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Tuesday, January 24, 2006

[Sport] The 'Tache Bowl

As promised, the world’s first, and possibly only, Superbowl predication based solely on facial hair!

The AFC champion Steelers are the full representation of hairiness while the NFC champion Seahawks are more at home with a razor and a hot towel.


Steelers’ coach Bill Cowher sports a splendid Tom Selleck-esque ‘tache on his upper lip (actually the photo to the right could be Bill at last year’s Probowl). This glorious piece of facial hair (Cowher’s not Selleck’s) has been in place since well before the Steelers last Superbowl appearance in 1996 (when they lost). The moustache, however, does get usurped sometimes by “the chin” which will can, if the Steelers are performing poorly, extend to roughly 3 feet from Cowher’s face.

Mike Holmgren of the Seahawks has the nickname the “Walrus”. Actually, I don’t know that for sure but if he doesn’t then something is seriously wrong with that franchise! (This is the same team that let Darrell Jackson call himself “D-Jack”) Mike’s ‘tache is not as pronounced as Cowher’s but is rather subtler and softer. It does have a good bend down past the bottom lip giving him the appearance of a trucker.


Backing-up his coach is “Big” Ben Roethlisberger. (Quick note: Big Ben may be the only player in the NFL with the letter R on each shoulder of his uniform.) Ben has been sporting a scraggy beard for nearly all of the play-offs and prior matches. However, he looked practically clean shaven next to “Mountain Man” Jake Plummer (also known as “Big Mistake” Jake, right).

Matt Hasslebeck has a smooth chin and upper lip. This would possibly make him a favourite with the ladies (I have been told that facial hair is annoying and scratchy). But Matt has gone beyond the call of duty to try and de-hair his face by going bald. Bald coaches are one thing but bald quarterbacks are something completely different.

Running Backs

2005/06 MVP Shaun Alexander (see photo of him and Matt below) is clean shaven to an improbable degree. This is possibly an attempt to lessen wind resistance. Or maybe to slide through defences. Or possibly because he lied about his age and is actually 11years old.

The Bus (“if you want to get to Detroit, just catch the number 36”) has a neatly trimmed beard. The Bus doesn't care about "wind resistence" or "friction". He just plows through regardless. Warning to Seattle linebackers: watch out for beard rash!


Ben and Bill may want to shave (or at least have a trim) before the big game. As previously mentioned here (exclusively) hairy coaches and hairy QBs tend to lose Superbowls.

Over the last 10 Superbowls (XXXIX to XXX) moustachioed coaches are 1-4 (assuming that Holmgren hasn’t grown his moustache recently or that no coach randomly grew a beard or ‘tache for the Superbowl). This year may be the first occurrence of a Superbowl where opposing coaches both have moustaches. No wonder this is Superbowl XL!

Further analysis reveals that over the last 10 Superbowls bearded (or even goateed) quarterbacks are 0-3 (I don’t remember Kurt Warner having a goatee when he won the Superbowl, but he definitely had one when he lost. If I’m incorrect please tell me).

So to gain an instant advantage Ben Roethlisberger and Bill Cowher MUST shave.

Running backs (also called half-backs and tail-backs) are something I hadn’t considered before. I have yet to do an in-depth analysis of the trends surrounding this position but I am going to err on the side of the smooth face for this one. Why? Well, I can remember that Corey Dillon and Antowain Smith were both clean shaven when the Pats won. Jamal Lewis and Mike Alstott sport goatees. But a clean shaven Marshall Faulk tips the balance for me (can anyone remember if the Bronco’s Howard Griffith had a beard or ‘tache when Denver won?).


Well history seems to like a clean shaven team and with that (and only that) in mind I’m picking the Seattle Seahawks to win Superbowl XL. It pains to say (because I want the Steelers to do it) but the “stats” never lie.

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