Mike Florio advocates violent approach against Patrick Mahomes for San Francisco 49ers
By Matt Conner
Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk say it’s worth the 49ers taking the penalties if it means sending a violent message to Patrick Mahomes early in Super Bowl LIV.
If we had to write something up for every dumb thing said by a talking head in sports media, then we’d face a non-stop carousel of work ahead of us. The best thing to do when faced with the Skip Baylesses of the world is to simpy ignore them and move on. However, from time to time, someone will say something so egregious and disgusting, so outlandish and vile, that it warrants a mention—if only to pause and point out the sheer lack of humanity in the statement.
Mike Florio, founder of Pro Football Talk and now a part of NBC Sports, was recently on a video segment discussing the Super Bowl LIV matchup between the Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers. It’s no secret that stopping Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes is a fool’s errand, a very difficult task that typically requires the Chiefs to beat themselves with careless turnovers and silly penalties.
That said, it’s part of football. To win, a team has to beat the best, and Mahomes is the best. But instead of scheming up a brilliant defensive game plan or actually, y’know, playing well enough to win, Florio advises something different.
Here’s a transcription of what Florio states in the video:
"“You know what, at a certain level, I think that… I wanna be careful here, because I’m not suggesting that they try to knock him out of the game. That’s not what I’m saying. But at a certain point, you trade the risk of 15 yards if you can send a message. And football is still a physical, violent game. If you can hit him, even if it’s close to the sideline, even if he’s maybe started into his slide, when the championship is riding on it, I think it’s a different analysis. Yeah, we may give up 15 yards or half the distance to the goal line…“I mean, that’s the thing, Peter, if somebody had blown up Patrick Mahomes inside the five [yard line], it goes from the four to the two. Big deal. So again I’m not saying that that should be part of the deliberate effort, but the Super Bowl is riding on it. If this guy’s gonna think he can just run through the defense without any physical consequence, they need to dispel him of that notion the first time he tries.”"
Clearly Florio is discussing Mahomes’ ability to run with the football and referencing the back-breaking touchdown run from the Divisional Round which flipped the Titans game on its head.
Florio is right in that football remains a violent game, but the NFL has been working diligently to smooth out its own edges in whatever way they can via equipment overhauls and rule changes in the name of player safety. Specifically, rules have been implemented to protect quarterbacks at all costs. Mercenaries remain employed at some positions in the NFL (a la Vontaze Burfict), but for the most part, players are good at looking out for each other. By definition, football is a sport, a game, and nothing more.
The idea that the 49ers need to take cheap shots, to follow violent means to their violent ends, in order to “send a message” is not only dated but it’s disastrous. In the wake of concussion awareness and kickoff changes, new helmets and special roughing the passer calls, Florio still wants Robert Saleh’s unit to take 15 yards so that maybe Mahomes learns some lesson.
What is the exact lesson to be learned here? To not play the game well? Are the 49ers trying to get Patrick Mahomes to let up on his skill set in order to avoid the hit? Worse yet, are the 49ers really that bad of a football team that they have to hope to beat Patrick Mahomes-lite in order to hoist the Lombardi?
Even more for Florio, is this really the statement you want to make? In order to gain some supposed mental edge, you want to make sure a guy has a problem tying his shoes at the age of 40? How about forgetting left from right or confusing family members’ faces by the age of 45? “Hey. let’s make sure that shiny young quarterback deals with debilitating bouts of depression 10 years from now because he tried to use his talents in the Super Bowl.”
Florio is a revolting pig for saying what he did, an unscrupulous clown who doesn’t deserve the stage he’s been given. He’s a virus in a business with so many other talking points, and he’s a black eye on those with actual integrity and character around him, simply by association.
No one should ever even think things like this, let alone say them out loud. But for a person used to a microphone, it’s completely irresponsible and warrants action by both NBC Sports and Florio himself in the form of an apology and retracted statement.
No one should ever advise violence, even within the reality of a sport with naturally violent outcomes. The Chiefs should never, ever try to deliver such a message to Jimmy Garoppolo, and the same highway runs true in the opposite direction. Hell, the same should be said about Florio—that no one should ever advocate violence against him or anyone.
The only message that should be delivered by either locker room on Super Bowl Sunday is that every player should give their absolute all on that field. It’s too bad that those who live without integrity are willing to watch a game without it, too.