The NFL's All-Hair Team
NFL players are capitalizing on their flowing locks. Clay Matthews and Troy Polamalu each have shampoo deals. Steven Jackson's hair alteration to his trademark dreadlocks prompted a blog post by a veteran NFL beat writer.
I cover the St. Louis Rams for CBSSports.com and Jackson's hair isn't the only one seen coming out of the backs of helmets during Rams practice.
During training camp, I had this idea of creating the NFL All-Hair team and many Rams are represented. Putting together the rest of the team was an effort.
Quarterback: Tom Brady, New England Patriots
When Blaine Gabbert showed up at the NFL Combine in February with long hair, people instantly began making the comparisons to Brady and his famous flowing locks.
Brady's hair has reached celebrity status all by itself. It does help that the man is the owner of three Super Bowl rings and has a super model wife.
Running Back: Steven Jackson, St. Louis Rams
Few players in the NFL pull off the long hair look better than Jackson. It'd be weird to even try to imagine "Action" Jackson with short hair.
The three-time Pro Bowler also plays with a fierce tenacity that sort of represents the personality of a tattooed, long-haired tough guy.
When the Rams signed Jerious Norwood this summer, they added a backup running back whose hair rivaled Jackson's.
Jackson's hair is so famous, it even prompted one NFL announcer to say that, because Tim Hightower is now wearing No. 39 for the Redskins and has grown out his hair, it's the "Steven Jackson rule. If you wear 39 and play running back, you must have long hair."
Running Back: Chris Johnson, Tennessee Titans
CJ2K's hair doesn't look as well as Steven Jackson's, but it is definitely part of Johnson's persona.
The fastest player in the NFL, and the league's most dynamic tailback, Johnson has plenty of defensive players staring at his dreads as they bounce around out of the back of his helmet.
Wide Receiver: Roddy White, Atlanta Falcons
White and newcomer Julio Jones maybe give the Falcons the best hair tandem at wideout in the NFL.
If Jones can come close to matching what White did on the field last year, it could be a special year for the Falcons, regardless of hair.
Wide Receiver: Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona Cardinals
The $120 million man still has his trademark braids.
Aside from being one of the NFL's best receivers—and now highest paid—Fitzgerald is another one of those players it'd be hard to imagine with short hair.
Offensive Line: Bell, Kemoeatu, Gallery
Initially I could only come up with three offensive linemen, so thanks for the suggestions.
St. Louis' Jacob Bell (pictured) has seen his hair get longer with each season.
Robert Gallery may have been a bust in Oakland, but he took his big head of hair to Seattle.
Troy Polamalu may be the most famous Pittsburgh Steeler with awesome hair, but let's not forget the Steel City's Tongan offensive guard, Chris Kemoeatu.
Two more players round out a quintet of offensive linemen with awesome hair.
Offensive Line: Iupati, Light
Thanks for the suggestions of San Francisco's Mike Iupati (pictured) and Matt Light of New England.
Both are very good additions and round out the offensive line.
Return Specialist: Josh Cribbs, Cleveland Browns
Cribbs is one of the best kick returners in the NFL and has a nice full head of hair that can be seen flowing out of his helmet. Thanks for the suggestion.
Devin Hester can get some love, but Cribbs' locks are just better. Plus I dislike the Bears.
Placekicker: Dan Carpenter, Miami Dolphins
Thanks for the suggestion of Carpenter. Not only does he have a nicely trimmed goatee, he does have the Brady-type hair that was mentioned.
Punter: Pat McAfee, Indianapolis Colts
Long Snapper: Jake Ingram, Jacksonville Jaguars
Although his hair is pulled back into a ponytail in his NFL mugshot, one thing to remember is that HIS HAIR IS PULLED BACK INTO A PONYTAIL.
That means we have our long snapper as Ingram, who was originally drafted by the Patriots—the only long snapper selected in the 2009 draft. He signed with Jacksonville in August.
Defensive Line: Tyson Alualu, Jacksonville Jaguars
He may be one of the "big uglies" on Jacksonville's defensive line, but the former first-round pick also has the best hair on the team. He's not a bad player either.
There will be a definite Samoan theme with the defensive all-hair squad.
Defensive Line: Domata Peko, Cincinnati Bengals
There is only one word to describe Peko's hair—awesome.
He's got it all: super long hair that goes beyond the middle of his back, a big bushy beard and a brand new long-term contract for a guy who has started every game for the Bengals two of the last three years.
Defensive Line: Brett Keisel, Pittsburgh Steelers
Yes, facial hair counts and Keisel's beard last year developed a personality of its own during Pittsburgh's march to the Super Bowl.
Keisel is a heck of a player, but his best moment last season may have been when he added a Troy Polamalu wig to his already impressive Grizzly Adams look.
Defensive Line: Paul Soliai, Miami Dolphins
Another great suggestion as the defense goes from a 3-4 to a 4-4 scheme.
Soliai's combination of long hair and awesome beard make him a perfect choice for this team.
Linebacker: Clay Matthews, Green Bay Packers
Not only is Matthews the NFL's best linebacker, he also owns one of the league's best heads of hair.
Entering only his third season, the former USC star and third generation NFL player has parlayed his blond locks into a hair deal with Suave (to go with last season's Super Bowl championship).
He also lets his hair down in a new Dick's Sporting Goods commercial.
Linebacker: Rey Maualuga, Cincinnati Bengals
Linebacker: AJ Hawk, Green Bay Packers
Matthews' Green Bay teammate doesn't have quite the pretty head of hair of Matthews, but Hawk's blond locks still count.
Hawk, the No. 5 overall pick in 2006, shook off a slow start to his career by having an outstanding year last season to help the Packers win the Super Bowl.
Linebacker: Philip Wheeler, Indianapolis Colts
Wheeler's hair fits right in with the length of Matthews and Maualuga. Entering his fourth year with the Colts, Wheeler has played in all 48 games of the three previous seasons.
Cornerback: Al Harris, St. Louis Rams
When Harris and Mike McKenzie were Green Bay's two starting cornerbacks, they not only comprised one of the league's best tandems on the outside, but they also had the best hair of any duo in the league.
Harris' hair has been the inspiration for some current players who watched the 14-year veteran in his younger days.
Now with the Rams, Harris is again teaching young players and still donning the long braids that fall to the middle of his back.
Defensive Back: Louis Delmas, Detroit Lions
One of the players who said he looked up to Al Harris as a youngster is Delmas.
The third-year player found success on the field quickly as a rookie and has developed into one of the league's top ball-hawks.
Lions fan can be glad Delmas, and his long hair, was inspired to play football while watching Harris and the Packers.
Safety: Atari Bigby, Seattle Seahawks
Another former Packer makes the list. Bigby was sent packing by Green Bay this summer and the Seahawks quickly snatched him up.
Not sure if Harris influenced Bigby's hair decision, but we can thank his parents for giving him one of the coolest first names of any player to ever don an NFL uniform.
Safety: Troy Polamalu, Pittsburgh Steelers
Saving the best for last.
Is there any player in the NFL whose hair is more famous? While Polamalu is seemingly everywhere on the field making plays for the Pittsburgh defense, his Head & Shoulders commercials are ubiquitous and have even spawned a baseball spinoff version with the Minnesota Twins' Joe Mauer.
No NFL All-Hair team could be complete without Polamalu, the captain of the squad.