Pittsburgh Steelers defensive end Brett Keisel said his thick, bushy beard would win in a fight against teammate Troy Polamalu’s long, curly mane.
“It would be a grudge match, but I’m confident in the beard,” said Keisel, a Brigham Young product.
The beard and hair enjoyed a peaceful afternoon together Tuesday during Super Bowl media day. Keisel wore a Polamalu wig, which left him looking like a Samoan lumberjack.
“The beard is why we’re here,” Keisel, 32, said. “It’s unleashed Super Bowl powers on our whole team.”
Keisel started growing his beard in June, and his abundant facial hair has attracted attention and inspired a song and a Facebook page, “Brett Keisel’s Beard.”
The page had more than 23,000 “like” votes as of Wednesday afternoon and could soon surpass the popularity of “Brian Wilson’s Beard,” a page devoted to the San Francisco Giants closer’s jet black-dyed facial hair.
Keisel claims his beard is completely natural.
“People are saying that I’m taking beard-enhancing drugs, but I’m not,” he said.
Jack Passion, the two-time defending world champion in the “natural full beard” category, told the New York Times that Keisel’s beard is the real deal.
“It’s like the coat of a wolf,” said Passion, who described his own orange-red beard as a “waterfall of hot lava.”
Keisel’s facial hair was named the best NFL beard of all time by the NFL Network — ahead of the beards of Dan Fouts, Lyle Alzado and Franco Harris — and described as “the scruff of legend” by the Beaver County (Pa.) Times. Keisel said he cares for it with shampoo, conditioner and an occasional combing to “brush the birds and squirrels out.”
While Wilson’s opponents were warned to “Fear the Beard,” Keisel, who is nicknamed “The Deisel,” is selling T-shirts on his website with the phrase “Respect the Beard: Fear the Deisel.”
If the Steelers win Sunday, Keisel hopes BYU will enact an Honor Code exception in his name that will allow students to grow a beard.
He told the Salt Lake Tribune that the school should “loosen up” the code.
“Maybe have a ‘Deisel Day’ or ‘Deisel Week’ where everybody can let their beard (grow) for a month or so,” he said.
Thinking Keisel was talking about beers — not beards — Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger agreed BYU should lift its ban on alcohol and made plans to drop by the school during his annual college spring break tour.
n WHINE AND ROSES — Maurice-Jones Drew said he wasn’t trying to question Jay Cutler’s toughness when he made a critical tweet of the Chicago Bears quarterback after he left the NFC Championship Game on Jan. 23 in the third quarter.
To make amends, the Jacksonville Jaguars running back said he might send Cutler a lovely bouquet of flowers as a peace offering.
“I’m going to say something like ‘Jay, I hope we can still be friends. No hard feelings,’ ” Jones-Drew said Wednesday on an ESPN radio show. “Here’s a dozen roses and a teddy bear with a 32 jersey on there.”
That should smooth things over.
COMPILED BY TODD DEWEY
LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL