Super Bowl preview: Mike Wise chats live

Feb 03, 2012

The New York Giants face the New England Patriots on Sunday in Super Bowl XLVI. Washington Post columnist Mike Wise answered your questions about the game, the stuff surrounding the game, and more.

Hello Everyone and welcome to the Super Bowl in Indianapolis -- or at least my chat from there. I literally just got off Radio Row and had to move Vanilla Ice physically out of the way to get to my room and my computer.  So let's us commence with whatever you want to talk about.

Public sentiment seems to favor the Giants. Vegas is with the Pats. Why the discrepancy?

Because the bookmakers can't afford to lose all the money bet on the Giants after they went to 80-1 underdogs with their record at 6-6 to win the Super Bowl. Honest answer: I just think oddsmakers don't think Pats defense is as bad as everyone thinks -- even the secondary right now. And I don't think they believe Eli Manning can win a shootout with Tom Brady, even though the Giants have been the best team in the playoffs

Perhaps we are sensitive to it because we are Bears fans (our dog is names for Sweetness), but it seems there are many former Bears players that are coaching teams today. How many?

I interviewed one of them on the radio today, Ron Rivera. Someone can help me out with all the others. My feeling: for all the pass-happy offenses in the league, no one has yet to see a defense as dominant as those Bears -- even the Ravens in 2000.  And so many of those guys were smart beyond being tough.

Will Danny win the offseason Super Bowl again? That is, will he throw away 6 draft picks on a aging QB who can't feel his fingers?

Someone just asked whether Snyder will win the offseason trophy again. My answer: no. For all the talk of buying someone else's star -- even Indy's No. 18 -- I really believe this is more of a spendthrift, value-based operation under Bruce Allen and Mike Shanahan. Now, throw it all the window if they go after Peyton Manning. If that happened, I don't think Shanaplan is in play anymore. It's back to someone upstairs making personnel moves.

I am Fredericksburg native and now I live in Denver but this story has brought back great memories of not only that championship team but the men that made it happen...This story is great and the fact that this is a true story is very inspirational. I would love to see this hit the big screen like Remember the Titans or Blindside. I hope there is more to come about this great team Mr. Wise and I appreciate the great story. Mike H from Denver, CO

Thanks for the nice words on the Fredericksburg Generals story running this Sunday in the magazine. This one caught me by surprise. A guy says, "Hey, I coached a minor league football team 15 years ago. Can you write about it? Oh, and Mark Moseley was the kicker at 47 years old." All of a sudden, a nice narrative develops and, yes, if someone from a film studio or literary agent wanted to talk about a book or movie, I'm sure Jamie King, myself and Mark would listen. It really is a story that transcends sports. Thanks for reading. I almost think it's "The Replacements" meets "The Great Santini" or "Slingblade."

Why did it take 16-17 years to write this story?

Because I am a slow writer. (I am, but not that slow.) I think the coach, Jamie King, was hesitant about divulging personal details about his life right afterward and, let's be honest, no one really pays attention when you hear the words "Minor League Football," so it got lost in the shuffle. I was shocked actually to have not found any realy Google references about the significance of a former NFL MVP, the only kicker ever to win the award, being talked into playing for them.

This story was very interesting and looks like it could make a great book or movie. Do you have any plans to write a book on this story?

 

-Steve R, Kentucky

Not currently. But interest could make that change quickly. And I feel like with the three drafts I wrote for the magazine over the past couple of months I already have enough for the book. By the way, thank you to David Rowell, one of the finest editors and writers anywhere, for his help and belief in the story. And my editors in sports for putting up with my crazy schedule.

From reader s2car 

re: your column Football coaches and players need to get health issues through their heads

I wonder if the rule against touching receivers after 5 yards has exacerbated this problem. More contact at the line, less receivers running free at full speed... I don't know, pure speculation. Either way, I'd like to see that rule removed if only for the fact that it's turning the NFL into arena football.

Good point. It's such a delicate balance between loving the NFL for what people like Sam Huff and Ditka and Lott and LT made it -- a hard-hitting, mano y mano test of wills, against perserving brain cells for people after retirement. I don't know the perfect answer, but I do know until a coach or organization is fined big dollars for letting a guy back onto the field that shouldn't be there the culture change won't actually be genuine or lasting.

Mike: Should we all be concerned about Tom Brady, since Giselle has asked all her friends to pray for him?

No, we should not be concerned about Tom Brady. I mean, he got Giselle. He won. Anything that happens to Brady in the Super Bowl at the hands of the Giants defenders will not change that he is married to a Brazilian model, has three Super Bowls already and was just given the mantle of "Greatest QB of all Time" by Joe Montana yesterday.  I will pray for Rex and Becks before Brady.

This is one of the best articles you've ever written. A lot in here that everyday people can identify with. It's saturated with honesty, humilitity, bad times, good times and forgiveness. And it's all true to boot. Any possibility of us seeing this awesome story in a book or on the big screen? It's a story that needs to be told.

Your mouth to Tebow's ears. : ). Seriously, it would be further affirmation of the Generals story if it was ever told on a big screen or in a book.

Hi Mike, Since the Skins beat the Giants twice this year can Skin fans say they are better than the Super Bowl champs if the Giants win? Was there anything in those games that the Pats can use?

Yes, sure. The 'Skins are already living off their Championship By Association from Last Season after beating the Packers prior to the Pack winning it all. The Pats have already studied both games. They believe the 'Skins have three advantages that New England hopes to incorporate before Sunday 1. Start a journeyman QB 2. Belichick plans to hire his adolescent son as OC and 3. They plan to take out a chunk of Lucas Oil Stadium to make room for party decks next season. (No, there is nothing the 'Skins can do to help the Pats prepare. Winning in February has nothing to do with winning in the regular season)

If you missed it: Link to the Fredericksburg Generals story:

For Mark Moseley and others, the Fredericksburg Generals offered a second chance 

Bonnie Bernstein brings up an interesting point, that the emotions riding on the passing of Myra Kraft may trump all X-n-O's, motivating Pats players to overcome whatever odds disfavor them, in order to win in her honor. Your thoughts?

I think Myra Kraft's influence is heartfelt and real after her passing, but once the adrenaline spikes before the game and maybe in the first quarter two teams vying for the Lombardi Trophy will ultimately show what they're made of on the field. Unknown forces of the universe only help if you have horses and you don't make mistakes.

What's the best undercovered storyline of the Super Bowl? What's the most annoying overcovered storyline?

Great questions. Undercovered is how close Tom Coughlin was to probably losing his job several times in New York before his team suddenly pulled out a game and a season they desperately needed to stay alive. That guy has more lives than a cat.

Overcovered: Peyton's Place. If I have to hear my former colleague from this paper say, "Regenerated Nerve" one more time as if he's Trapper John M.D., I'm going to lose my cookies. No really. Right here on my computer screen. I can't take Peyton's medical condition being discussed one second more by my peers waiting for their bacon cheeseburgers in the hotel lobby. We're not doctors. We don't know.

It is to the Giants advantage to grab and twist Gronk's ankle every time they tackle him. This is a reality of the game. Just curious though if there is an intent to injure / game misconduct penalty in the NFL rulebook (like I believe there is in hockey) if something was so egregious and obvious.

Gronk sounds like a cartoon, doesn't it? It's like he's related to Shrek or something. Anyhow, yes, pinpointing an opponent's weakness, whether it be football or boxing, is part of the sport. But you can't go too far and do something stupid, like purposely further injure a guy. That's just low rent.

New England seems to establish a nice rhythm when they use the no huddle offense. It would also limit the Giants' ability to rotate defense lineman. Any reasons the Patriots wouldn't employ that "2-minute" offense for the entire game? New England used to use a lot of screen plays and draws to keep the pas rushing honest. they seem to have gotten away from that in the last two seasons. Any idea why? Are teams looking for it? Was Kevin Faulk, in his prime, that much better than BJGS and Woodhead? The Ravens seemed to crowd the line of scrimmage, clogging the short passing lanes and daring the Patriots to throw over the top. The one time the Patriots did go long was the interception in the end zone. Is the Giants' secondary good enough to do this? After all the Ravens have Pollard and Reed, two exceptional players.

As a guy who admittedly writes more about people than Xs and Os, this is the most difficult eight-part question I answer today. Therefore, I won't. But I will say this: that 2-minute drill can be dangerous both ways: getting the Giants discombobulated one on end. And, if it doesn't work early, completely deflating to Brady and that offense's confidence. I saw this happen when I was in Foxborough two weeks ago against the Ravens early in the game.

I know these guys love the game and want to keep playing, but... I would hope Peyton would retire before signing with such a disfunctional organization. And as a black-and-gold girl, I hope they keep #86 for one more year - Hines needs to retire as a Steeler!

The 'Skins have their issues, but one of the ways you get away from being that organization is to have the confidence to groom your own stars of the future instead of someone else validating your talent for you.  If Manning plays, I don't think it will be in Washington. In fact, I'll be downright shocked.  Joe Gibbs said on the radio show I do with Holden Kushner and Chris Johnson that the worst thing anyone going after Manning could do  was try to put him in a different offense. He needs Indy's offense wherever he goes. Jim Vance actually speculated on the show after Joe Gibbs left that was Joe saying between the lines, "Hey, Mike, don't try to make Kyle Peyton's OC. Let him be his own offensive coordinator."

True or false: Nothing the Pats do on Sunday can make up for 2007 when the Giants ruined their perfect season. The Pats are the favorite and should win but the NY fans will always have 2007. Should the Giants win again, that would be twice that they upset Brady/Belicheck and we enter a world where Eli has twice as many rings as Peyton... 

Almost all true. But I do believe  Brady would take a measure of satisfaction from winning against a team that ruined the greatest season in the history of the NFL four years ago.  I think he's on a mission to turn the tables in this game.

Mark Moseley is considered one of the best kickers in NFL history. For him to humble himself and choose to play for a semi-pro football team is amazing to me. Equally amazing is the way he helped Coach King and his step-dad bury the hatchet. Any chance Dan Snyder would bring these two to Washington? We need a great kicker and a coach that knows how to motivate players and win? Just a thought?

