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James Harrison puts Mike Tomlin on blast, says Bill Belichick is a better coach

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Bill Belichick certainly won’t give it a second of thought, but while one former Patriot is criticizing the coach, another has come out in support of him.

Dolphins receiver Danny Amendola had the spotlight earlier in the week when he said his new coach Adam Gase is “one of the guys” and compared Belichick to a school “principal.”

James Harrison only played in one regular season game with New England, but the retired linebacker says that Belichick is a better coach than his former boss in Pittsburgh — Mike Tomlin.

In this case, the headline may be stronger than the actual facts.

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First, there’s the obvious — nobody can really make the case that Tomlin is the superior coach.

Belichick has won 39 playoff games, including five Super Bowls. He’s also lost the big game three times.

Tomlin is only 8-7 in the postseason, with one Super Bowl win and one loss.

Last season, the Steelers were heavily favored for an AFC Championship rematch with New England.

Do you think Bill Belichick a better coach than Mike Tomlin?

Instead, Tomlin’s team looked asleep against Jacksonville, falling behind 21-0 en route to a shocking 45-41 loss.

Harrison said the difference between the two coaches is preparation.

“The big thing with Belichick is he’s very regimented, he’s disciplined, everyone is going to be on the same page, there’s not going to be anything as far as someone doing their own thing,” Harrison said on Fox Sports 1’s “Undisputed.” “I think over there (in New England) their whole coaching staff is like that.”

Perhaps the biggest surprise was the understated way that Harrison made his case.

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“I think Mike Tomlin is good as a head coach. He’s a players’ coach. I think he needs to be a little more disciplined.”

The future Hall of Famer then talked about the communication between the players and staff of New England.

“I ain’t never been in so many meetings in my life. That’s what helped me pick up the defense so fast.” Harrison explained.

Then he made an interesting comment about a caste system in Pittsburgh when asked about Tomlin.

“I mean, like being more consistent across the board from your stars to the special teamers … I think it’s easier if you hold everyone accountable because you don’t have to treat anyone differently.”

And that includes The Greatest Quarterback Of All-Time.

“Man, I’ve seen Tom Brady running to a meeting, scared to be late.”

Reading between the lines, Harrison appears to believe that Tomlin’s different treatment of different players allows for high-maintenance personalities, like Antonio Brown and Le’veon Bell, to be even more difficult.

Whatever the reason, the NFL is a results-based business, and one coach has five rings while the other has one. You be the judge.

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Mike is an 11-time Michigan Emmy Award winner who has spent nearly 30 years working in sports media.
Mike has spent nearly 30 years in all aspects of sports media, including on-air, 10 at ESPN and another 10 at Fox Sports Detroit. He now works as a TV agent, and lives with his family in West Bloomfield, MI.
Sudbury, Massachusetts
11-time Michigan Emmy winner
Emerson College
Books Written
The Longest Year: One Family's Journey Of Life, Death, And Love/If These Walls Could Talk: Detroit Tigers/If These Walls Could Talk: Detroit Lions
Topics of Expertise