If you're wondering what kind of inspirational oration the San Francisco 49ers might hear from Coach Jim Harbaugh during Sunday's Super Bowl, an old episode of "Saved by the Bell" may offer some clues.
In 1996, Harbaugh was coming off the best season of his career. Though he was only 7-5 as the Colts' starting QB that season, he led the league in passer rating, besting the likes of Brett Favre, Troy Aikman, Steve Young and Dan Marino, and was named to the Pro Bowl.
But perhaps the greatest honor conferred upon Harbaugh was a guest appearance as himself on "Saved by the Bell: The New Class." Watching the clip, one is awed by Harbaugh's perfect hair, the blazer over the mock turtleneck and the razor-sharp writing.
In it, Harbaugh is Screech's cousin, stopping by for lunch and to give Screech's friend Eric a pep talk and, ultimately, some help with a school project.
"Screech, is that you? I didn’t recognize you under all those muscles," Harbaugh says in greeting his cousin, eliciting a roar of laugh track.
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Eric and his friends were supposed to do a project for Mr. Dewey about what it means to be a hero, but because of Eric, all three of them are facing an F. However, Harbaugh steps in at the 11th hour to explain to their class what heroism really is:
"Being a hero isn’t about what you do out there on the field. It's about who you are--in here," Harbaugh explained as he put his hand over his heart. "It's about helping your friends, your school and your community."
As luck would have, the teacher, Mr. Dewey, is an Indianapolis native, and Harbaugh is his hero. Dewey is so impressed with Harbaugh's speech he gives all the kids an A. It's a chain of events driven by a demented sense of morality, offering an utterly indecipherable lesson about who knows what.
Jim also had a cameo on the HBO series "Arli$$," and appeared alongside fellow NFL stars Terry Bradshaw, Carl Banks and Ken Norton Jr. in an episode of "The Adventures of Brisco County." Harbaugh's brother John, coach of the Baltimore Ravens, has never had an acting career.
The next time someone tries to tell you how terrible TV has gotten, let Harbaugh's "Saved by the Bell" appearance stand as a reminder of how far the medium has come.