Originally posted on NESN.com  |  Last updated 1/22/13
There are actual football games, and then there are the games that people play within those football games. For the Patriots, that means questions about how Bill Belichick does (or doesn’t) talk after games, and whether his speedy postgame handshakes are in some way a slight. Shannon Sharpe was all worked up Sunday evening when Belichick declined an interview after the Patriots’ loss (can we just note that Peyton Manning had done the same thing the week before?), and critics of BB have quickly piled on. Belichick has at least one person in his corner, though — and it’s a Super Bowl-bound coach. Ravens coach John Harbaugh said that, while Belichick could have skipped talking to him amid the bedlam after the game, he didn’t, and he even took it up a notch. That wins big points in Harbaugh’s book. “Before the game, we talked, and he said maybe we should just skip the postgame handshake because it’s such a circus,” Harbaugh told Peter King of Sports Illustrated. “I said I didn’t know, I thought we should do it. It’s just the right thing to do. And we did. “He was so classy, so gracious. Complimentary about how we played, about our game plan, about how tough it is to play us. I told him how much we pattern our organization around theirs, how much we study them.” Harbaugh reiterated his thoughts the next day. While Belichick won’t win any friends in the media with his usual approach, that he’s earned the respect of the coach of one of his biggest foe says something. Now, we just want to know whether Belichick had a deal like that with Tom Coughlin before Super Bowl XLII.

This article first appeared on NESN.com and was syndicated with permission.

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