Vikings fan Mike Florio wrote a post at Pro Football Talk called “Will Lane Johnson be flagged for false starts tonight?

Florio, a West Virginia guy (good) and football curmudgeon (bad) theorizes that:

“Even though it’s the kind of thing for which the league office would normally send out a memo to all officiating staffs, the NFL first has to want to end the practice. We don’t think the NFL does.

We think the NFL wants to keep quarterbacks healthy. At a time when defensive linemen are generally better than offensive linemen, the offensive linemen need some help. From false starts not flagged to holding fouls not called, quarterbacks are less likely to get hit — and less likely to get hurt.

Thus, despite what we all saw in the first game of the first week of the 2023 regular season, the league is FAR more concerned about avoiding what we all saw in the last game of the first week of the 2023 regular season. The NFL can’t afford to lose more quarterbacks for the year. If that means not calling false starts, so be it.”

Florio complains about this at least once per season, but it’s been litigated over and over again by former offensive linemen like Tra Thomas, Baldy, Geoff Schwartz, and Andrew Whitworth. They all say the same thing, that Johnson’s get-off speed is absolutely perfect because he’s been playing alongside Jason Kelce for a decade now. Whenever you slow it down and look at his motion, it’s timed up almost perfectly with the moment that Kelce begins to move the ball.

Johnson isn’t the only guy who does it. Jason Peters did it back in the day. Chiefs tackle Jawaan Taylor was the most recent topic of discussion, saying this:

“To the eye it may look like a false start, but if you slow it down on film, I’m moving the same time the ball is moving.” 

That’s all this is. Florio thinks everything is a conspiracy theory. He is embarrassing his fellow WVU alumni.