OWINGS. MILLS, Md. — Familiarity breeds ... respect.
John Harbaugh and Mike Tomlin will meet for the 30th time when the Pittsburgh Steelers host the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday.
It's only the third time in the history of the league that a pair of coaches have competed against one another that many times, joining the Packers "Curley" Lambeau and the Bears' George Halas and the Giants Steve Owen and Lambeau, according to Steelers.com.
Harbaugh has gone 14-15, including the playoffs, against Tomlin and is 7-9 at Heinz Field.
“We have a great relationship," Harbaugh said. "I have a lot of respect for [Pittsburgh Steelers head coach] Coach [Mike] Tomlin and for the whole organization over there. I have other friends in the organization over there. Their players, everything about the Steelers you have to respect. I always was an admirer of [former Steelers head coach] Chuck Noll.
"I went back and used to … I still study a lot of the things that he said. Yes, Coach Tomlin and I get along really well, I feel like. We’re certainly rivals, because the Ravens and the Steelers are rivals. So, we’re going to be rivals, and each of us are going to do everything we can to help our team win.”
The Steelers swept the Ravens last season after being swept in 2019.
This year, the Ravens (8-3) are in first place in the AFC North and the Steelers are last (5-5-1).
Even when one of the teams is struggling, it's still a special rivalry.
“I just think how the games unfold and the significance of the games over the years make it what it is and has been," Tomlin said. I don’t think that that is reduced at all by what’s going on around us. I think it’s about the positioning of the two teams involved, what they’re willing to do in pursuit of victory, the intensity of the games and just how close the games have been over the years.”