Ha. I bet Mark and Jamie appreciate that. In doing that story, I really remembered that sports at the highest and lowest levels are about relationships. The competition is important, winning is monstrous. But in the end, you remember who you played with and what they meant to you.  Oh, and grueling losses. Everyone I know who competed well at any level remembers their crushing losses. 

As a Giants fan, I can attest to the fact that Eli Manning does that two-minute drill as well as Tom Brady does. Look at all the fourth quarter comebacks.

Sally Jenkins had another great column this week about reppraising Eli Manning, how we misread quiet and quirky for not enough of a fiery leader. And we were wrong. Eli Manning is the most resourceful QB I have ever seen play who is not mentioned as one of the best of all time.

I will take Eli in a two-minute drill over everybody in a big game. Brees. His brother. Even Brady, who I think is the greatest QB of his generation.

It sure was nice of your family members to log into this chat to praise this article. Have you started pricing Oscar polish yet?

Thanks Mom. You too, Dad. Honey, teach Oliver how to hit 'Send." Keep up the praise. I am so needy.  (I can barely file my story on time; I can't imagine anyone would trust me to deliver a screenplay in under five years)

Did you see J. Freedom Dulac's story (and/or Ted Leonsis's reaction) on Wizards fans maintaining optimism despite the losuy product ... and the falling ticket prices? Reaction?

Yes. Josh Dulac is absolutely one of our best people. I think Washington fans in general are among the most hopeful optimists I've ever seen in any big city I've worked or visited. Sometimes I feel as if the whole town is Friday Night Lights on HGH, just waiting for that next star to take them past the horizon in the NBA, NFL and baseball. It's really encouraging to see so many people not get jaded and cynical. But....and this is a big but....it's going on 20 years since Washington's last North American major-revenue sports franchise won a title. Boston is on the brink of their 8th in 11 years (Pats four if they win, Celts, Bruins and Red Sox twice.) At some point, there is a degree of enabling that occurs. And that enabling stops only one way: cut your favorite franchise off till it fixes itself.  Fans don't seem to think they have a say in how their team can get better. They do. They can choose not to financially support a bad product until it becomes a good product. When that happens, wait to see how long these "rebuilds" last. 

Even Madonna is boring.

You must be a Steelers fan or not paying attention. This is Star Wars at QB, Forrest Gump vs. Rico Suave, this is a rematch of one of the greatest big games in NFL history and, my God, man, Snoop Dogg, Nas and The Roots performed downtown last night. Have you no goodwill in your heart for a little "Gin and Juice."

Why would he be there, struttin' his stuff? Is he like Indianapolis' Eminem or something?

Stop. Listen. Look. Ice-Ice, babbeeee.

Yeah, I was a little disappointed. Especially when he sold out and did the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Wrap. You lose respect in the rough and tumble Cul-De-Sac world with that one.

Chapter 1: Ignore comparisons to Dad and Big Brother Peyton Chapter 2: Work your keester off and listen to your coaches Chapter 3: Keep working and focus on the game Chapter 4: Find a way to help your not-always-wonderful team win. Repeat as necessary. Chapter 5: Sit back, relax, and rack up the stats.

Beautiful. I might steal that for my column Sunday at the game.

As someone who listens to your radio show occasionally, is it wrong that I "hear" all the answers to this chat in your voice when I read them. And can I bill you for the professional help I'm gonna' need to make it stop?

I fell over on this one. Thank you for making me laugh so hard. Yes, you can bill me. Or you can come and join our support group regularly 10 am. to 2 p.m. on 106.7 FM. I feel you've missed too many meetings. You need a sponsor like me.

From reader bumpionfresh re: your column Football coaches and players need to get health issues through their heads 

 

Fines for illegal hits should be levied against teams, not players - and the fines should be bigger. When a player commits a penalty, the team is punished, not an individual player. Same should go for an illegal hit. You want teams to emphasize proper tackling techniques in practice? Hit the owners in their wallets.  

 

Teams like the Steelers have players racking up fines, but it doesn't cost the organization a thing. If a Steeler player knocks an opposing QB out of the game or out for multiple games with an illegal hit, the entire Steeler team benefits from the play, and only one player has to pay a penalty.

 

Your post in my chat to Commissioner Goodell's ears. If military line commanders can be court-martialed for not taking a soldier who was close to a blast off their line, then why can't coaches, GMs and organizations be held accountable for fostering a dangerous environment for the health, long term and short term, for players?

Thanks for that thought.

Thanks for joining me today. This really got me thinking: I should do this more often. I like the thoughtful interaction, the humor and even the criticism. If you want to learn more about the Generals, they actually have a Web site they put up just this week. It's at TheFredericksburgGenerals.com. Thanks for reading on this Aloha Friday. I like the Patriots, by the way. In overtime. 36-30.  Peace.

In This Chat
Mike Wise
Mike Wise is a sports columnist at The Washington Post and hosts a radio show on 106.7 The Fan in D.C. Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

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