Nowadays it’s not uncommon to turn on the ball game and see a player on the field with their hair poofing out of their helmet. Sometimes their flow is so strong that you can’t even make our their number, let alone the name on the back of their jersey. Football players with long hair are becoming more common than before, which brings up the issue of getting tackled by your hair.
We did extensive research and had to consult our hairstorians to compile what we think to be the greatest flow in NFL history. Our 10 inductees were judged on a multitude of criteria such as hairstyle, color, size, length, & thickness. After much thought and deliberation we give you NFL’s Top 10 Most Legendary Long Hairs of All Time:
Honorable Mention – Rob Ryan
Although not a player, Rob Ryan is definitely the coach with fiercest flow in the NFL. According to a 2014 Fox Sports article, Rob Ryan has been denied head coaching jobs because of his hair. An unnamed NFL executive even said, “If he wants to be a head coach, he has to cut his hair. It is about image for these guys. They want a CEO-type. That’s what they want.”
#10 Brock Hekking
Brock Hekking is known in the league for his signature flat top mullet. He personifies the legend and style of Brian “the Boz” Bosworth, with the exception that Brocks’ mane is way longer. This rookie linebacker signed with the San Diego Chargers in 2015. Even though he’s just a rookie, the fact that he probably holds the title for the craziest mullet in the NFL, made us include him in the list.
#9 Zak Keasey
Bumbaclot! Zak Keasey played as a full back & linebacker in the NFL from 2005-2010. Being a white dude with dreads, makes him very memorable. Don’t let the dreads fool you, interestingly this “Rasta” is an Ivy League school graduate from Princeton.
#8 Rashean Mathis
Cornerback Rashean Mathis is rumored to have the longest hair in the NFL. In a 2003 interview with Times Union he said the following,”I wash it once a week. If I washed it every day, it’d never lock up. And I wear a stocking under my helmet, and I sleep with a scarf on.” It sounds like he’s very particular with his mane.
#7 Charlie Whitehurst
Charlie Whitehurst AKA “Clipboard Jesus”. He got the nickname because Whitehurst obviously resembles that of a contemporary deception of Jesus. The clipboard part of his nickname is because he’s a backup QB and backup QB’s hold clipboards.
#6 Kevin Greene
Running-back Ricky Williams is debatably the first player in the NFL that spurred the trend of long dreadlocks back in 1997. Others claim Mike McKenzie or Al Harris were the first in the league, so unless you can provide any information that claims otherwise, we’re going with Ricky Williams. He also has a rule named after him, the “Ricky Rule”. The rule was enacted back in 2003 that declared that long hair is part of the uniform, making it legal to tackle someone by their locks.
Green Bay Packers Linebacker Chris Matthews is about the closest thing to a mythological norse god. His good looks and image of being a rebellious long haired has landed him many endorsements. He always keeps a clean shave and is featured on a couple different Gillette shaving commercials. Wet hair don’t care! Like the picture above Matthews often wets his hair and flips it around during a game.
#3 Domata Peko
Domata Peko probably holds the title for the frizziest follicles in the NFL. His name has become synonymous with his mane. There’s even a Facebook page dedicated to his hair, which has over 1,400+ followers and likes. Even though he plays for the Bengals, he would make a great mascot for the Detroit Lions.
#2 Randy Moss
Randy Moss is a legendary receiver who has been around the league for roughly 15 years. Moss has definitely earned the title of the dopest afro. This future hall-of-famer is also known for rockin’ braids/cornrows.
#1 Vince Papale (…just kidding)
Marky Mark played the role of Vince Papale in the 2006 movie, Invincible. If you haven’t seen it check it out, it’s a pretty good flick if you’re into football movies.
Troy Polamalu reigns in at our number one most legendary football player with long hair. According to reports, his hair alone has earned him well over millions of dollars in endorsements from companies such as Head & Shoulders. His mane was even rumored to be insured for $1 million. The image of Polamalu above is one of his most popular commercials he did with Head and Shoulders. The wig he’s wearing is to accentuate his mane (which isn’t too far off from the picture).
Is hair tackling illegal?
One problem that occurs with long hair, is the issue of tackling your opponent by their hair? Isn’t it illegal? Well, the answer is no. Getting tackled by your hair is legal, but sort of frowned upon, kind of like taking more than one sample at the grocery store. According to the league, hair sticking out of the helmet is part of their uniform, so tackling them by their hair is fair game. It’s actually called the Ricky Rule, named after RB Ricky Williams. There’re even been instances where guys have had their locks pulled out. OUCH!
Interestingly enough the majority of long hairs are defensive players. It’s no wonder you don’t see too many running running-backs with long flow, with the exception of Ricky Williams, Isaiah Crowell, and DeAngelo Williams. At this position, you might see short dreads at longest.
Back in 2008 a proposal to encourage the NFL and team owners to ban long hair picked up a lot of new and media traction, but luckily nothing ever came out of it.
To see more, see our pictures of long haired football players page.