James Harrison on why Mike Tomlin isn't as good as Bill Belichick: Discipline

James Harrison played under Mike Tomlin for 9.5 seasons. He didn't make it to 10 full seasons because in December, the Steelers cut Harrison, who went on to sign with Bill Belichick's Patriots for the remainder of the year. Harrison, who retired this offseason, is now qualified to assess both Tomlin and Belichick as coaches, so that's what he did.

This shouldn't come as a surprise, but when the "Undisputed" team asked Harrison who the better coach is, he picked Belichick. 

Skip Bayless: "Give us the better coach, Mike Tomlin or Bill Belichick?"

Harrison: "Belichick."

Bayless: "By far?"

Harrison: "To me, yes."

To Harrison, it comes down to discipline, a quality that Harrison says Tomlin needs more of. 

Harrison: "Mike Tomlin is good as a head coach. He's a player's coach. I think he needs to be a little bit more disciplined. Other than that, the big thing with Belichick, he's very regimented, he's disciplined. Everybody is going to be on the same page ... Over there, their coaching staff is like that. ... I ain't never been to so many meetings in my life."

Harrison went on to talk about how all of the meetings in New England helped him pick up the defense in a short time fame, and how everybody shows up on time to meetings because they're all afraid of being late, including Tom Brady. He also said Tomlin could be "more consistent across the board with everyone, from your stars to your special teams."

Again, this isn't exactly breaking news. We've known for a while that Belichick is a demanding coach who craves discipline. We've known for a while that Brady is held to the same standards as every other player. We've known for a while that Belichick is a better coach than Tomlin, namely because Belichick is arguably the greatest coach of all-time and undeniably the greatest active coach while Tomlin is only one of the game's best active coaches. And we've suspected that Tomlin might not be as disciplined as Belichick considering his Steelers teams have built up a reputation for annually blowing a road game against an inferior foe. Again, though, Tomlin is a good coach, as Harrison said. 

But Harrison's comments might not help repair a somewhat complicated relationship with the Steelers. Harrison appeared to be ready to end his career as a Steelers legend -- he's first all-time in sacks in franchise history -- until he got released in December and signed with the Steelers' nemesis in the AFC playoff picture, the New England Patriots. Some fans burned their Harrison jerseys, some Steelers players accused Harrison of forcing his way out of Pittsburgh and giving up on helping the team. Harrison has since insisted that he holds no grudges against the Steelers while also acknowledging that he did ask to be released after he realized he wasn't going to see the field that often.

Once the memory of Harrison's strange departure fades, he'll be remembered as a Steelers legend who racked up 80.5 sacks in the regular season and another 11 in the playoffs, and is also responsible for the greatest interception return in Super Bowl history. Ultimately, those factors matter more than an ugly breakup and anything he's said since.

CBS Sports Writer

Sean Wagner-McGough joined CBS Sports in 2015 after graduating from UC Berkeley. A native of Seattle, Sean now resides in the Bay Area. He spends his spare time defending Jay Cutler on Twitter. Full Bio

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