If I said, ‘Presumptuous and washed up hack,’ you would probably guess that I would be talking about our favorite farm boy NFL color commentator, Phil Simms. This time, however, the lens and aforementioned series of adjectives is shifting over to NBC’s crew, specifically Mike Florio. Your favorite little jag and mine, has taken issue once again with things that Mike Tomlin says in front of a microphone.
The last time Florio dedicated an article on Tomlin was a character assassination on the young head coach back in May of 2012. The article, titled “Tomlin is a ‘win-at-all costs’ guy,” twists and unfairly places judgement on Tomlin’s words that he used during his induction into the Hall of Fame at William & Mary as a wide receiver. Florio purposefully stirs the pot and makes issue with Tomlin’s comment about the current state of the rules in the NFL. He gets wrapped up into the semantics of Tomlin’s way of describing his ideal defenseman and interprets Tomlin’s phrase of ‘wreaking havoc’ as one that means ‘injuring players.’ His use of quotes within the title of the article itself infers that he is lifting those words from a quote of Tomlin’s, which couldn’t be any further from the truth – those were Florio’s words, not Tomlin’s. It’s uncalled for, and to anyone who notices the subtly in Florio’s writing, he certainly carries a double standard when talking about other coaches in the NFL.
Florio’s latest offense comes from an article he wrote on Monday morning titled, “Steelers going ‘old-old-school’ in training camp.” Once again, Florio twists Tomlin’s words and makes a very grand and irresponsible assumption accepting it as subtext in what Tomlin says. I reported yesterday that Tomlin spoke about how he is approaching training camp practices differently, and that means more and harder hitting when the players are in the CBA approved padded practices, and these are the words that Florio basis his opinions on.
We’re young in a lot of areas, particularly in the lines. We got young, talented defensive linemen, we got young, talented offensive linemen. The only way to improve is to play football. I’ve stated that many times and it’s something I believe in. I’m going to give them an opportunity to do that and show what they’re capable of.
Anyone with some common sense of the game of football would realize that the new practice guidelines from the most recent CBA change how a team prepares from week to week. They would also realize that the less hitting that happens during the week, the less of an edge the players have – something that I believe greatly influences who wins in the trenches.
Florio, however, twists Tomlin’s words and says the following:
The new labor deal reduced the intensity of training camp, cutting back on padded practices but saying nothing about what teams can do while wearing the pads. For the Steelers, whom many think will struggle in 2013, Tomlin is willing to risk injuring his players in order to get them to the point where they will be ready to play when the games count.
I guess one could call this objective deduction. But it’s flat out not. Florio is making the assumption and character assassination (that stems all the way back to last year) that Tomlin is a ‘win at all cost’ kind of guy (where have we heard that before?) and will risk injuring his players rather than seeing it as an opportunity to approach the season in ways most teams aren’t (like the Eagles). That’s a load of crap. I may have my own issues with Tomlin and at times the way he prepares this football team. But, it’s rather bold (and stupid) to come out and stir things up the way Florio does. It’s juvenile and irresponsible reporting/journalism. His interpretations belong in US Weekly instead of Pro Football Weekly.
Of course players can get injured during a padded practice. A player can also get hurt running an un-padded drill. Players can get hurt in OTA’s, crossing the street, throwing darts at a Mike Florio’s picture. I’m not taking a Bill Belichick approach to the game, but indeed, a player can get hurt at anytime and anywhere. It’s the risk that’s involved in any sport. To assume that a coach does not care about the health of their players is just being a straight up jack ass. There’s no coach out in professional sports that takes that kind of slant with their players and personnel. If Florio ever played a minute of football, he would understand that.
It’s exhausting to have know that this guy is just spewing this crap out and is a ‘respected’ (or is he) writer/reporter among his NFL peers. This dude just hopes that his gossipy way of reporting the NFL will at times take hold and rip open a hidden story that may have been overlooked – much like his reporting on Mike Vick’s dog fighting stuff. Give it a rest, Mike and leave that crap to Nancy Grace. I wonder if he would say the same of other coaches who decide to ramp up their hitting?