The Fashionista Girl: The Mane Men of the NFL

Statement hair has distinctly increased in popularity this year, with many key players sporting locks below the shoulders. Whether the length is due to a Samson complex, superstition, or just plain laziness, some players are wearing it better than others.

Below are some of the NFL’s most dominant longhairs.

Chris Johnson – Tennessee Titans, Running Back

I love Johnson’s dreadlocks. In fact, I’ve always loved dreadlocks in general. They have a great natural beauty going on that braids don’t tend to pull off.

Chris Johnson is flying high having gained the top spot for leading NFL rusher and surpassing Adrian Peterson.

Laurence Maroney – New England Patriots, Running Back

There was a brief buzz over hair after Steelers’ Troy Polamalu was tackled by his mane in 2006. Ultimately the NFL didn’t issue a penalty for a hair-based tackle. Longtime wearer of dreadlocks, Laurence Maroney, commented that he utilizes the stiff arm to keep defenders off his locks.

Maroney, joyous, thinking about the money he saved on salon visits. He hasn’t seen a barber since high school.

Joseph Addai – Indianapolis Colts, Running Back

I’m pretty sure Addai has always been relatively conservative with the length of his hair, opting for shoulder-length or shorter cuts. Like “the lob” for career women, dreads grazing the shoulder convey a less ostentatious confidence.

Stylish yet professional, Addai wears his dreads shoulder-length, max.

Randy Moss – New England Patriots, Receiver

Randy Moss provides a great example of the use of braids. Stylistically braids offer more versatility than dreads, and they’re also edgier. They can be worn with or without cornrows, accessorized, or in patterns. Honestly I’m not a huge fan of cornrows because most of the time they’re not that flattering. Keeping it simple is key to pulling off the look, as Moss does here – from the front.  What on earth is going on from the back and side views, on the other hand, is generating a well of anxiety that Moss is sporting some kind of urban mullet.

Here’s hoping for a mere get-together in the back (see Jared Allen, below).

Jeremy Shockey – New Orleans Saints, Tight End

Oh Jeremy, where to start.

Because Jeremy’s a natural blonde, I can understand the temptation to indulge in the fruits of those recessive genes, but the number one rule of long hair is keeping it healthy.  Regular trims and conditioning treatments usually do the trick. I know Jeremy’s been doing great with the Saints, which hasn’t been too shabby as a team either.  But to be honest, I miss the high and tight coif of yore. I miss it so much, I can’t even get into the wife-beater issue or his random harsh-tweet against Lebron James. There’s a lot of acting out going on here. An intervention may be needed.

Jeremy Shockey at Senor Frogs getting totally blitzed, brah.

Jared Allen – Minnesota Vikings, Defensive End

Good god I hate the resurgence of eighties fashion – prom dresses disguised as cocktail dresses, tapered pants (a.k.a., the skinny jean) exacerbating pear shapes, and now this, Jared Allen and his freaking mullet. The photo below was the best shot I could find of it, and it’s only gotten longer, or I guess you could say the party is just rocking harder.

I would have liked to report that Jared Allen’s mullet is hipster po-mo, a tongue-in-cheek nod to contemporary fashion as interpreted by a gridiron thug, the archetypal nemesis of hipsters. It would have been a style triumph! As it stands, Allen decided on the look as a result of a mullet-growing competition with his financial advisor, with each stripe representing a sack. Grade lowered from A to B, with points deducted for successive inches of “party” grown.

All business in front, party in the back.

Green Bay Packers, Most of the Defense

The strangely large number, ten according to the WSJ, of long haired players on the Packers defense must be due to the cold. Or maybe it’s just a catching trend on the team. Props to the players for sporting a variety of styles.

Al Harris letting his hair down

And of course…

Troy Polamalu – Pittsburg Steelers, Safety

One of the most recognizable players in the NFL, Polamalu has been the poster child for audacious tresses for obvious reasons. On the field, Polamalu’s lively curls enhance his agility and speed and complement his existing charisma rather than making it. He even landed the role of spokesperson for Head & Shoulders. It’s almost enough to believe in the Samoan connection between hair length and strength. Well, almost… he’s currently out due to a knee injury. Good thing he has modeling to fall back on.

A potential contender for America’s Next Top Model, Troy Polamalu heeds Tyra’s advice by emanating energy through every strand.