The stories of the football influences on Jim Harbaugh were well told and often during the weeks leading up to the Super Bowl. But perhaps the biggest impact on his NFL Scouting Combine preparation isn’t Bo Schembechler or Jack Harbaugh, but Judge Judy.
While discussing the need for draft prospects to be forthcoming during interviews, Harbaugh admitted being a fan of the syndicated television jurist.
Because of course he did.
“Somebody that’s not truthful, that’s big, to me,” the 49ers coach said. “I’m a big fan of the Judge Judy show. And when you lie in Judge Judy’s courtroom, it’s over. Your credibility is completely lost. You have no chance of winning that case. So I learned that from her.
“It’s very powerful, and true. Because if somebody does lie to you, how can you ever trust anything they ever say after that? Ronald Reagan, another person of great wisdom and advice, ‘Trust but we will verify.’ “
Of course, the discussion of trust centers on tomorrow’s arrival of Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o, of the fake dead girlfriend fame.
But when Harbaugh was asked if the trust factor made Te’o undraftable, he replied: “No. I wouldn’t say that.”
That’s why even though the interview Te’o does with the assembled media tomorrow will draw plenty of eyeballs, the meetings he holds with teams this week will carry more weight.
“I think there’s certainly a part of being with somebody for a half an hour or 15-minutes or an hour or two that you can know somebody,” Harbaugh said. “Some people have that ability to have a 30-minute conversation with them and you walk away thinking you really know that person. Others, you can’t.
“You have to validate a meeting with a person or two or three conversations with their track record, their relationships with other people at their school, their teammates, their trainers, equipment managers, teachers, professors, their family. People usually leave a track record of success or failure or success and failure.”
Or in the case of Judge Judy, 17 years of television fame, and the admiration of a professional football coach.