program (GMU, AU). Maybe it's because the schools I tend to root for will never be part of a championship in football (Navy, Md). Maybe I'm just an old fashioned traditionalist.

But really, I don't clamor for an NCAA football championship game. Why is it so important?

Michael Wilbon: It isn't to you. Is it to others. Why should big-time college football be THE ONLY sport without a championship game? Why would it be the exception? We decide sports in most cultures on the field of play. We don't need no stinkin' exceptions. Play it out.

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If College Football Had a Playoff?: What would we argue about?

Is there any chance that the BCS will be missed once it's gone (assuming it does go bye-bye in the next 10 or so years).

Michael Wilbon: No. No chance whatsoever. We argue about pro football and it has a playoff. We argue about college basketball and it has the ultimate playoff. What? Like we need legitimate reasons to argue. how the hell do you think Tony K and I stay on the air all these years?

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Alexandria VA: In light of the Patriots strong performance last night and their earlier wins against the Ravens and Miami and San Diego on the road, are the Patriots contenders for the AFC title?

Michael Wilbon: I'd rank the Patriots 1st if there was an NFL poll, the Jets second...Third? I swear I don't know...Atlanta? Is that possible? I can't put the Steelers third, not now. Baltimore is coming off a loss...Packers? Maybe. The Giants went in the dumper yesterday, as did the Chiefs. Hell, nobody's any good. The Saints may rise back up toward the top now. Miami has QB issues...It's very, very tight along the rail right now. But Patriots first is it, no question, after that beating of the Steelers last night. Oh wait, I forgot the Colts. Okay, Colts third after the jets second and Patriots first. There we have it.

Okay, I gotta run to prepare for PTI. I think Eagles 27 Redskins 24 is my finally tally prediction for tonight. Don't ask me later if the Redskins win if I'm "surprised." Picking a team by a field goal means you wouldn't be surprised what happens. And I wouldn't. What would surprise me would be a blowout either way...Okay, have a great week everybody...thanks for chatting. see yuou all Monday...MW

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Re: BCS: Wilbon-

I'm so glad you said that sports is about proving it on the field. I work in the field of visual art and fiction, and so often I see people praised for their work solely on the basis of being the son, daughter, lover, or benefactor of some D-bag. Sports is the ONLY field where nepotism and cronyism CANNOT win. You have to prove it. That is why I like sports.

Michael Wilbon: Thanks so much for that...

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Baltimore, Md: Do the Cowboys have an '09 Titans-like run in them? Sure looked good yesterday.

Michael Wilbon: no. The Giants were dogs yesterday. Alpo-eating dogs.

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Sugar Hill, GA: Mike,

Nice win by NW this weekend.

My McNabb question of the day is what do you make of the 4-year extension that Adam Schefter has reported is being discussed between McNabb and the Redskins? With all that's happened, can this help mend fences and calm the troubled waters that the Skins have been navigating these past 2 weeks?

BTW, I am all for it...I like McNabb and think he is the glue and leader that this team needs. I hope they Mr. Allen and the coach shore the OL in next year's draft and get get a real down-the-field threat for McNabb.

Michael Wilbon: I think Donovan is crazy if he signs anything here. Absolutely nuts.

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Western Washington: If you were Mike Shanahan, who would YOU start as QB tonight?

Michael Wilbon: There's no option. Did you watch the Chicago Bears of 2007 and 2008? ARe you familiar with Mr. Grossman's work? As I wrote two weeks ago, if the Shanahans think they invented pro football, go ahead and start Grossman, I dare them...Go right ahead.

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