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NFL Could Ban Hair Flowing Out of Helmets

Mar 21, 2008 – 10:06 AM
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Michael David Smith

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Steelers safety Troy Polamalu is known as much for the long hair that goes halfway down his back as for anything else. But Polamalu and other NFL players may soon be banned from exposing long hair on the field.

Adam Schefter reported on NFL Network that the NFL's competition committee is considering a rule that would bar a player from wearing his hair long enough on the field to obscure his name on the back of his jersey. Players like Polamalu and Jaguars cornerback Rashaen Mathis would either need to get a haircut or figure out a way to stuff all that hair in their helmets throughout a game.

According to Schefter, the Kansas City Chiefs proposed the rule change, perhaps motivated by the incident in October 2006, when Chiefs running back Larry Johnson pulled Polamalu's hair to drag him down from behind -- which is legal -- and then held onto the hair after both players hit the ground, drawing an unnecessary roughness penalty.

Schefter reports that the Chiefs have argued that the hair requirement should be enforced as a uniform violation, similar to the league's requirements that players wear their socks a certain way. But there's also some support for the rules change from league insiders who believe it's unsafe to have players running around with hair hanging out their helmet.

The 32 teams are expected to vote on the proposed rules change at the league meeting at the end of the month.
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