It's all about the hair.
From corn rows to mullets and everything in between, athletes draw attention for the way they wear their locks.
So when teen heartthrob Justin Bieber hit New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady with a lyrical beatdown last week, I had to wonder if that was a good or bad thing for Brady. In Hollywood, any publicity is good publicity. Brady, who's as Hollywood as it gets — with a supermodel wife, movie star looks and enough Super Bowl bling to feel confident on any red carpet — had to be scratching the mop top when he heard Bieber's kiddie rap:
"Sack like a sacker,
Call up Mr. Brady,
Tell him leave his hair
to the guy that sings Baby."
There were even reports that Brady was in an altercation about hair with receiver Randy Moss before Moss was shipped to Minnesota. While people in the New England organization claim the tiff never happened, it still received air time on television and talk radio.
The reality is that Brady can wear his hair any way he wants and get away with it. Not only because Bill Belichick and Gisele say he can, but because he has three Lombardi trophies to back it up.
Steelers safety Troy Polamalu may have the most identifiable coif in the NFL. The "The Flying Hawaiian" has a $1 million insurance policy on his curly black helmet cushion. He's also partnered with Head & Shoulders to create a contest (Polamalooza) to determine which NFL icon has the best hair. Jim McMahon, Brian Bosworth and John Riggins are among the competitors.
Polamalu turned his hair into a phenomenon. Oh, and he may also be the best defensive player in the league.
That's the catch. Any day's a good hair day when you have two sacks, an interception and 10 tackles in a victory.
But hair styles are only as good as the players that wear them.
Bosworth was a very good college player, but let's face it, his professional career was shorter and had fewer highlights than the blonde mohawk he wore in the late '80s. The Boz Cut was cool streaked with OU crimson, but it looked a little silly in blue and green when he struggled with the Seahawks.
Even sure-fire Hall of Famer Randy Johnson toned down his business-in-the-front-party-in-the-back look when his fastball lost velocity.
Dennis Rodman's multi-colored mess was the talk of the NBA in the mid-'90s when he was pulling down 16 rebounds per game. But now that he's retired, he looks like he doesn't know when to hand the spotlight and florescent paint to the next generation.
Facial hair has created a similar stir for decades.
Rollie Fingers and Goose Gossage may be as popular for their mustaches as they are for their pitching prowess.
Former U.S. soccer star Alexi Lalas' goatee would have made Colonel Sanders jealous.
Maybe NHL players have had it right all along. Most stay clean shaven during the season, then grow long beards throughout the playoffs. They have to earn their facial hair.
Giants pitcher Brian Wilson has certainly earned the right to sport his best Grizzly Adams this season. He led the major leagues with 48 saves this season and San Francisco is on the verge of a World Series berth.
Wilson's fashion choice looks peculiar at best, but every time batter he retires makes the beard look that much better.
Note to Brett Favre: If you wake up today and your right arm still hurts, use your left to trim your gray beard to its usual three-day bristle. You haven't played well enough this season to pull off the polar bear hunter look.
Run 'n' Gun is The Eagle Sports staff's weekly look at the offbeat side of sports.