The Steelers manned-up on Sunday…too bad Mike Tomlin didn’t do the same thing

December 03, 2012 | Drew Forrester

And please, spare me the whole “there’s no love lost between those guys” garbage. The players on the field don’t like one another either, but when the game ends, they join hands and sit down on the field for a minute of reflection that also serves as a reminder to them that the most important thing of all is walking out of that stadium healthy once the game concludes.

It’s also worth noting that Harbaugh didn’t bite the hook on Monday when asked about the handshake during his late afternoon weekly press conference.

Despite being privately put-off by Tomlin’s inappropriate gesture, the Ravens coach glossed over it with the media, essentially saying “There was nothing wrong with it (handshake) as far as I was concerned.”

That wasn’t quite true, but John Harbaugh wasn’t born yesterday.  He knows if he even remotely mentions the handshake that people all over the country will pounce on him for being a bad loser.  Ironically, he was trying to do the exact opposite after the game when he approached midfield.

Mike Tomlin has coached long enough to know this:  Win or lose, you walk to midfield and you give the other guy the five seconds of personal and professional respect he damn well deserves because, as you know, he worked his tail off all week to try and beat you and you did the same in an effort to beat him.

It’s five seconds.

When you’re the losing coach, you put your head up and you walk to midfield and you shake the hand of the man who just beat you because that’s what competitors do.

And when you win, it’s even more important to say and do the right thing — because with every great triumph comes humility, knowing it could be the last game you win for a week or a month or a season.

Lastly, I know none of this is even close to as important as the game itself, which Pittsburgh won fair and square on Sunday night.  I realize that.  I accept that bringing up this blip-on-a-radar-screen moment of poor sportsmanship doesn’t change the outcome or in any way diminish the impact of the loss to Pittsburgh.  Believe me, on the grand scale, the outcome of the game is far, far more important than the handshake that did or didn’t happen.  I know who wins and loses is what’s most important.

I also know Mike Tomlin hasn’t yet called John Harbaugh to apologize for his clown act on Sunday night.

And, for sure, I also know this:  He should.



17 Comments For This Post

  1. RJ Says:

    Well-stated, DF! You are spot on!

  2. joe of bel air Says:

    Who knows, maybe Harbaugh can return the favor a month from now when we beat them in the wild card game.

  3. Lisa, Aberdeen Says:

    I think I’ve lost a little respect for Tomlin as a coach. Um, there’s no thinking about it, I have lost some respect for him.

  4. PghSteve Says:

    Just to clarify, the Ravens did not have a 2 point conversion against the Raiders. Mr. Koch scored a TD on a fake field goal.

    Maybe Mr. Tomlin was under the mistaken impression that your letter to him last week was actually from Mr. Harbaugh.

    BTW, bit off topic, but I thought that when the Ravens kicked that short field goal in the 2nd quarter on Sunday would have been a nice spot for a fake field goal. Unfortunately, thsat ship likely sailed when Mr. Harbaugh showed the play against the Raiders.

    (DF: You saw the “First edition” of the blog where I made that mistake on the 2-pointer against Oakland. Check the “Final”…it’s right. LOL. I know you don’t have the guts to call out your coach. That’s why I did it for you. You’re welcome.)

  5. Steve Says:

    I’ll call out my coach, Drew! Totally surprised about it. Read somewhere yesterday about Harbaugh’s comments after the first game, that the Raven’s were the tougher team. I don’t agree with that comment. But some believe that and something else said must have irritated Tomlin. Still no reason to do what he did. If so he could have addressed that at midfield. Hopefullly there will be a third avt this year!

  6. Steve from Sandpoint Says:

    Drew, get over it, I worry more about Ray Rice lack of touches in the fourth qtr; no pass rush, dropped balls, steelers open receivers in the middle of the field, Cam Camerons inept offense, thank god big ben didn’t play. There is more to worry about the lack of a handshake, believe me. (DF: LOL – “get over it”. Sorry, I didn’t realize I wasn’t allowed to have an opinion on it.)

  7. justafan Says:

    This is all much to do about nothing although it does give you something to write about.

