Former Pittsburgh Steelers outside linebacker James Harrison made it clear on Thursday that he thinks New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick is much better at his job than Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin is at his.
During his Thursday appearance on Skip and Shannon: Undisputed on Fox Sports 1, Harrison, who recently retired this offseason, was asked who is the better head coach between Belichick and Tomlin.
“Belichick,” Harrison said without any hesitation.
“To me, yes,” Harrison quickly replied when asked that question.
While Harrison was only with the Patriots for a little more than a month following him being cut by the Steelers late last season, he was apparently there long enough to learn that Belichick is a much better head coach than Tomlin is, in his opinion. The Steelers all-time sack leader was then asked to characterize Tomlin as a head coach.
“Mike Tomlin is good as a head coach, he’s a players’ coach,” Harrison said. “I think he needs to be a little bit more disciplined. Other than that, you know, the big thing with Belichick is he’s very regimented, he’s disciplined. Everyone is going to be on the same page. It’s not gonna be anything as far as someone doing their own thing and I think over there their whole coaching staff is like that. You’re going to know what you’re doing. I mean, it’s in meetings after meetings. I ain’t never been in so many meetings in my life and I think that’s really what helped me pick up that defense so fast.”
Harrison, who essentially played 10 seasons under Tomlin, was then asked to give some specifics as to how the Steelers head coach can go about upgrading his discipline.
“I mean, just being more consistent across the board with everyone, you know what I’m saying? From your stars to your special teams players,” Harrison said.
He was then pressed if he means that Tomlin needs to hold every player accountable more equally.
“I think it’s easier if you hold everyone accountable because you don’t have to treat anyone differently because of a certain situation or a certain player,” Harrison said. “It’s a lot easier across the board. It don’t look like you’re playing favorites.”
Harrison was then asked if that means Belichick treats all of his players the same.
“I seen Tom Brady running to a meeting scared to be late,” Harrison replied. “Now, when you see that, like, yeah, I don’t even know what happens if you’re late to a meeting over there.”
That must mean Harrison doesn’t know what happens in New England if players are caught sleeping during meetings, something he was accused of doing by a few of his former teammates after he was released from the Steelers last December. Judging by the context of his answers given on Thursday, I would guess that Harrison knows what happens to some players if they are late to one of Tomlin’s meetings and what doesn’t happen to other players if they’re late. I’m also guessing that Harrison was late to more than just a few of Tomlin’s meetings over the years.
So, does Harrison believe that Tomlin is too much of a players’ coach for his own good?
“I don’t know if it’s too much of a players’ coach,” Harrison said. “I think that from me going from being with coaches like Coach [Bill] Cowher and to Tomlin and then over to Belichick, like, Belichick is old school, like, you go do it like this or it ain’t gonna get done, you know. So, like I said, playing for him is easy. If you’re used to regime, if you’re used to discipline, it’s not something that’s hard to do. If you’re not, then you’re going to have some issues until you get in line.”
It sounds like Harrison doesn’t plan on making up with the Steelers anytime soon. It might take him a little while longer to get over what happened last season in Pittsburgh and ultimately resulted in him forcing the Steelers to release him. With that said, I think his opinion of the two head coaches is an honest one and how he really feels. Besides, Belichick will never be characterized by any of his current or former players as being a players coach while Tomlin has been given that moniker nearly yearly by both current and former players since he took over in Pittsburgh in 2007.
Better coach: Mike Tomlin or Bill Belichick?
— UNDISPUTED (@undisputed) July 19, 2018