By now you have seen all the replays of the halftime fight between Florida and Missouri. You have probably heard all the analyses that gloss over the fact that Gators head coach Dan Mullen instigated the whole incident. And he seems to be getting away with it.
In case you missed it, Florida had an untimed down at the end of the half to throw a heave-ho Hail Mary pass. Florida quarterback Kyle Trask let the ball fly and was hit late by a Missouri defensive lineman Trajan Jeffcoat. It was not an illegal hit but it was definitely late and should have been flagged.
Almost immediately, Mullen sprinted out to midfield like a yappy little chihuahua screaming and waving his arms around, barking at Missouri players and coaches. His actions and his actions alone started some yelling and finger-pointing and it devolved into a punches-thrown brawl.
Mullen (in white shirt and visor) had to be physically restrained by multiple assistant coaches and a huge state trooper. You will have to ignore the mistaken assumptions of rookie announcer Hutson Mason. He changed his tune after the game.
After the field was finally cleared, Mullen could not help but come back out and stir the pot a little more:
Watch Dan Mullen come back onto the field after the brawl to hype up the crowd. #Gators (via SEC Network) pic.twitter.com/DM7vsL1zrq— Mike Cugno (@MikeCugnoCBS4) November 1, 2020
The week after his Gators got beat by Texas A&M aided by the a rambunctious Aggies crowd, Mullen ridiculously pleaded for the administration to allow him to “pack the Swamp” with “90,000” fans for a home field advantage. Clearly, firing up the fans was his plan, and an on-field melee was his solution. His classless ploy worked, as Florida came back out in the second half and dominated the Tigers 41-17.
After the game, Mullen tried to paint himself as the hero and peacemaker:
“From my understanding, our guys thought they took a late hit at our quarterback. They’re going to protect him... I think both sides were trying to get people off the field, but everyone was a little edgy and probably went a little too far with it. I know we were trying to get guys off the field. It is what it is. It’s an emotional game. I don’t condone it. I’m not really pleased how it all played out.”
Mullens’s actions and comments put great doubt on any regrets for his behavior. The post-game statements are straight up lies.
Three players got ejected for the second half and other penalties will probably be handed down this week. However, it is this petulant child who needs the punishing. He should definitely be fined by the SEC - and it better be significantly more than the $25,000 fine that Ole Miss coach Lane Kiffin received last week for criticizing the refs. More to the point, Mullen should be suspended. But wait! Florida plays Georgia on Saturday. Too bad. Mullen incited a riot and put officials, players and staff from both sides in physical danger. He needs to know these bush league tactics are not acceptable. At the very least, he should miss the first half of the Georgia game.