Peko is a defensive tackle for the Cincinnati Bengals, and he represents some of the nicest hair in the business.
His hair erupts out of the back of his helmet in a twisted, bird’s-nest, cheerleader’s ponytail gone wrong. It looks like the mane of a lion that got messed up by some bigger, tougher lions. See a bunch more pictures here.
But when he lets it down (say, for a formal occasion like this headshot), we get to see the amount of care this man puts into his abundant hair.
The Brillo Pad: Rey Maualuga
Like Clay Matthews, Rey Maualuga is also a rookie. And also a linebacker. And also from USC. Some say that the USC Trojans are a factory for producing NFL players, but apparently they’re also a factory for wicked hair.
Maualuga recently said on the Dan Patrick Show that he had considered dying his hair orange, to match his Cincinnati Bengals uniform. Had he done so, this list would have been much different—it would have featured only Maualuga, as no other hair in the league could possibly compete with his.
The Black Santa: Chris Kemoeatu
Kemoeatu, the Pittsburgh Steelers’ Tongan offensive guard, wins major points for the beard that accompanies the hair. Notice that’s it’s not a mustache and beard—just the beard, Abraham Lincoln-style.
He looks pretty happy in this picture, as anyone might be after winning a Super Bowl. But it doesn’t necessarily mean I’d want to sit on his lap and tell him I’ve been a good boy this year.
The Godfather: Troy Polamalu
You knew it was coming. No list of great NFL hair would be complete without the most famous ‘do in the business. Troy Polamalu, the Pittsburgh Steelers’ strong safety, has great hair.
Polamalu also owns perhaps the most famous hair-related moment in NFL history. On October 15, 2006, Polamalu intercepted a pass by Damon Huard of the Kansas City Chiefs, and ran it back nearly to the end zone—only to have Chiefs RB Larry Johnson get ahold of his hair and yank him to the ground.
He was asked later that day if he was going to get his hair cut.
“I lost half of it already,” he said.