Pittsburgh linebacker James Harrison is a straight shooter who rarely misses his target – either with his pads or his mouth.
So when he sat down with the Talk of Fame Network for this week’s broadcast, we asked him which quarterback … other than teammate Ben Roethlisberger, of course … he'd choose if he were assembling a pick-up team.
As expected, Harrison was quick with an answer. And, as expected, his answer was no surprise.
“I hate to say it,” said Harrison, who said it anyway, “but that damned Tom Brady.”
That figures. When it comes to Pittsburgh, the New England quarterback is a one-man demolition derby.
He's 10-2 in his career vs. the Steelers, with 29 touchdown passes and three interceptions. What’s more, he’s 3-0 against them in the playoffs – all conference championship games – and beat them in Pittsburgh’s last game of the 2016 season, a 36-17 rout where Brady was 32 of 42 for 384 yards, with three touchdowns and no interceptions.
But it gets better, people. Pittsburgh hasn’t intercepted Brady since 2005. He has seven straight games with passer ratings of 100 or better. He’s 6-1 vs. Mike Tomlin, with 22 touchdowns and zero interceptions. He’s been sacked 10 times in his last seven starts. And the Patriots averaged … averaged … 36.5 points in his last four starts vs. Pittsburgh, including a 55-31 beatdown in 2013.
Brady had a passer rating of 151.8 in that game, his best-ever against the Steelers.
Tom Terrific, indeed.
So what does Harrison like most about Brady? Just about everything, which is why he says he's the only quarterback other than Roethlisberger he'd like on his team. Given his numbers vs. the Steelers, it’s easy to see why.
“He has a great understanding of the game,” Harrison said. “He reads it. He sees it. He knows where the ball needs to go. And he does a good job of getting the ball out of his hands … he does a great job of getting the ball out of his hands. Like I said, if I can’t have Ben, that would be my only other choice.”