According to Sam Farmer of the Los Angeles Times, 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh placed a laminated photo of each of his players from back in high school and what they were nationally ranked as football players.
Coach Jim Harbaugh had a laminated sheet made for each player during wild-card weekend, which the 49ers had off, then surprised the players with them when they reentered the locker room after a meeting.
The scene was like the day high school yearbooks are distributed, with players going from locker to locker, checking out what their teammates looked like as kids, comparing notes on who had a higher national player ranking, or who was ranked higher in his particular state.
“Coach really wants us to tap into what we wanted to be at that time,” said safety Donte Whitner, whose team plays at Atlanta on Sunday in the NFC championship game. “When you look at this picture, it’s like, ‘At this moment, what did I want to be?’ We all look at this and we understand what we wanted to be, and where we are now.”
There has been endless ribbing over some of the photos and rankings. For instance, receiver Randy Moss’ locker is next to that of long snapper Brian Jennings. Whereas Moss was ranked No. 1 in every category as the nation’s top high school recruit, Jennings, in his 13th season, was unranked both nationally and in his state (Arizona).
I love what Harbaugh did. He’s trying to keep his guys loose as they get ready to play one of the biggest games of their lives.