Generally NFL players are only distinguishable on the football field by their uniform number. If the camera is close enough, then you might be able to see their name on the back of the jersey. Otherwise, helmets and face masks shield players’ heads and faces moreso than any of the other major sports. For going on 11 seasons now, one player has arguably been the most recognizable player without having to take his helmet off.
Of course it does not hurt that he is a five-time All-Pro strong safety for one of the most storied defensive franchises. He has won two Super Bowls. He was on your television Sunday night facing off against this writer’s beloved Chicago Bears. By now you should have guessed that I am talking about Troy Polamalu of the Pittsburgh Steelers. Throughout his illustrious career, and even dating back to his days at the University of Southern California, he has been known for his long (3 feet) black hair that spills out the back of his helmet, usually covering the name and number that fans generally rely on. Head & Shoulders has used him in five television ads. Lloyd’s of London insures his hair with a $1 million policy. In fact, one time he was legally tackled when another player grabbed his hair and pulled him to the ground. Reportedly he has not cut his hair in over a decade, an honor to his American Samoan descent. His hair is about to get a trim.
Last week Polamalu announced that for Veterans Day he will cut his hair has part of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Mane Event. This program is an event designed to raise awareness of the issues that veterans face and a fundraiser for the VFW. By no means is he a stranger to helping out veterans. He supports Operation Once in a Lifetime, which helps provided financial and morale support to returning soldiers and their families. He also visits VA hospitals during the offseason and even helped found the Harry Panos Fund for Veterans, which is named after his wife’s grandfather who served in World War II. Polamalu is hoping that offering up his famous hair will encourage others to follow suit.
Although your hair is likely not as famous as Polamalu’s, if you are interested in supporting the Mane Event, find a local partner barber and get a trim on November 11th.