The Hair Apparent

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Clay Matthews' locks of gold.

OK, it’s time to come right out and say it. This is officially the most Metrosexual Super Bowl matchup of all time.

I’ve covered 13 or 14 Tuesday media days. They devolved into idiocy years ago, with gimmick-media acts showing up to draw attention to themselves rather than the game. And that’s fine. You go to the stadium on media day knowing it’s going to be ridiculous.

But this one really stood out for the focus on … hair, “long beautiful hair -- shining, gleaming, steaming flaxen waxen.”

The two best defensive players in the NFL – Pittsburgh’s Troy Polamalu and Green Bay’s Clay Matthews – are here. They are tough. They are mean. They hit like sledge hammers. And they’re sporting cascading locks of hair.

“Troy may have won defensive player of the year, and that’s great, but there’s no doubt I win best hair in the game. I’m really happy about that. I think it’s a unanimous decision.”

Not so. Packers guard Josh Sitton, whose own coif is underrated, was able to appreciate the mane men.
“I do have nice hair,” Sitton said, “but there’s no jealousy. They have great hair, too.”

“Of course I’m going with Polamalu’s hair,” Steelers linebacker James Farrior said. “He’s got a few more curls in his hair and a little bit more bounce to his hair than Matthews does.”

“Troy has thick black curls,” Matthews said. “I have a blonde, suave head of hair. Troy’s got a great head of hair. I do as well. I can tell you want to run your fingers through it.”

And sure enough, a TV personality from Access Hollywood reached up and stroked Matthews’ hair.
Red Smith wept.

During the Steelers’ session, safety Ryan Clark donned a wig worthy of Donna Summer in her disco heyday.

“My hair is very versatile,” Clark said. “I can shape it. I have the advantage of high cheek boneage. I use different products in it.”

Clark also allowed that, “I let Troy make all those plays because I want him to be a star.”

Packers linebacker A.J. Hawk has hair that rivals Matthews’ in length. He began growing it in honor of Pat Tillman, who was killed in Afghanistan. As a player, Tillman let his hair grow beyond his helmet.

“We didn’t plan on keeping it this long,” Hawk said. “Now it seems like everywhere you look in the NFL, guys have long hair.”

It is a trend that is impossible not to notice. The hirsute look adds a kind of Braveheart macho aspect to players’ looks. But that is undone just a bit when talk turns to taking care of the stuff.

Polamalu, who endorses Head and Shoulders products, said it takes him about 45 minutes to get his hair ready to go out.

“You have shampoo, conditioner, Suave For Men of course,” Matthews said. “I have to put that out there. You have to put in a little leave-in conditioner, make sure it’s really nice. But really, God blessed me with a great head of hair and I just have to maintain it.”


When talked turned to “Jersey Shore” and “Glee,” it was time to go.