Beard-Off: Brian Wilson Vs Brett Keisel
Two sporting titans collide in a bearded bloodbath: baseball’s Brian Wilson and football’s Brett Keisel
Both are legendary among fans for their massive personalities, with big whiskers to match. But who’s the winner when these hirsute heroes go head to head? Shave your Style warms up and hits the pitch to find out.
Eccentric is the way that most people describe Wilson’s style – but killer is the way they’d describe his play. In fact, Wilson’s trademark beard is only one several headline-grabbing hooks that he flaunts publicly to remarkable effect: his (now banned) bright orange spikes and closeness to the mysterious gimp they call ‘The Machine’ being just two others.
Wilson’s beard is a wild beast tamed by man. Long and thick, he keeps it under control at all times, and even dyes it dark brown for extra effect (his actual hair, so often hidden by his cap, is lighter by many shades). Although ‘lumberjack’ is an adjective you’ll hear associated with him, it’s perhaps better to look at his beard as ‘biblical’: positively Old Testament, in fact. You can just imagine it waving in the breeze as he crosses the Jordan, can’t you?
In the game
Wilson himself has claimed to be “A qualified ninja and certified warlock.” Whatever his mystical qualifications, he’s a force to be reckoned with on the pitcher’s mound: never argue with a man whose balls are flying towards you at 95mph. Especially if they’ve got the beard of an avenging desert prophet.
When he’s closing the play, Wilson makes the sign of the cross with his arms, points skywards and thanks heaven for the victory. It’s all part and parcel of his inimitable playing style; aggressively emotional and 100% sure of victory.
Hall of fame
Wilson has found huge fame thanks to his individual style – beard included. His TV appearances are both hilarious and confusing – especially when his next-door neighbor comes round in a gimp suit.
“That’s just the machine,” he told ESPN.
“He comes round for sugar sometimes. He doesn’t say much.”
Wilson, on the other hand, is a man that lets his beard do the talking – as you’ll find on the epic ‘Explore Brian’s Beard’ app
The 6’5" Defensive End for the Pittsburgh Steelers is known for his tackles, but after a hunting trip with his dad left Keisel with a bushy beard, he decided to keep it for luck. While playoff beards are nothing new, Keisel has blazed
a trail by nurturing his Viking-like appendage throughout the seasons since.
The beard has proven itself to be a mighty psychological boost to Keisel and the team.
"It’s powerful," he told reporters in February. “It has magical powers.”
It got them to the Superbowl, so who’s to argue?
In the game
Even amongst a team of players that sport the whole spectrum of beards, Keisel stands alone. His Grizzly Adams look sprays down his chest, his 'tache sprouts and moves in stand-alone directions. In short, you can see the beard from 50 yards – and that’s when he’s in his helmet. It is the beard of a conqueror.
Proving for all to see that hair can be gracious as well as insulating, Keisel submitted to the chop back in late February, losing his long locks and raising $30,000 for charity while he did so. Underneath that warm blanket of fuzz beats a warm heart.
Hall of fame
Keisel’s beard has its own range of T-shirts, and even a Facebook page with nearly 34,000 people signed up. In fact, there’s a whole industry dedicated to the man’s awesome mountain-man look: at 285lb, a guy like that needs a lot of beard just to balance out his body. Alpha males quiver when they come across a beard with such a history.
If it were down to sheer warrior spirit, Keisel would stand tall. But lack of grooming is not evidence of proper beardsmanship – the carefully stage-managed whiskers of Wilson put him in the big league.