Is Mike Tomlin an overrated head coach?

New England Patriots, Pittsburgh Steelers


James Harrison believes the Bill Belichick style is better than the Mike Tomlin style. Is he right?

Veteran linebacker James Harrison has been fortunate enough to play for two of the most well-respected head coaches in the NFL, Mike Tomlin and Bill Belichick.

He spent most of his career with the Pittsburgh Steelers under Tomlin, winning Super Bowl XLIII in 2008. Near the end of last season, Harrison was traded to the New England Patriots and played under Belichick for a few games, including a defeat in Super Bowl LII.

Though Harrison’s time with Belichick was far shorter than his time with Tomlin, he prefers Belichick’s coaching style over Tomlin’s.

“Mike Tomlin is good as a head coach,” Harrison said on FS1’s Undisputed. “He’s a players’ coach. I think he needs to be a little bit more disciplined.

“The big thing with Belichick is that is he’s very regimented, he’s disciplined, everyone is going to be on the same, 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.”

As a head coach, Belichick has led the Patriots to five Super Bowl titles, while Tomlin’s Steelers have just the one, and that one came 10 years ago. It begs the question … is Tomlin an overrated coach?

Overrated is harsh, but Belichick’s style works much better if you want your team to be a Super Bowl contender consistently. Tomlin knows how to coach the game, obviously, but as Harrison said, he’s a nice guy too. Tomlin is the kind of coach who will be your friend as well as your coach. He wants his players to be happy, and his players like playing for him because he’s a players’ coach.

With Belichick, he’s your football coach. That’s it. With him, you’re going to show up for work, take care of business, and go home. He’s not the guy that his players are going to hang out with after practice or after the game. To Belichick, work is work, and his players aren’t there to have a good time. They are there to work hard, play football, and win games, and that’s it.

The Belichick way says if you screw up, you’re going to find yourself on the bench. With Tomlin, if you screw up, he might just tell you to shake it off and give you another chance. As Harrison said, Belichick is much, much more disciplined, and that’s why he always gets the most out of his players year after year – because they know that they are with him for one reason only: to work.

Saying Tomlin is an overrated coach might be an overstatement – he does have a Super Bowl ring to his credit, as well as another appearance in the big game back in 2010. But Belichick’s five Super Bowl rings speak for themselves.



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