James Harrison spent parts of 10 seasons playing for Mike Tomlin with the Pittsburgh Steelers, but the former NFL linebacker quickly discovered in less than two months with the New England Patriots that Bill Belichick is a superior head coach.
The opinion shouldn’t surprise anyone, as Belichick is considered one of the greatest coaches in NFL history. But Harrison did little Thursday during an appearance on FS1’s “Undisputed” to make a case for Tomlin. Instead, Harrison gave an honest assessment of how Tomlin compares to Belichick.
“Mike Tomlin is good as a head coach. He’s a player’s coach,” Harrison said after acknowledging Belichick is by far the better coach. “I think he needs to be a little bit more disciplined.
“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. I think over there (in New England) their whole coaching staff is like that.”
To be fair, Harrison didn’t exactly criticize Tomlin, who was hired by the Steelers before the 2007 season (Harrison’s fifth season in Pittsburgh). Few, if any, head coaches in the history of the sport can claim to be better than Belichick, who’s won five Super Bowl titles in his 18 seasons as New England’s head coach, so Harrison’s answer is the obvious one.
However, Harrison definitely sees areas in which Tomlin can improve as a head coach, and it’s interesting to hear coming from a Pro Bowl player with such a lengthy and accomplished track record in Pittsburgh.
“Just being more consistent across the board with everything,” Harrison said when asked how Tomlin can upgrade his discipline. “From your stars to your special teams players.”
Thumbnail photo via Geoff Burke/USA TODAY Sports Images.