Why did the Chiefs put this up for a vote?
What the hell is this all about?
No long locks? NFL is splitting hairs
March 27, 2008
The NFL's Samsons might soon need to go to Fantastic Sams -- that is if the NFL competition committee gets its way with its follicle-fueled folly and successfully passes a move banning players from sporting long hairstyles that spill onto their jersey backs.
Thank you, Kansas City Chiefs, for unnecessarily bringing this issue to the table and setting it up for a majority vote by the league's owners later this offseason. So we know the Bucs' Ronde Barber, despite his last name, won't need to go for a trim, but this just might mean fellow defensive backs Troy Polamalu of the Steelers and Al Harris of the Packers might need to find a pair of scissors.
I guess making sure that venerable Tom Petty didn't play songs that had "Let's get to the point, let's roll another joint" and "Last dance with Mary Jane" as prominent lyrics at the Super Bowl isn't enough policing for a couple months. Now, the NFL is about to do his best Mr. Burns impression toward the league's Don Mattinglys: "Shave, hippies."
How many average NFL fans quickly can spot Polamalu and Harris in game action because of their respective flowing manes? That's right, everyone. Polamalu and Harris, for a small sampling, are both talented at their respective strong safety and cornerback positions, but the key to their true identities as NFL individuals stem from their locks. Besides, having long, spillover hair is only a detriment to those tress-blessed players themselves, because the rules state the hair is fair game when an opponent is trying to make a tackle.
If the NFL is going for uniformity, well, it's something we already have in the uniforms. I have no problems with players tucking in to look their Sunday best. But why mess with the hair? It's just tugging at an issue that doesn't mean much in the big picture.
Polamalu is a man of faith and plays hard for his team every week. He is one of the NFL's model citizens, both on and off the field. Yet, someone out there, maybe someone with the Chiefs who remembers Polamalu plastering Kansas City's offense on one rough AFC afternoon, is going to great lengths to get the Steelers' safety to go to Great Clips.
Aren't there more important issues? Say, inconsistent officiating on pass interference? The rapidly rising cost of ticket prices keeping the NFL from remaining a "family game"? How about the dangerous binge drinking that goes on right outside of NFL stadiums? Or the medical needs of long-retired players?
The NFL isn't an office. It's a field of entertainment. The players are its rock stars, and last I checked rock stars don't need to check in at a particular hair length just to play their gigs.
I'm not sure how many NFL owners are balding, but I don't think they will give the Larry Longhairs any sympathy and surely will pass this measure. The winners in this? The high-priced salons in NFL cities looking for new celebrity customers.
I hope, however, that this hair-length measure doesn't pass, and in the future, league officials stop such issues from ever getting on the agenda. There are bigger issues in the NFL than the players' pates.
Vinnie Iyer is a staff writer for Sporting News. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.