John Harbaugh paid Bill Belichick the ultimate compliment heading into Monday night’s showdown between the Baltimore Ravens and New England Patriots.
Harbaugh calls Belichick the “greatest coach of this generation,” according to Jamison Hensley of ESPN — a statement that most would find difficult to refute.
This is interesting because Harbaugh’s Ravens reportedly had something to do with getting Tom Brady, Belichick and the Pats into hot water by tipping the Indianapolis Colts off to the information that started the Deflategate scandal. Additionally, after the Patriots beat the Ravens in the 2014 playoffs, and angry Harbaugh accused Belichick of using “illegal” and “deceptive” formations,
Despite their less than smooth dealings on these counts, Harbaugh says he has a “good relationship” with Belichick.
“We’re probably not socializing that much, but I don’t know how many coaches really do,” Harbaugh said. “We’re all so busy. I’ll see him or any coach at the combine or at the owners meetings, and we have a chance to talk. It’s always good. I have a ton of respect for him. I really like him as a person.”
Harbaugh also said he got his current gig with the Ravens thanks in part to a phone call Belichick made to team owner Steve Bisciotti at 3 a.m. to recommend Harbaugh for the job, per Hensley.
The two coaches have clashed on opposite sidelines eight times, including four playoff battles. Not surprisingly, Belichick’s Pats have won five of the eight, but more often than not the games are extremely tight.
If Harbaugh’s Ravens can win on Monday night, it would put them into the No. 3 seed in the AFC Playoff chase, knock New England down to No. 2, among other things.
How big is tonight?
A Ravens win would change 4 of 6 AFC playoff slots.
IF Baltimore wins:
— Andrew Siciliano (@AndrewSiciliano) December 12, 2016
On the flip side, a win for the Patriots would keep them atop the AFC as the No. 1 seed, while the Ravens would be on the outside looking in.
We can’t wait for these two coaches to lead their teams on Monday Night Football. Based on their history, it should be a fantastic game.