September 16, 2021


Football is back, baby! The 2021 NFL season is underway. And that means our favorite NFL beards are back on show after a long off-season of growing, cultivating, sculpting and brushing… plus a little football practice in between.

Break out the nachos, the hotdogs and the beer and settle back for a NFL season swarming with epic beards.

Here are our ultimate fantasy picks to watch…

Is there really any competition for number 1?

Ryan Fitzpatrick

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Two words. Ryan Fitzpatrick.

There is no current NFL beard finer than the Washington QB’s glorious garibaldi thatch. Thick, luscious and beastly. Superbly tamed and dripping with machismo. It’s a poster pinup beard.

Sure, Fitzpatrick’s 2021 season has started in less than stellar fashion with an injury in week 1, forcing him from the field. But with that power beard, he’ll probably run the injury off and be hurling lightning bolts like Zeus in no time.

Leading the offense

Odell Beckham, Jr.

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The Browns wide receiver may divide fans, but the vote is unanimous for his grooming chops. That combo of wild-yet-sculpted chin curtain with an immaculate, delicate mustache is to die for.

Jason Kelce

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Although the Eagles Center trimmed and bleached his amazing long hair, thank all that is holy that he kept his beard. It is the literal definition of a face forest. It more than makes up for Kelce being a little smaller than other offensive linemen and no doubt is the secret to his all-time speed record over 40 yards for linemen.

Ezekiel Elliott

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His beard is so dense, it’s like an extension of his neck. And the color! That inky ebon hue stands out in perfect contrast to his Cowboys helmet and uniform. If we had to tackle this running back, we might just swoon a little at his beard in the process.

One to watch

Ben Cleveland

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The Ravens rookie offensive guard has huge potential – for his already impressive beard to become the stuff of legend. If football doesn’t work out for him, he’s a shoo-in for pro wrestling.

On the defense

Star Lotuleilei

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We give his beard five stars. This Tongan defensive tackle for the Bills definitely lives up to his name. He enthusiastically embraced the initial patchy phase for his beard and look how his persistence rewarded him. A giant beard for a giant of a man.

Malcolm Jenkins

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He’s not only a safety, you should feel nothing but safe when this NFL veteran is on the field. His beard is as organized and neat as his defensive play for the Saints. It’s pretty much the perfect beard and bald head combo.

Lawrence Guy

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The beard on this Pats defender is no nonsense, thick, heavy, powerful. Just the way a good defensive tackle should be. It’s so steely looking, the clippers needed to trim this barbed wire of beauty must be industrial strength.

Larry Ogunjobi

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Another defensive tackle. There must be a pattern here. But Ogunjobi’s beard is a clinic on how to grow and shape short whiskers to complement and enhance facial shape. This Bengal always looks like a winner.

Special teams

Joey Slye

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Once he’s done being the Texans’ kicker, he has a huge career ahead as the poster boy for lumberjacks. Barrel-chested and with those ginger whiskers that scream “Canadian scarf”, you can just see him swinging an axe and hurling logs.

Honorable sideline mention

Andy Reid

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There’s no beard on Chiefs Head Coach Andy Reid, but with his incredible walrus mustache, he is a dead ringer for legendary actor Wilford Brimley. Every time we see him talking to his players and staff, we imagine he’s saying “Diabeetus”.

Injured but worthy

Kyle Long

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Sadly, Kyle Long got injured just as he came out of retirement in 2021. Let’s hope he and his beard are back on the field for the Chiefs soon. Long is his name but short is his beard. And sometimes short and neat is just what the doctor (and coach) ordered.

Dumbest idea of 2021

Travis Kelce

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Just what in the heck was Travis Kelce thinking?!

The KC Chiefs Tight End is essentially unrecognizable this year after shaving off his beard. Whatever prompted this bizarre decision, he’s gone from hot to not. His face looks like an empty, barren potato.

Grow it back, TK, please!

Most Missed Beard award for 2021

Brett Keisel

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Well, “Da Beard” has pretty much won this award for six years straight since retiring.

Brett Keisel, the former Steelers defensive end. His mane was so big and thick, it put Grizzly Adams to shame. We miss it so much. Please put him on camera as a commentator or sideline reporter.

Hall of Fame

The greatest beards in NFL history! Their manes will be forever memorialized. All of them are truly deserving inductees into The Rugged Bros Hall of Facial Fame! Here they are in no particular order.

Brett Keisel

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We just mentioned him – and we’ll mention him again because his beard was enough for two guys. You don’t get nicknamed Da Beard for no reason. He would win a galactic facial hair competition and his face forest will forever be a monument to the NFL’s toughness and spectacle. The Steelers was the right team for Keisel because we swear his beard was made of steel.

Nick Mangold

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Was there ever a more appropriate name? The stunningly epic beard on this man was pure gold. When he retired in 2017, he left a huge hole in the Jets team, most of which was the space taken up by his beard.

Eric Weddle

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Swoon! His beard was the epitome of warrior ruggedness. As safety for the Chargers, the Ravens and the Rams, Weddle always looked like he’d just stepped off the set of Braveheart from a huge battle scene. Just DAMN!

Joe Hawley

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He may have played for the Falcons and Bucs, but he should have played for the Eagles – because Hawley’s beard was a true eagle’s nest. It simply bristled with power.

Now, there’s one thing all of these NFL beard legends would have in common… they all needed to care for their beards with proper washing, oiling, brushing and more. No doubt they trained their whiskers for the rigors of the NFL as much as they trained their bodies and minds. 

We salute all NFL beardmeisters!

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