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Somehow, Fred Warner avoids a fine for his hit on Matthew Stafford

Mike Florio and Myles Simmons break down who their picks are for making a bigger impact in the Super Bowl, which player will have the most swag and what the most overplayed storyline is before the Rams face the Bengals.

At a time when the NFL routinely throws out flags and fines in the name of keeping quarterbacks upright and in one piece, 49ers linebacker Fred Warner got neither for a grossly illegal hit on Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford during the first quarter of Sunday’s NFC Championship, after Stafford threw an interception.

The officials missed the brutal, unnecessary blow during the game. Per a source with knowledge of the situation, Warner was not fined.

Warner apologized for the hit after the Rams’ victory.

“I never do anything out of malicious intent,” Warner told reporters. “I watched the video it looks bad. . . . He was in my way and I made the hit. . . . Looking back at it, I feel bad about it.”

It’s unclear why a fine wasn’t imposed. Players get penalized financially for far less. Warner surely expected it, and he’d admit that he deserves it.

So either the NFL is serious about protecting quarterbacks, or it isn’t. Which is it?