FOXBORO, MA - OCTOBER 17: Coach John Harbaugh of the Baltimore Ravens shouts instructions in the second half in a game against the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium on October 17, 2010 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
As you may have expected, it seems like there is an explanation for the awkward handshake that took place between Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh and Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin last weekend. Darren Sharper, who played college ball with Tomlin at William and Mary, appeared on Showtime’s “Inside the NFL” on Wednesday night and explained the history between his former teammate and Harbaugh.
“There’s bad blood between these two coaches,” Sharper said, via USA TODAY. “You think about the fact that the teams do not like each other, so that carries over to the coaches because they’re the ones preaching to the team before the games. And before this game there was a little bit of an incident in which Coach Harbaugh had some comments after they beat the Pittsburgh Steelers which he knew the camera was on, too.”
After the Ravens beat the Steelers 13-10 at Heinz Field a few weeks ago, television cameras captured Harbaugh telling his players that they were the more physically tough team, the more mentally tough team, the better team and the team that knows how to win football games.
“Coach Tomlin, like all coaches do, they watch everything,” Sharper continued. “They read the papers — they try to say they don’t — they read the papers, they look at television, and he thought that was a message towards his team.
“I know this for sure. I talked to Mike, and after the game I asked him about the handshake, and he said that there is some bad blood there. And he did not appreciate what Coach Harbaugh said postgame after the first victory.”
Based on Sharper first-hand knowledge, it sounds like the excuse Tomlin gave about wanting to get to the locker room before his players so he could welcome them is bogus. Harbaugh’s comments after the first game were the same ones we hear from coaches after victories all the time. There’s no love lost between Steelers and Ravens. Perhaps Tomlin is simply falling into line.