Opinion: Mike Florio Hates the Dolphins

You may or may not know who this is, but this is Mike Florio. And he may not admit to it, in fact I’m sure he’d probably deny it outright, but Mike Florio hates the Miami Dolphins. HATES. Don’t believe it? Just read him, he doesn’t exactly understand the concept of subtlety, it will be right there in your face. More on that in a bit. So Patrik, you ask, who the hell is Mike Florio? I’d like to know that too.

One of the finer points of debate that is so often lost nowadays is the concession, so before I trash the guy I will give him a little credit. Mike Florio is the founder of ProFootballTalk, a blog we do cite fairly frequently here. PFT is wildly succesful, they now enjoy a partnership with NBC (which now gives him a wider audience than ever) and almost any other football site would kill to have some of that success. I know I certainly would because even the most pointed of Brian Miller’s opinions would be oh so preferable to the irritating sermons on morality Florio delivers from his newfound pulpit.

My problem with Florio is not that he thinks players and teams should take accountability for their conduct (or more specifically misconduct). That’s a reasonable position and even if Florio is a bit overzealous at times I can forgive him for that, my problem is he’s ill-informed and absolutely full of shit. So just who the hell is Mike Florio?

Well there’s not a lot of information on that specifically. No clue where he went to college, what he does, where he’s from, etc… At least we give you a bio over here with a little bit of info as to who we are and even possibly how educated we’ve become and what other jobs we’re currently holding down, no such luck with Florio. When you type his name into wikipedia it redirects you to the PFT page, so I figured I’d just cut out the middle man and go straight to the source. This is the  rather arrogant “About us” portion of PFT.

My ire began to pique a little bit with this gem:

We don’t have editors, we don’t have agendas, we don’t owe anyone anything and we don’t care.

As a result, we’re beholden to no one. We do this because we love pro football, and we love bringing you the truth.

I mean how hardcore is that? ‘We’re a bunch of badass bloggers that don’t take shit from anyone and love to stick it to the man, no bullshit, just truth.’ PFT is like the FoxNews of blogging, apparently. Or at least that’s what that tagline sounds like. My problem with that statement is the level of bullshit. We don’t have editors? Even we have editors at PhinPhanatic. That may be a recent development, but at least we take enough pride in our work to have someone run a spell-check on it and make sure it doesn’t offend your grammatical sensibilities too much.

‘We don’t have agendas?’ This is clearly bullshit, as we’ll discuss in detail in a few minutes, but in the meantime just consider that even if there was no inherent bias (as seems to be the claim) everything that has ever been written since the beginning of time has had an agenda, even if just to entertain or inform, that’s still technically an agenda. Stupid semantics. We definitely have an agenda here. It’d be silly to claim otherwise.

Moreover “we don’t owe anyone anything and we don’t care. As a result we’re beholden to no one.” Except for that whole partnership with NBC which affords the site new audiences and access to new media in exchange for content and probably some sort of agreement not to verbally bash the mother-ship too much. I mean, as long as you don’t consider that being “beholden” to someone, then sure, you’re on point.

Moving on in our search for information on Mike Florio we get this self-inflated load:

Our Daily Rumor Mill has become a fixture for most (if not all) NFL front offices. Why? Because we bring you some of the best back-room rumors available anywhere, we beat the “big boys” in the media to the punch every so often on a big story, and we pore over the nationwide newspapers every day (or nearly every day), separating the cream from the crap and summarizing it in a quick, easy-to-read format.

I like that in Mike Florio’s mind every day members of front offices of NFL teams league-wide wake up in their bathrobes with their fluffy slippers, grab their morning cup of coffee and log on to PFT thinking, ‘tell me about football, Mike.’ Can’t you just picture Bill Parcells catching up on the latest news. Or Bill Belichick or Tom Coughlin. What an arrogant self-aggrandizing load of crap. Apparently PFT even beats “the big boys” to the punch occasionally, which boggles my mind because regardless of their recent hard times I’m pretty sure NBC is still one of those “big boys.” Also, if you get your stories from reading national newspapers, you’re really just compiling news (which incidentally is why PFT has any redeeming quality as a football site whatsoever) but it’s kind of hard to ‘beat anyone to the punch’ when you’re just copying out of the newspaper. That news is kind of… already broken. All the nit-picking aside. What does any of this tell us about Mike Florio? Not a whole lot aside from the fact he’s a little bit full of shit and has a very high self-opinion.

