The majority of NFL players craft a look and style for themselves that is unassuming, clean-cut, and fairly professional. In their time off the field they don suits, nice shoes, and keep themselves well-groomed. Perhaps one of the most noticeable parts of an athlete’s look is his hair. Yes, while they’re playing, their hair is covered by their helmet for the majority of the time. However, when the helmets come off, an athlete’s hair is there contributing to his look both on the field and off the field.
Well-groomed hair doesn’t mean the same thing for every athlete, and there is some room for playing around with your personal style. Many athletes go for close-cropped styles, like all-American blonde bruiser J.J. Watt, while others show a little more flair, such as Richard Sherman’s neat and impeccably styled dreadlocks. Long or short, straight or curly, dreadlocks or flowing locks – the options are endless.
Yet somehow, there continues to be athlete after athlete who takes it a bit further, appearing with a hairstyle or haircut that’s just plain weird. The fact that so many NFL players have unusual hairstyles or haircuts is understandable. After all, athletes spend a lot of time in the same few outfits – game attire (uniforms), training attire (athletic gear), and professional pre or post game attire (suits, etc). Athletes may view their hair as one of the places they can stand out in a sea of team mates wearing similar clothing. The athletes on this list have landed upon hairstyles that stand out – however, it’s generally for the wrong reason.
Whether they wanted to express their creativity through shaving intricate designs and using vibrant colours, simply got an unfortunate cut from their hairdresser or their team mates during a rookie hazing, or just want to cultivate a look that stands out to the extreme, here are 15 of the weirdest NFL hairstyles.
Tom Brady has had almost as many hairstyles as he has touchdowns. The super stylish New England Patriots quarterback enjoys changing his look up, and does so very often. While some hairstyles work better than others for him, there’s one in particular that stands out – the Bieber. Bieber himself even commented on the similarity, rapping about Brady’s hairstyle (badly, obviously) in a song. A hot supermodel for a wife, an insane career, and model good looks… Brady could do a lot better than that cringe-worthy swooping hairstyle, and luckily he quickly moved on to another look.
For Cincinnati Bengals defensive tackle Domata Peko, it’s all about volume. While his hair is certainly long, it seems to positively defy gravity and surround him with a halo of hair. Even his helmet can’t contain it, as it leaves him with an impressive bunch of hair streaming out behind him when he’s on the field. Lately he’s been letting the beard grow out too – his hair to man ratio is slowly slipping in favor of the former. If caveman chic was a thing, Peko would be the spokesman.
Smith has had several hairstyles throughout his NFL career, but his most memorable originated in 2013 when he decided to adopt the Jheri curl. While he didn’t grow his hair as long as some others in the NFL, what he did grow somehow managed to grow straight up. Smith’s hairstyle looks as if he’s walking around with a cloud on his head. While he’s recently gotten hit with a heavy dose of reality as he faces a nine game suspension in the current season, at least his hairstyle will provide something soft to rest his head on during his down time.
Tracy Porter likes to shave designs into his hair. Numbers, pictures, team logos, you name it. While you have to admire the precision with which he executes his designs (or gets his barber to), the Pacman design he selected once can’t be considered anything but silly. Who knows, maybe he’s a die-hard fan of the iconic video game, but even so, shaving the shapes of the little ghosts into your actual head is taking devotion to a whole new level.
Vakapuna rocked a hairstyle so strange that there isn’t even a name for it. Everyone knows and loves to hate the mullet, a style characterized by its ‘business in the front, party in the back’ contrast. Vakapuna took it to a whole new level, going long in the back and bald in the front. He might train hard to up his speed, but can he catch his hair before it slithers right off his head?
If you google ‘Mark Sanchez hairband,’ it becomes clear that Sanchez rocked this particular style for an uncomfortably long amount of time, as it features in countless photos. While the desire to keep your long curly hair out of your face is understandable, a headband style favoured by young girls is a strange accessory for an NFL player to wear, let alone commit so thoroughly to. Mark, stop trying to make the headband happen. It’s not going to happen.
Even if you don’t know football, you likely know Troy Polamalu because of his hair alone. When fairly tamed, his hair is a giant yield sign shaped mass of hair around his head. When allowed to fly loose? It reaches proportions that no hair should ever be able to reach, and looks like it’s capable of swallowing Polamalu whole. While it may take a lot of arm strength to wash his yards and yards of black curly locks, Polamalu is laughing all the way to the bank. Thanks to his crazy hair, he’s signed a deal to endorse Head & Shoulders shampoo, and has had his hair insured for a whopping one million dollars by Lloyd’s of London.
Retired linebacker Brian Bosworth is nicknamed “The Boz” and if that doesn’t indicate a player who has an abundance of personality, I don’t know what does. Bosworth is notorious for his crazy hairstyles. He’s had everything from a platinum blonde Mohawk to a flat top mullet, a side-shaved mullet to loose feathery locks. If one thing is for certain it’s that Bosworth definitely isn’t shy – he seems to subscribe to the ‘go big or go home’ style of haircare.
Rodgers-Cromartie’s hair isn’t really that crazy, but he seems to enjoy using his head as a human paint palette. His signature style is a stripe of vibrant color down the center of his closely cropped hair. He’s gone bright red, neon green, and even deep teal blue for the New York Giants – who knows what colours await NFL fans.
Everyone knows the Randy Moss afro. The Randy Moss afro is iconic and insane. The retired wide receiver is amazing at what he does, and his afro was equally amazing at defying gravity. Moss favoured neat corn rows for the majority of his career, but let his hair breathe and all hang out during the afro period. Who knew a helmet could contain all that.
Zach Hocker’s average hairstyle is as clean cut and as all-American as you can get. During his time as a rookie, however, his hair underwent a dramatic transformation as his veteran team mates selected a truly strange hairstyle for him. Hock sported a hairband in the most literal sense (don’t get too excited, Mark Sanchez, headbands are still not becoming a thing). All of his hair was shaved off with the exception of a band going straight across his head. Probably not a look that will become popular.
Remember the ever-present frosted tips that dominated men’s hairstyles in the 1990s? Well, apparently Anthony Dixon does, and he’s trying to bring them back. Dixon favours short dreadlocks as his hairstyle of choice, but manages to add a little pizzazz and personality by frosting the tips. It’s a strange look indeed.
Tiquan Underwood’s hair adds three whole inches to his height – that’s big hair. His hi-top fade started as somewhat of a joke, but Underwood grew to love it and transformed it into his signature look. He expresses himself through his hair as well and at one point, to show his Patriots pride during his tumultuous time with the team (during which he was once cut the very night before the Super Bowl), he shaved the New England Patriots logo into the back of his hair.
Antonio Garay must have missed his calling as an artist, because the things he has done with his hair are mind-boggling. Garay was well known for his crazy hairstyles. He has shaved everything from stars to abstract geometric shapes to logos to cityscapes onto the back of his head. And he’s not content to merely have a dull two-tone canvas – he accentuates his designs by dyeing different elements. Pink, purple, orange, blue, yellow, green – you could name any colour of the rainbow and chances are it’s been on Garay’s scalp at least once.
While some may argue that a rookie hazing hairstyle doesn’t necessarily count, as the player didn’t select it for himself… no list of weird NFL hairstyles is complete without Tim Tebow’s epic friar tuck cut. Courtesy of his Broncos team mates when he was a rookie, the hairstyle was posted to LenDale White’s twitter and has since been shared over and over again. It’ll be held up in NFL history as other veterans can only hope they can dream up a hazing hairstyle that even somewhat compares to this gem.