Mike Tomlin Wins Out Over John Harbaugh In A Recent ESPN Poll

In a recent ESPN Sportsnation poll that asked which head coach would wind up being the most successful between Mike Tomlin and John Harbaugh, the Pittsburgh Steelers head coach deservingly won out with 54% of the 16,450 total votes.

Harbaugh of course captured his first Super Bowl championship in 2012, which tied him with Tomlin, who has led the Steelers to two Super Bowls in his first six seasons. While Harbaugh does currently have a slightly higher winning percentage than Tomlin does (.677 to .654), it is important to remember that he has never beaten the Steelers in the playoffs and that the two coaches are .500 against each other in their 10 regular season meetings.

In three of those five wins that Harbaugh has against the Steelers, however, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger did not play due to injury, so that\’s a huge asterisk.

The Steelers and the Baltimore Ravens have both had some serious turnover on their respective rosters this past offseason which will really test the coaching mettle of both Tomlin and Harbaugh moving forward. Should the Ravens wind up sweeping the two regular season meetings between the two teams in 2013, you would probably have to move Harbaugh ahead of Tomlin at that point, even though he has failed to beat the Steelers in the playoffs.

These two head coaches figure to be around for quite some time, so it will be a while before we ultimately get to answer the question once and for all.

About the Author

Dave Bryan
I am, I'm me. 40 something, retired and a life long Steelers fan.
  • steeltown

    Playoff games are a big factor.. and the fact that Ben was out for 3 of their regular season wins.

  • Shea Fahr

    I would really like to see Ben play both games this year against the Ravens. It seems like forever since he has been able to. If he does, we should be able to sweep them.

  • dgh57

    Tomlin separates himself from Harbaugh this season and wins both games!

    I’m still waiting for us to return the favor like that first game of 2011 which I will never forget! Preferably in front of their home crowd!

  • dgh57

    I agree. It was a most unfortunate thing Big Ben getting hurt just before two of the biggest games of the year vs. the Ravens last year!

  • steves

    Ravens D has been decimated. It will be tuff for the SB Champs to repeat.

  • dgh57

    Yes, but they drafted ILB Arthur Brown & FS Matt Elam & signed Elvis Dumervil to lessen the blow. It still will be tuff, like you say, for them to repeat as I think they have to go through us to do so. Still I think the Ravens will be lucky to even make the playoffs as Cincy has improved themselves.

  • RMSteeler

    If the Steelers can create a very good running game, it will be key against potentially high scoring offenses. With almost no running game the past two seasons, the Steelers have done surprisingly well in a key statistic: Time of possession. Leveraging more TOP by running well could frustrate high flying teams into mistakes by trying to create big plays in their limited number of plays in a well managed game by the Steelers. Steelers still have to up their points by about 10 per game, but that can be done with good running game too. We’ve seen how Flacco gets impatient when given limited opportunities with his “go deep and I’ll heave it as far as I can” approach.

  • steves

    Dumerville and Suggs will be the OLB’s with the Ravins but you can’t expect Brown to fill in for Lewis and Elam to take Ed Reed’s spot, just NOT going to happen this year. Leach is also gone who was a beast in the backfield. Kruger and Bernard Pollard are also absent. I think the birds has been grounded.

  • steeltown

    Agreed. Its pretty evident controlling the ball and/or clock can be the difference between winning and losing. Also, yes scoring a few more pts would be great. Hell if we scored another 3-7pts a game last season we could possibly won 4, 5 maybe even 6 more games last year

  • dgh57

    I hated the fact the Ravens drafted Brown & Elam because I had them on my Mock Draft before the actual draft!

  • Don

    IF there’s a running game, IF Ben doesn’t get bruised, IF the receivers don’t drop the ball- hell, IF they can get open, IF the number 1 Defense (LOL) can get a turnover, IF IF IF…
    Rebuilding teams always feed the fans with IFs

  • Don

    Tomlin separates himself this season by not making playoffs 3rd year in a row.