But how does this have anything to do with the Dolphins? Well, in his quest for “the truth” and to live up to the other mile high standards he seems to have set for himself and PFT, Florio has gone on a near-crusade against misbehavior in the NFL. This stands in stark contrast to the his statements about not having an agenda, but nonetheless he has a “turd watch” section of his site devoted to player arrests and he seemingly delights on getting up on his proverbial soapbox and passing judgment on the actions of teams and players alike.

Lately, Mike Florio is of the opinion Miami has become little more than thugs and hoodlums. And he makes no secrets about it. I started to notice the bias becoming less and less concealed around the time Jeff Ireland chose to demonstrate his complete lack of social skills to Dez Bryant. Though Gregg Rosenthal was doing the primary reporting on most of the preliminary stuff, by the time the Dolphins released the context, Bryant denied it and Ireland had apologized, Florio was spitting venom. On the topic of the Dolphins’ version the Bryant interview, Florio declared it “too little, too late.”

Let’s assume that, indeed, the Dolphins are putting out this story as to the team’s version of the events.  If so, it’s one of the most cowardly and ill-advised tactics we’ve ever seen.

Florio goes on to explain how Miami’s full of it, that this explanation doesn’t pass his BS meter (again, who the hell is Mike Florio) and even mocks SI’s Jim Trotter for buying it “hook, line and sinker” before taking a shot at his integrity as a journalist. Florio continues on to post items about the Dolphins “hiding behind reports” while not officially commenting, in addition to musing about how Dez Bryant, as well as the very trustworthy and reliable people around him call that account BS.

Now literally less than a year ago, closer to six months, Dez Bryant was faced with a similar situation. He was asked a question about the way things at a meeting had gone down and because he was worried about how the truth would sound he lied and lost his senior season. The meeting was with Deion Sanders, the NCAA was interested, it was all kind of a big deal. However this fairly large issue is no problem for Mike Florio as he easily accepts Dez Bryant and “sources near” him over SI and ESPN sources. That seems perfectly logical.

Lately though, the focus has shifted more towards Miami being the poster boys of bad behavior. Florio can’t believe how:

…ownership also is ignoring the pile of Tuna surprise that is slowly staining the carpet.

Oh what clever wordplay. Additionally, he slams the Fins for ducking questions about off-field conduct, for the Miami media not holding the team accountable, for blocking a Brandon Marshall interview, hell, he even takes shots in positive pieces. Anything under the sun. Just for reference sake (because you aren’t going to read all those links) here are some things Mike Florio has said about the “trash” that is the Miami Dolphins.

Yes, Steelers fans, your team is off the hook.  The Dolphins are now the kings of the police blotter.  To make matters worse, the franchise has treated the four arrests since the end of the 2009 season like the gift Fido left on the floor that no one wants to notice for fear of having to clean it up.

Or maybe he needs to do a better job of fitting in with his teammates, perhaps by getting arrested once or twice.

The team’s refusal to hold misbehaving players accountable is somewhat understandable, given that there’s currently no real consequence for having turds on the team, apart from a fine that’s triggered when the second player in any given year is suspended.  As we’ve said many times in the past, NFL teams will take this situation seriously only when violations of the Personal Conduct Policy by players result in a forfeiture of draft picks.

If the league were to adopt a rule like that, there would instantly be no thugs and hoodlums in Miami.

Actually, we’ll leave you with this.  There’s no hint in Jackson’s item that Ireland faced a single question about the “thugs and hoodlums” that the team seems to be harboring, despite V.P. of football operations Bill Parcells’ broad claim when taking the job that he wanted no such players.

Given the small army of Miami media covering the team, it’s somewhat amazing that the team isn’t facing greater local pressure for the conduct of its players.  If the Dolphins aren’t held accountable by the league or the media for a failure to avoid problem players and to keep them from causing problems once in the building, the team never will change its ways.

In his most recent article about Miami ducking the questions about their offseason issues. Florio bashes Miami for rarely addressing these issues officially in addition to inferring “humorously” (and I use that term loosely with Florio) that Marshall probably “lied” about some of his other unknown off-the-field incidents like he did with his hip injury.

Here’s my problem, Florio has no problem cynically assuming the worst of a player like Brandon Marshall when it behooves his arguments and agenda but sees poor Dez Bryant as a victim whose story ‘must be true’ even despite some obvious problems with his credibility. That’s a double standard, and that’s bullshit.

The crux of Florio’s problem with Miami seems to be the 4 arrests this off-season and Miami’s unwillingness to do anything about them. Now as a member of the Florida legal system I can tell you that in the United States, you are considered innocent until proven guilty. Not in Mike Florio’s world, in his world he’s the judge and jury and as soon as its reported, it’s true.

