Darren Sharper Confirms Beef Between Mike Tomlin and John Harbaugh

If it wasn’t embarrassing enough seeing
a. a 15-game home winning streak snapped
b. a 12-game divisional streak snapped
c. Ray Rice not touching the ball in the 4th quarter
d. the Ravens going into halftime with all three of their timeouts (thus giving away an entire possession)
e. the Ravens not letting the Steelers run in a touchdown when mathematically Baltimore had a better chance of doing that and forcing overtime than a 41-yard Shaun Suisham kick missing
f. the Ravens missing an opportunity to give the Steelers a crucial 6th and become one win or Bengals loss from clinching the North

…Ravens HC John Harbaugh then was brushed off by Steelers HC Mike Tomlin during a brisk and awkward handshake after the game.

Now, here’s Tomlin’s explanation, speaking with the media: “As I moved toward the middle of the field, I noticed to my left the number of guys that were headed toward our locker room. Maybe that happens all the time, but given the amount of effort it took to get out of that stadium with a win, I wanted to get there as quickly as I could. It’s a normal practice for me to welcome guys into the locker room and thank them for their efforts after games and, really, the results of games don’t matter. It’s a general practice for me but, obviously, it took special effort to secure that victory and when I noticed that guys were headed to the locker room I was in a hurry to get there.”

I don’t condone lying in most cases including this one, but this might’ve kept a childish coaching rivalry from growing out of control.

It might’ve, except former Vikings and Saints FS Darren Sharper admitted on Showtime’s “Inside the NFL” that he talked to Mike Tomlin and Tomlin was upset over the post-game speech John Harbaugh gave earlier this season in which he said the Ravens were the mentally tougher, overall tougher team (and I think he mentioned coaching).

Still skeptical? FS Ryan Clark mentioned the Harbaugh speech as he spoke to NFL Network after the game. I get the feeling Tomlin showed it to his players.

I’m disappointed in both Harbaugh and Tomlin for continually peddling these AFC North games to the media as these slugfests that come down to wire and also for bringing an unnecessarily prideful edge to the AFC North rivalries.

You can’t win a Super Bowl on just running the football and defense, so it ultimately doesn’t matter how well and how often these facets flash in an AFC North game. This only encourages John Harbaugh to encourage offensive coordinator Cam Cameron to run all these pass plays with a FB and two slow TEs. I love WR Anquan Boldin, but the strength of the passing offense should be letting receivers Jacoby Jones, Deonte Thompson and La’Quan Williams clear out the middle of the field and the flat for WR Torrey Smith and RB Ray Rice. Having sludgy Leach, Pitta, and sludgy Boldin on the field at the same time condenses the opponent’s defense, allowing them to pin their ears back. It feels like John Harbaugh is the only coach left that wants to play games “close to the vest”. The conservatism on offense, and the inability to maximize Ray Rice, Torrey Smith and Joe Flacco in the primes of their careers is why Harbaugh will probably never win a Super Bowl.

The silly post-game speech and the stupid clichĂ©s disappoint me as a Ravens fan. It disappoints me as someone with a lot of respect for the amazing athletes and high-character leaders like Troy Polamalu, Andy Dalton, A.J. Green, LaMarr Woodley, Brett Keisel, Geno Atkins, Ryan Clark, Brandon Weeden, D’Qwell Jackson, Joe Haden, and – yes – Ben Roethlisberger. This isn’t 1992. This is 2012. I enjoy good rivalries, but you gotta know when you’re being childish. A lot of Ravens players are friends with Steelers players. A lot of Browns players are friends with Bengals players. And – for John – you gotta stop pretending Cam Cameron’s offense is working, when it’s clearly not.

It should be enough for John Harbaugh and Mike Tomlin to hate each other during the game, but – thanks to John’s comments – there’s now this silly “disrespect” card Tomlin will play, as if John speaks for the whole team. In fairness, I think John was trying to isolate that one performance in his praise (you still don’t need to mention the other team like that), but it really was incredibly perfect bulletin board material.

It would seem inevitable for these two teams to meet again in the postseason, but there’s no guarantee either of them get in.

Hit “Like” or the Facebook share button if you think the Bengals might still win the AFC North.

Follow me at: http://twitter.com/Chris_M_Bach

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