- Jamison Hensley, ESPN Staff Writer
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If you watched the tense handshake exchange between the Steelers' Mike Tomlin and the Ravens' John Harbaugh, you know they didn't say much. But both coaches said basically the same thing when asked about the awkward moment: There are no hard feelings.
The postgame incident generated some buzz because it looked like Tomlin rushed the handshake and Harbaugh appeared upset by it. Tomlin said there was "nothing really unusual" about the exchange other than the fact that he was in a hurry.
"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," Tomlin told reporters Tuesday. "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."
Harbaugh said Monday that he felt fine about the handshake and "there was nothing uncomfortable at all" about it.
For me, it doesn't really matter that the coaches like each other. This is the most intense rivalry in the NFL. The players don't particularly like one another based on the hits. It would make sense if there were some hard feelings between the coaches. Harbaugh didn't endear himself to Tomlin in the 2011 season opener, when the Ravens ran that fake on an extra point despite leading by 20 points at the time.
Of course, all eyes will be on Harbaugh and Tomlin the next time they shake hands. That could come in January. If the season ended today, the Steelers would play at Baltimore in the first round of the playoffs.