Miami has had four arrests this off-season, a misdemeanor battery by Tony McDaniels, DUI’s by Will Allen and Ronnie Brown and a very ugly incident involving Philip Merling. Not good, I definitely don’t condone breaking the law and all of these men will have to answer to the legal system for their transgressions, not Mike Florio. And God forbid the Dolphins actually wait for due process to play out before making some knee-jerk reaction and cutting a good player.

No, due process isn’t good enough for Florio, he wants action and he wants it now or else he calls your organization dirty and its players “thugs and hoodlums.” Ignoring for a second the literally thousands of hours and millions of dollars the Miami Dolphins organization and its players donate to their community and the country at-large, the Dolphins are full of thugs and hoodlums? Really? Ronnie Brown is definitely not a thug, nor a hoodlum, neither is Will Allen. Both of their arrests were legitimately shocking as they are both considered to be high character guys.

And Miami doesn’t owe Mike Florio an explanation, sorry. Most businesses aren’t in the habit of commenting publicly on personal or legal matters involving their employees. Yes this is the NFL, but you can’t even get Bill Belichick to discuss a pulled groin, you really expected the Dolphins to come out and have an intimate discussion about their off-season arrests? When has any team ever done that? In the NFL you issue the traditional, “we’re looking into the matter…” press release and move on. That’s not alright for Miami? Again, a double standard.

Of course Florio isn’t going to give Miami any concessions either. Forget the fact that this off-season the Dolphins severed ties with the thuggish Joey Porter who was promptly arrested after signing with Arizona. Nor the fact that this year Miami’s draft consisted almost entirely of high-character college seniors that served as captains on their teams.

No, no, because those types of things would paint Miami as an organization that is somewhat conscious of its conduct and is proactively trying to draft players that are high caliber men in addition to high caliber athletes. He’d rather focus on the fact that Miami has had four arrests this offseason, or that their GM may be a jerk or they traded for a guy who hasn’t been a saint (but doesn’t deserve the same benefit of the doubt as Dez Bryant). But PFT doesn’t have an agenda. That’s silly.

And when Florio isn’t crusading for moral decency or acting as judge and jury and telling teams to cut players as soon as they stand accused (not when they’re convicted) he spends the rest of his time flat out making shit up. Like he did with this reckless speculation a couple weeks ago. You see, Florio thinks Stephen Ross is setting Tony Sparano up to fail. Mike thinks Ross wants former Chiefs demolitionist Carl Peterson to one day take over the Dolphins…

So what better way to grease the skids for making a change than to set Sparano’s bar so high that he’ll have a hard time clearing it?  Though Ross can dump his head coach any time he chooses, the fans and the media won’t support the move if they don’t believe the coach deserves to get fired.  By pushing a mediocre roster to overachieve and make the playoffs, Sparano would enjoy widespread support.  But if the fans and the media perceive that he couldn’t finish the job with a team stocked like a fish bowl full of trout, no one will complain if/when Peterson concludes that it’s time to make a change.

This is an absolute fabrication, it’s laughable, because in Mike Florio’s goofy chubby-Marc-Anthony-looking head, he may actually believe the Dolphins 2010 season might play out like the plot of the movie Major League. What evidence is Mike Florio basing this on? None really. No seriously, none. Peterson helps Stephen Ross run the company that put the mini-televisions at the seats in Sun Life Stadium. The two sometimes travel together and share a friendship. That coupled with the fact:

Men generally don’t become rich enough to buy football teams without being incredibly shrewd.  And Saturday’s comments could eventually be proof not that Ross still has whatever it is that put him in position to purchase the franchise.

Yep, that’s all the evidence Florio needs to make such a bold claim. Carl Peterson is a friend and a business partner, he used to work in football and Stephen Ross is a good businessman. And nothing helps a brand in the NFL like a losing season, unmet expectations, a coaching change and a front-office overhaul. That’s good business.

Seriously, who the hell is Mike Florio? He’s misinformed, he’s off-base and he’s full of shit, also he clearly does have an agenda. He would make a great American political pundit, especially because he clearly thinks he’s above all the journalistic bullshit he accuses everyone else of but still clearly practices himself. I’m not against teams holding players accountable, they should. If Philip Merling is convicted of hitting his pregnant girlfriend I think Miami should cut him (not even suspend him, just cut him). But the Dolphins have the right to let due process play out. And should they cut him, it sure as hell won’t be because of Mike Florio. Because who the hell is Mike Florio?

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