Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio made controversial comments Wednesday while laying out a scenario for stopping Chiefs’ quarterback Patrick Mahomes in Super Bowl 2020.
“I wanna be careful here because I’m not suggesting that [the 49ers] try to knock [Mahomes] out of the game,” Florio qualified on PFT Live.
“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.”
The 24-year old reigning MVP had eight carries for 53 yards in Sunday’s AFC Championship Game, including a sensational, 27-yard touchdown run where he evaded multiple tackles from Titans’ defenders. He picked up seven carries for 53 yards against the Texans during the Chiefs’ come-from-behind victory in the Divisional round.
“If somebody had blown up Patrick Mahomes inside the five [yard line]? Okay, it goes from the four [yard line] to the two [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.”
Florio’s message was received poorly by fans on social media, in light of the measures the league has taken of late to better ensure player safety. His comments are even more striking when taking into account Mahomes’ injury history. In Week 7, the Chiefs quarterback suffered a frightening knee dislocation against the Broncos which, at the time, looked like it could have been season-ending.
“Quarterbacks who become runners become running backs,” Florio wrote on Thursday. “They surrender all quarterback protections. Which means that they can be hit the same way a running back can be hit. … For any quarterback who doesn’t like that, there’s an easy solution: Don’t run the ball.”
The Chiefs will play the 49ers on Feb. 2 in Super Bowl LIV in Miami.