In a quiet week for football, with only the Pro Bowl as this weekend’s entertainment, Mike Florio is putting his own defense on display.
The NBC analyst and creator of ProFootballTalk says his words have been taken out of context after his statements about how the 49ers should slow Patrick Mahomes — by hitting him every chance they get, including possibly risking late-hit penalties to “send a message” — went viral.
In comments originally made to Peter King on “PFT Live,” Florio appeared to know the territory he was wading into.
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“I want to be careful here, because I’m not suggesting that they try to knock [Mahomes] out of the game,” Florio said Thursday. “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. Football is still a physical, violent game. If you can hit him, even if it’s close to the sideline, even if he maybe started into a slide, when the championship is riding on it, I think it’s a different analysis.”
Florio pointed at Mahomes’ terrific AFC Championship scramble, which finished with him spinning between Tennessee defenders, who were more trying to strip the ball than hit the quarterback.
“If somebody had blown up Patrick Mahomes inside the 5-[yard line]? OK, it goes from the 4-[yard line] to the 2-[yard line]. Big deal,” Florio said. “So again, I’m not saying that that should be part of the deliberate effort, but the Super Bowl is riding on it and if this guy’s just going to think that he can just run through the defense without any physical consequence, they need to dispel him of that notion the first time he tries.”
The brushback was swift, many outlets picking up the comments as evidence Florio was advocating 49ers violence to knock Mahomes into submission. Florio responded Friday morning, saying 1) he loves Mahomes 2) that’s not what he was advocating and 3) the clip that went viral is an “out-of-context snippet.”
“It’s not about trying to injure Mahomes. It’s about treating a quarterback who becomes a running back like a running back, applying the kind of hit that will make him think twice about becoming a running back again,” Florio wrote. “Or, as in the case of the 27-yard touchdown run, about not cutting back inside at the 10 and squirting past a couple of defensive backs who may have expected Mahomes to eventually run out of bounds even though he never did.”