  • Luke Shabro

    I actually think the Ratbirds have improved their defense with addition through subtraction. (Sans the loss of Ellerbe to the Dolphins). However, their depth is atrocious and I think although they are overall more talented what is hard to replace is the chemistry the previous defense had. It’s going to take time for these guys to gel and the Ngata and Suggs seem to be the only experienced leaders still around. Mount Cody (who I actually wanted us to draft) has largely been a bust. McPhee and Art Jones are decent but not Pro Bowlers. A Brown is a rookie as is John Simon. Doom can rush the passer but can be run at all day. T Sizzle still rushes the passer really well and nobody sets the edge like him except maybe James Harrison. Jimmy Smith is talented but we’ll see if he shows up. Ladarius Webb is really good but how is his knee? The Ravens were actually pretty pedestrian on defense and I don’t expect this massive improvement everyone else is. Not this year

  • Luke Shabro

    Relax Negative Nancy. If rebuilding is going 8-8, 12-4 and 9-7 over the past 3 years of “rebuilding” then yes we are rebuilding. So many Chicken Little’s in Steeler Nation lately. The sky is falling! The sky is falling! Hey remember when this guy named Joey Porter got cut and we weren’t going to have a pass rush anymore? And then a year later we had the Defensive Player of the Year? Everyone freaks when we miss the playoffs. Maybe I’ll start freaking if we miss the playoffs two years in a row. Cowher went three years without making the postseason and the Rooneys didn’t panic and fire him.

  • Don

    IF we miss playoffs 2 years in a row? You want to call the debacle in Denver making the playoffs? Tebow- ring a bell. IDIOT, there’s a big problem here. Absolutely going in wrong direction.

  • Luke Shabro

    The sky is falling! The sky is falling!

  • John C

    Don – Didn’t Pittsburgh lose to Denver in the playoffs at the end of the 2011 season? So, so far he is one year in a row, right?

  • SteelersDepot

    going to have to let you go, Don.

  • dgh57

    If you don’t want to include the Denver playoff loss as making the playoffs and further don’t have FAITH in what the Steelers organization is doing to make us competitive that is your problem and not the prevailing sentiment of me nor Steelers Nation!!

  • Jefferson_St_Joe

    Harbaugh’s resume’ is very strong. Making the playoffs every year and winning a playoff game (including several road playoff games) in each of those year’s is impressive. However, I’d still take Tomlin without hesitation because he isn’t a weasel and over the long haul Harbaugh’s shtick is going to wear thin.

  • cencalsteeler

    damn, now I don’t care what anybody says… THAT is some funny s**t there!!!!

  • Gary Thomas

    Uncle Mike would be laughed out of a big market town for bonehead sideline decisions

  • cencalsteeler

    There are a lot of Monday morning coaches out there (including myself) who tout the would’ve, could’ve, should’ve. Does Tomlin have room for improvement? Of course he does, as does everyone of us. But, I’ll tell you this. I would rather go to battle with Tomlin, than any other coach. If you look at last years season, there were a lot of issues that needed to be addressed- cancer in the locker room, pass rush, running game, special teams play, coaching, “team is old”, leadership, etc. He has faced those situations head on and made a lot of necessary adjustments in the offseason to correct those issues. He is a young coach who’s only going to get better at his craft.
    I recall the handshake between he and Harbaugh where John felt disrespected and pulled Mike back in. Tomlin was so calm and collected on his response to John that he got the best of him by doing absolutely nothing. Classic, just classic!!!

  • steves

    Luke’s reply was GREAT!!! Thanks for the laughs. You get a Thumbs up from me!!

  • Rob

    In a playoff game is making the playoffs, what part is it that is confusing you. The fact that they lost has nothing to do with making the playoffs

  • Luke Shabro

    I love Tomlin man. I never thought I’d be ok with whoever replaced Cowher but Tomlin is so even-keeled and calm. I’d take him over either Harbaugh. He’s a total class act. When he loses a challenge or there’s a flag thrown he doesn’t agree with he doesn’t throw a temper tantrum like the Harbaughs. I think it says something when you are voted as the coach players would want to play for the most. I felt like Wade Phillips and Romeo Crennel were viewed as coaches players loved but at the same time couldn’t manage a whole team. Mike is great at getting the pulse of the team and never seems to be out of step with the Rooneys or Colbert. Is he perfect? No. Does he sometimes make game time decisions that we all question? Yes. But in all sincerity he is still the guy I am happy to see lead the franchise for the forseeable future. At least he never knocked a girl over for crowding the plate (Jim Harbaugh). Plus he’s from Hampton Roads so that makes him even more awesome in my book.