mike Florio and Chris Simms

On the Friday before Super Bowl LVII, PFT Live promoted some very big names coming to visit them on Radio Row, including Denver Broncos coach Sean Payton, Detroit Lions defensive end Aiden Hutchinson, and Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa. However, Tagovailoa canceled the interview at the last minute, prompting Mike Florio and Chris Simms to go on a rant at the end of the day about a “high-level quarterback” who was not respectful of the way he handled things.

While they never mentioned Tagovailoa by name, it’s pretty obvious that he was who they were referring to, perhaps presuming that this was some kind of payback for criticisms they’ve lobbied against him.

During his weekly appearance on The Joe Rose Show this week, Florio admitted that the issue didn’t come from Tagovailoa himself but instead had to do with his new representation.

“Well, it had nothing to do with Tua. He did not turn us down, he did not fail to show up. It’s a bigger story, it’s a broader story, and it’s something I’m trying to work through behind the scenes,” Florio said. “It has more to do with the agency that represents him now than it does him. I’ll just leave it at that. But it wasn’t like he said ‘Oh I see these two buttholes, I’m not going to be on their show.’

“We were locked in, it was set, it was good to go, but apparently someone from his agency became aware that he was going to be on. And it has more to do with one of the specific agents and something that was said about one of the agents at one point that apparently has become an issue. And that’s something I’m trying to work through. I prefer to work through it behind the scenes, but I also want to be transparent about what happened.

“This wasn’t Tua – and if he hadn’t changed agents from Leigh Steinberg to the firm he’s currently with, he would have been on. This is more about agent retaliation for something that was said about him on one of our shows. And I’m not saying he’s wrong to be upset, but I’m trying to work it out behind the scenes, and hopefully, I’ll be able to.”

It had been announced just a week prior that Tagovailoa had swapped out agent Leigh Steinberg for Ryan Williams and Austin Lyman of Athletes First.

Florio noted that Justin Fields and C.J. Stroud, both of whom are also repped by Athletes First, didn’t appear on PFT Live either after being initially slated to. However, the reason that Florio was incensed about Tagovailoa’s no-show but not theirs came down to how that situation played out specifically.

“The problem is with Tua, nobody bothered to tell us he was out until five minutes before he was due to be on. That’s what pissed me off, frankly. If you’re going to pull the plug on this guy, then you better do it at a reasonable time so we’re not caught in a position where you’ve got the haters online thinking that Tua was retaliating against us in some way.

“Because god forbid every word out of our mouths over the past three years hasn’t been complete and total unequivocal praise of Tua Tagovailoa. We’ve actually been candid in our assessments of areas where his game needs to improve, and also our concern for the repeated concussions and what impact it may have on him over the course of his career and life when he’s done playing football.”

Between the rant in which Florio brags about the rapport he and Simms have and his main concern being that he didn’t want “the haters online” to have one over on him, it all feels a bit childish. But it will certainly make for an interesting time if and when he and Simms finally get to talk to the Miami quarterback.

[The Joe Rose Show, transcript by Audacy]

About Sean Keeley

Along with writing for Awful Announcing and The Comeback, Sean is the Editorial Strategy Director for Comeback Media. Previously, he created the Syracuse blog Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician and wrote 'How To Grow An Orange: The Right Way to Brainwash Your Child Into Rooting for Syracuse.' He has also written non-Syracuse-related things for SB Nation, Curbed, and other outlets. He currently lives in Seattle where he is complaining about bagels. Send tips/comments/complaints to sean@thecomeback.com.