James Harrison played for two of the top coaches in the AFC last season, Pittsburgh’s Mike Tomlin and New England’s Bill Belichick. During an appearance on FS1’s “Undisputed” Thursday, Harrison was asked which man was the better coach.
The recently retired linebacker answered without hesitation.
“Belichick,” he said.
“To me, yes,” Harrison said.
Tomlin has coached the Steelers for 11 seasons, appearing in two Super Bowls and winning one. Under him, the team has missed the playoffs only three times and has never finished under .500.
"Mike Tomlin is good as a head coach," said Harrison, who played the better part of 14 seasons with the Steelers, including 10 under Tomlin. "He's a players' coach. I think he needs to be a little bit more disciplined.”
When asked what he thinks Tomlin should do differently, Harrison replied, “Just [be] more consistent across the board with everything, from your stars to your special-teams players."
He added: “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. It’s a lot easier across the board — it don’t look like you’re playing favorites.”
Last season, Harrison didn’t hide his displeasure with the lack of playing time he was receiving in Pittsburgh and was eventually released by the team. He ended up signing with the Patriots and said he noticed a different culture in New England.
"The big thing with Belichick is he's very regimented,” Harrison said. “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. And I think over there [in New England] their whole coaching staff is like that.”
He added: “Man, I’ve seen Tom Brady run into a meeting scared to be late. I don’t even know what happens if you’re late to a meeting over there.”
The Patriots have appeared in eight Super Bowls and won five of them under Belichick, who has coached the team since 2000. They have missed the playoffs only three times during that span and have had a winning record every year after Belichick’s first season.
“Belichick is old school, like you’re gonna do it like this or it ain’t gonna get done,” Harrison said. “Playing for him is easy. If you’re used to regimen, you’re used to discipline, it’s not something that’s hard to do. If you’re not, then you’re gonna have some issues.”
Harrison made his comments on the same day former Patriots and current Miami receiver Danny Amendola described the difference between Belichick and Dolphins coach Adam Gase like this: