Man, I'd love to have Brett Keisel's beard.
Unfortunately, over the years I've learned that no success on the face can compensate for failure on the scalp. So, I guess I'm just going to have to settle for admiring the former BYU lineman's facial follicles from afar.
And by "afar" I mean from my Lay-Z-Boy this afternoon as I watch Keisel and the Pittsburgh Steelers take on the Green Bay Packers in Super Bowl XLV.
Other than the fact I once attended a Packers game at Lambeau Field with Weber State sports information director Brad Larsen (and, boy, was it cold) I don't really have a dog in today's fight. Of course, that doesn't mean I'm not going to enjoy the game, especially with all that awesome hair flying around Cowboy Stadium like the backstage of a Lynyrd Skynyrd concert.
This isn't a prediction, it's a fact: Today's game will get hairy.
On one side, we've got Green Bay linebacker Clay Matthews and that Fabio-like, straight, silky hair that hangs down to his shoulder pads. On the other, we've got Pittsburgh's Troy Polamalu, who rocks those famously thick, curly locks that flow freely from his helmet.
But if you ask me, it all starts and stops with Keisel The Diesel's beard, partly because it gives him that nice, cozy "Grizzly Adams" look and partly because the guy used to play at BYU, where, let's face it, facial hair like that would be a major honor code violation.
"Respect The Beard. Fear The Diesel," the T-shirts say.
"Cheer The Beard," I say.
As a longtime hockey fan, I've always admired the NHL tradition of growing facial hair for the playoffs. In most instances, they're called "playoff beards," but, frankly, I've seen some of 'em and the term "beard" doesn't fully apply.
Usually, guys stop shaving when the playoffs get under way and with each passing round, they get hairier and hairier. By the time the Stanley Cup Finals rolls around, the men who can actually grow them have big, burly, bushy beards that have almost no regard for propriety, especially as they protrude over a chinstrap and helmet.
It's a terrific tradition.
Kiesel, who played at both BYU and Snow College, said he got the the beard idea from watching the Pittsburgh Penguins, who won the 2009 Stanley Cup title.
"I saw those guys looking burly and I thought, you know what? After minicamp in June I've got seven months until the Super Bowl," Keisel told reporters last week. "We're trying to win our seventh Super Bowl, so I'll see if I can let this thing (grow) for seven months. And this is the result."
And what a result it is, huh?
In Pittsburgh and among Steeler fans from coast to coast, the beard quietly made news all season long, but it all seemed to come to a head -- or better yet, a face -- last week during Super Bowl media day when notebook jockeys and microphone hounds from all over the world began asking about it.
That beard became a rock star.
With two full weeks between conference title games and the Super Bowl, there's always something for the media to latch onto. Clearly, one of the best stories to come out of this year's Super Hype-fest was Keisel's beard.
"The beard is why we're here," the 6-foot-5, 285-pound defensive lineman said. "It's unleashed Super Bowl powers on our whole team, and hopefully it can win us one more."
Apparently the beard has unleashed a a life of its own. It has a Facebook page and a Twitter account, neither of which is run by Keisel.
Still, folks are talking.
A few of his teammates have even claimed to have seen small woodland creatures nestling in its bushy goodness.
Look closely today and maybe you'll see a baby squirrel poke its head out to see what all the fuss -- er, I mean fuzz -- is all about.
Jim Burton is the Standard-Examiner's sports columnist. He also covers the Utah Jazz and the NBA. He can reached at (801) 625-4265 or at email@example.com. He tweets at http://twitter.com/jmb247