  8. charlie Says:

    excellent column, drew. and i like how you make it clear that ‘nitpicking’ or criticizing harbaugh here and there isn’t calling for his head. he’s a good coach, but he’s not perfect. what was perfect — perfectly bush-league — was tomlin’s act. thanks for telling us about it. i’d hope the team would care enough to get fired up.

  9. Robert Canady Says:

    As others have said, Tomlin just dropped down several notches on my list of repected coaches. I’m sure he’s heartborken :)

    But you just don’t do that to a peer, unless he directly did something dirty. Even the faking of field goals and such don’t warrant that. I agree with Harbaugh’s sentiment, if you’re going to let us score, we will.

    It’s the old saying, if you don’t want to be shown up..them stop them.

    Would love to know what is behind Tomlins thoughts there.

  10. Marty Says:

    I can guarantee you this, if this would have happened in reverse, all the sports talk shows would have been buzzing, that someone dissed their precious Steeler’s coach. But what’s good for the Steelers is good for the NFL and for CBS so all is good. Right? Remember all the on on field crap Cower used to get away with? He’d run out on the field, he touched officials several times and not a penalty, fine or word said. The Ravens were given a 15 yard penalty three years against New England because Harbaugh yelled out BS call. Certainly there is a double standard in the league. If you wear gold and black or play on Foxborough, you get special treatment.

  11. unitastoberry Says:

    @ Marty- You got it right.NFL=No friend of Baltimore League.

  12. Brian Says:

    Well, I’m glad someone wrote an article about the BS that went on at mid field. I was shocked that everyone (media) wrote it off as a big nothing when in reality it’s a pretty big deal for all reasons stated in the article above.

    Total punk move by Tomlin. Harbaugh handled it like a man, bottom line.

  13. Art Lawrence Says:

    As Allen Iverson would say….we’re talking about handshakes man..handshakes? Where’s the analyis of what went wrong? Where’s the suggestions for improvements? (DF: Try listening to the show. I talked about “what went wrong” on Monday and Tuesday.)

  14. Mike Flatus Says:

    As always Drew, very entertaining. However, I don’t think there is much here. I’m guessing Tomlin realizes now it was a D move but was caught up in emotion. It does not bother me if they hate each other but I suspect that is not the case. I live on the West coast now and the talk here is that it is not a coincidence that another Harbaugh was involved in a handshake incident. Lot of ego in that family. Tough loss, put it behind, and focus on RG3.

  15. Towson Black & Gold Says:


    Go to Google and type in “pictures of John Harbaugh and Pete Carroll”. The 2nd photo shows clearly that Harbaugh did the same EXACT thing to Carroll last year when the Ravens lost to Seattle. Same Thing. So to get on your high horse and say Harbaugh has never done that is simply wrong. Let’s face it – when the Ravens lose, Harbaugh is one of the biggest pouty puppies there is. By the way, I do not agree with what Tomlin did – clearly, there’s a respect issue and/or as you pointed out, Tomlin may be upset with Harbaugh re: last year’s game and the two point conversion which, let’s be honest, was bush league as ever. Enjoy the show and welcome your response. (DF: My response? I went to Google and the first pic on the top row shows Harbaugh LOOKING Pete Carroll in the eye while they SHAKE HANDS FACE TO FACE. Any other dumb stuff you want to try and pass along as evidence? Right, I didn’t think so. I feel bad for you people who don’t have the balls to just say “My coach (Tomlin, in your case) was wrong on Sunday. No excuses. No further comment. He was wrong.” Can’t say it, can you? Of course not.)

  16. PghSteve Says:

    Ok, Tomlin was wrong. Feel better?

    Odd, but when I googled “pictures of John Harbaugh and Pete Carroll” the first picture that came up for me was the one on the link below:

    (DF: Yep, I feel better. It only took you three days to admit what everyone else knew Sunday night around 7:30 pm. Good luck in the post-season if yinz are lucky enough to make it.)

  17. PghSteve Says:

    Thanks! All teams can use a bit of luck, or a whole lot of in some cases.

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