There’s no place like the gridiron when it comes to ol’-fashioned American grit, but there’s more than steely determination hidden under those helmets. We’re talking about the trend in facial hair flair that’s hit the league. Below, we’ve broken down exactly how the league gets groomed for gameday.
Three of the top five teams that know a thing or two about growing the perfect beard may have a practical purpose for their facial hair: The Northeast gets mighty chilly! However, it was a close race, with fewer than seven points separating the top five teams.
For some inexplicable reason, there are still a few guys who choose the clean shave. They’re in the minority though, with a solid 81% of all players showing the beard some sort of love.
If we didn’t know better, we might jump to the crazy (yet fully unsubstantiated and unauthorized) conclusion that linebackers with a clean shave defend the most passes, while their bearded counterparts sack the most quarterbacks. Just a thought. If we were the type to make such outlandish and unofficial claims that are not endorsed by any official football organization.
We like to think that neckbeards are really just full beards in hiding, but a solid 5% of the league seems to be wearing them with pride. Could this mark a comeback for the caveman look?
It’s a competitive league, and even in the case of beards there are winners and losers. Detroit holds absolutely nothing back, however, taking two of the six categories.
The best-looking beard style is certainly a matter of individual preference. But with a limited number of options available, what’s a player to do if he really wants to stand out? Accessorize that beard with a fresh haircut of course! This dramatically increases the number of different looks to a total of 42 unique combinations.
We analyzed the player profile picture of every professional football player on ESPN.com and categorized his beard and hairstyle. We assigned a value of zero to five depending on the type of hair and beard each player had to determine hairiness and “beardiness.” Adding these numbers allowed us to determine the overall hairiness of every pro football team.
Combining our hair and beard data with player and team statistics, we were able to evaluate the performance of players in relation to certain styles. We set up attempt limits based on players’ positions to rule out professionals who didn’t make much of a contribution to the stat sheet.
Feel free to share the images found on this page freely. When doing so, please attribute the authors by providing a link back to this page so your readers can learn more about this project and the methods involved.
A disclaimer: It’s easy to conclude that our facial hair findings may point to a real-world correlation between beards and player performance. However, this conclusion – despite its potentially groundbreaking implications for beard aficionados and football players alike – remains unsubstantiated and unauthorized. We doubt any professional football organization will be jumping to endorse our findings, but we hope it appreciates our thorough analysis.