Best Beards in the NFL

best beards in the nfl

Beards have been a mainstay for men since the beginning of time. Their influence can be seen (and felt) every day. Whether you have just a goatee, a full beard, or prefer clean shaven, the beard defines the man. Always has.

Comedian Minnie Pearl once said,

“Kissing a man with a beard is a lot like going to a picnic. You don’t mind going through a little bush to get there!”

French poet Jean Cocteau commented,

“There is always a period when a man with a beard shaves it off. This period does not last. He returns headlong to his beard.”

 But it took Rick Ross to put it best:

“For anybody that grows a beard or have hair on their face, I welcome you to the beard game. We’re all family.”

Beard culture has become a sports phenomenon. From James Harden to Brian Wilson, beards have taken on their own personas at times. Even the NFL has been infiltrated by this phenomenon. Beards in the NFL have gone from something lazy men wear to a fashion statement. The best beards can take their owners from regular players to superstars or even cult heroes.

Who has the best beards in the NFL? Read on to find out! Like everything else in football, we’ll start with the quarterbacks.

Ryan Fitzpatrick, QB, Washington

Ryan Fitzpatrick

Beards give the impression of a vagabond, a drifter, a journeyman. How fitting that one of the best beards in the NFL belongs to one of its most notable journeymen!

Fitzmagic started for his ninth different team this past weekend, but quickly left with an injury. Maybe the beard grew too heavy! Still, he’s proven he can be a functional placeholder quarterback for a team lacking options. The former Ivy League QB is the current record holder for most passing yards and most touchdown passes by a quarterback that has never reached the postseason; a bit of a dubious moniker, but one he’ll likely hold for a long time.

Still, the beard has a magic all its own. Perhaps its healing powers will allow the vagabond to return sooner rather than later. Though if Taylor Heinicke keeps playing like he did against the Giants, Fitzmagic might be out of a job. I expect the beard will get another gig next season, though.

Baker Mayfield, QB, Browns

BAKER MAYFIELD

The former Sooner and #1 overall pick has taken the Browns from perennial bottom dwellers to a Super Bowl contender. Now, we can’t say it was all the beard’s doing, but we can’t say it wasn’t. Strangely enough, the beard was missing from the plethora of Baker Mayfield commercials shown over the weekend. (I bet he got more screen time on commercials than against the Chiefs!) Maybe that’s why he couldn’t get the ball all the way out of bounds on his throwaway. I bet with a little more beard, he succeeds.

The first of a soon-to-be FOUR Sooner QBs starting in the NFL, Baker is a player you just can’t help but cheer. He’s such an everyman. 6’0, 215, willing a perennial underdog to victory most weeks; his story has a Rudy-like element to it. But what really sells it is the beard. Maybe it’ll be a Super Bowl beard soon.

 

Odell Beckham Jr., WR, Browns

odell beckham jrOBJ and seemingly lifetime teammate Jarvis Landry both rock the chin scarf, but Odell’s is superior. The LSU product clearly has been influenced by the Beard himself, Mr. James Harden, but has added things like blond-bordering-on-white hair dye and epic curls at times.

We still haven’t seen OBJ since October 25, 2020, when he tore his ACL against the Bengals, and won’t see him again until at least September 26 against the Bears. The Browns seemed to get along without him fairly well against Kansas City, but the thought of a healthy OBJ in that offense gets my fan blood pumping.

The hair color is gone, as are the curls, which gives the impression OBJ is taking his recovery and his career very seriously. A return to the field with more focus and a growing motive to prove himself makes OBJ still one of the most intriguing stories of the 2021 season.

 

 

 

 

Keenan Allen, WR, Chargers

KEENAN ALLEN

A favorite target of both Philip Rivers and wonderkid Justin Herbert, Allen’s beard is intimidating. It’s little wonder he does so well; that beard practically guarantees separation from all but the most fearless of cornerbacks. The Cal product has been rocking southern California ever since being drafted in 2013, and the beard has grown right along with him. Even the vaunted Washington defense had troubles handling him in week 1, as Allen managed 100 yards on 9 receptions while managing to make it feel like just another day at the office.

The beard can only grow, and so will Allen’s rapport with Justin Herbert. It’s hard to imagine his streak of four consecutive Pro Bowls will be in any sort of jeopardy this year. I’ll even take it a step further and say Allen sets career highs in catches, yards, and TDs this season. We can credit him, or we could credit Herbert, but we know the real difference maker. It’s the beard.

 Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Cowboys

ezekiel elliott

With a name like Ezekiel, there has to be a beard. Zeke doesn’t disappoint, sporting a beard worthy of Tevye himself. The former Buckeye has taken the Cowboys (and the nation) by storm ever since being drafted fourth overall in 2016. I remember people saying that was way too high for a running back, but Elliott has proven worthy of the selection. Can’t say the same for the string of first round running backs taken in the proceeding years. Except CMC, of course, but then again CMC is his own category.

As great as the beard is, its owner has had a rough start to the season. Tampa Bay bottled him up pretty well, then he was outplayed by his teammate Tony Pollard against the Chargers. Perhaps Zeke will get back on track against Philly Monday night. Regardless, the beard remains a guaranteed tie to greatness.

 

Image Sources/Credits

Jeffrey Beall, CC BY 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

Erik Drost, CC BY 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

Erik Drost, CC BY 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

Jeffrey Beall, CC BY 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

WOSNsports, CC BY 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons