#1 Dec 5, 2012
John Harbaugh, Mike Tomlin share awkward handshake after Steelers beat Ravens
8:56PM EST December 2. 2012 - Another Harbaugh, another handshake controversy.
Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh was involved in a testy handshake with Mike Tomlin on Sunday, moments after the Pittsburgh Steelers last-second win in the bitter division rivalry.
Harbaugh said "congratulations" as the two met at midfield following Shaun Suisham's game-winning field goal at time expired. Tomlin, who was jogging and looked disinterested in exchanging pleasantries, stabbed at Harbaugh's hand from a distance, grabbed it briefly and continued on his way without breaking stride. He wanted the run-off handshake.
But Harbaugh didn't let go and pulled Tomlin back toward him, while saying, "hey, hey, hey I said congratulations." He had the tone of a mother reminding her son to say "thank you."
A bemused Tomlin didn't resist. He reluctantly came back to Harbaugh, said "thank you, good job," and ran away. Not that we ever want to assign a thought to another person, but it's not too much of an assumption to say Tomlin may have been thinking something else. His eyes said it all during the brief moment he and Harbaugh made eye contact
This is all on Harbaugh. He acted like a petulant child, which is to say he acted like his brother, Jim, who gained handshake infamy last year when he swatted Jim Schwartz on the back after his San Francisco 49ers won in Detroit. Tomlin offered his hand. That's all he needs to do. Pulling him back and admonishing him was petty and juvenile.
Some will say Tomlin wasn't a good winner. He didn't make eye contact, he didn't acknowledge Harbaugh's initial words and he ran away from the handshake. All true and all nonsense. Perfunctory exchanges make not sportsmanship. Why does Tomlin need to act like Harbaugh's "good game" was a heartfelt expression from a defeated gladiator? It's phony. It's meaningless. You may not believe that. Regardless, can you deny Harbaugh was more of a bad loser than Tomlin was a bad winner?
If you were watching the game on CBS, you would have missed the awkward moment. The network was showing a long embrace between 37-year-old quarterback Charlie Batch and injured starter Ben Roethlisberger. Only the briefest flicker of the handshake was aired live.
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