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A History of Redskins Mustaches

With the 49ers adopting Throwback Mustaches in advance of this week's crucial showdown that will determine the difference between .563 and .500 (hint: it's about 0.63 0.0000063 one win), I took to the archives for the Best of Redskins Mustache writing. As others have noted, this franchise has long 'stached with the best of 'em, back in the glory days and even through last year's playoff run, when Todd Yoder matched Jason Campbell hair for hair.

Here's what I learned: The Post has done a woeful job of covering professional football facial hair over most of the past three decades. Many of the best mustache items were, remarkably, written by me. Also, newspaper people 20 years ago wrote a lot better than we do now. Like, a lot better. Where have you gone, Dave Kindred and William Gildea?

The other thing was, on this day of non-Internet use, I got entirely distracted reading a lengthy SI profile of George Starke from 1983. It's awesome. Go read it now, since you're obviously not working. Among the many things I learned: Starke lived in Mount Pleasant, drank at the Childe Harold, dated Walter Mondale's daughter, made $165k a year, incorporated a Hogs organization to make money off their name, was described as a "decidedly dusky Redskin" in the Washington Times, produced television commercials, read Mother Jones and befriended a Reggae star named Eek-a-Mouse. The best graf:

A Saturday afternoon last month found the Hogs, minus Tackle Don Laster and Riggins, who often doesn't participate in revenue-producing Hog activities because of his megabuck salary, gathered at a pig farm in Leesburg, Va. in formal attire with top hats. The occasion was a photo session that produced an official Hogs poster and may have put Hollywood just a hog call away. An independent producer named Walter Reed, who was helping make the poster, had two television crews shoot film while the Hogs were posing as the basis for a comedy pilot that he will try to peddle to the networks. The Hogs would play themselves. As for the plot, there's this farm, see, that's rented out to the Hogs -- who cares why -- and the offensive line features all these zany characters. They're always getting the prize hog drunk and. . . . Green Acres ran for six seasons with Eva Gabor in peignoirs, so don't count out large athletes in BVDs.


Aug. 10, 1978: [Brian Fryer's] 25 years old, a handsome bachelor with a mustache and curly blond hair (I'm a wiiiild and cuh-raaaaazy guy," he offers). He's 6-foot-1 and 185, a lean pass-catcher with good hands and an easy, long-striding gait. He could do something else with his youth, perhaps sell insurance, go to graduate school. But he wants football.

Sept. 30, 1978: [George Starke] is wearing jeans made of 6,000 denim patches. They appear to have been sewn together by a one-armed seamstress. He is wearing a belt so wide it must have cost the lives of three cows. The best (?) part is atop his head. There, above his classic Romanesque countenance, shading his imperially thin mustache, the 30-year-old fine arts major from Columbia University - no basket-weaver, this tackle - is wearing a felt hat. It is a purple-gray hat. It is older and more wrinkled than Diron Talbert.

Aug. 14, 1983: [Tom Owen is] a gunslinger, 10 years on the road, hired out as a backup quarterback. A sundowner's countenance: fading freckles, a reddish mustache, fine golden hair, dancing blue eyes.

Aug. 26, 1983: The Redskins picked up guard Bruce Kimball, a second-year player waived by the New York Giants. Kimball is a 6-2, 260-pound strong man, who has a Fu Manchu mustache and the ability to bench press more than 500 pounds. "He's a tough son of gun, a self-made man," Bugel said. "I'm trying to convince Joe (Gibbs) to keep nine (offensive) linemen, but that may be too greedy."

July 13, 1989, Washington Times: Post-dinner [Hogs] conversation jumps fluidly (no pun intended) from subject to subject, the off-the-record replies coming faster than Gerald Riggs on dry turf. They are stories for the ages. Grimm is Bluto with a mustache.

Dec. 25, 1992: Change a lot less obvious -- and a lot less relevant -- than [Brian] Mitchell's job description came to Rypien's face. Gone would be that mustache he had been cultivating. "No matter what," he said this week, "it was coming off."

Aug. 29, 1997: "I didn't think I wanted to date a jock," [the future Mrs. Gus Frerotte] said. "I was into my nerdy medical crowd and all of that. I remember seeing him, but he was this skinny guy with a terrible mustache and thick glasses covering that beautiful face."

May 26, 2002: A 6-8, 280-pound defensive end who started only one game in two seasons, [Ben Davidson] was cut after the final exhibition game of 1964. When he stopped by the team's office to pick up his paycheck, there was a phone call waiting for him. Al Davis was on the line. Mr. Raider invited Davidson to catch the next plane to the Coast, where he transformed into one of the Eleven Angry Men. He grew a handlebar mustache and rode a motorcycle, becoming the icon of the Raiders' avid biker following. His fondest memory of playing for the Redskins? "They used to have good parties after the games," he said.

Aug. 1, 2005: Sean Taylor sat at the edge of a tree-lined strip of grass in a parking lot at Dulles Town Center, less than five miles from Redskins Park and about seven miles from his Ashburn home. Taylor, wearing loose gray sweatpants and untied sneakers with no socks, stretched one leg onto the pavement of the mall's restaurant row. The Washington Redskins safety -- with face stubble and a mustache -- appeared relaxed Saturday despite legal issues that could halt his second pro season, imprison him for at least three years and cost him most of his rich NFL contract.

Nov. 4, 2005: "Southeast Jerome died late Sunday night," Portis said while wearing a fuchsia wig, pink studded sunglasses and a long mustache. "He won't be with us anymore. Complications from a panic attack. He had amazing upside. He's going to be missed."

Dec. 23, 2005: Tailback Clinton Portis dressed as "Inspector Two-Two" for yesterday's media session, with a leather helmet, fake nose and mustache, black glasses and a small hat with blond pigtails coming down the side. Apparently, the mysterious demise of "Southeast Jerome," one of Portis's prior characters, remains unsolved.

Aug. 2, 2006: "I want to make it into a mullet, but the back has to be longer. I want to get it all the way down my back, like a Billy Ray Cyrus style. If I could have a mullet and a mustache, too, that might be a good look." -- Tight end Chris Cooley on his new hairstyle.

[At this point in the archive, basically every other mustache reference is from a story written by me, so I'll just stop.]

By Dan Steinberg  |  December 23, 2008; 2:48 PM ET
Categories:  Redskins  
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I wonder if Cooley and Yoder ever play the hair game? I bet Big Mike is a baller at that game.

Posted by: WaPoLiveFan16 | December 23, 2008 4:02 PM | Report abuse

One factual error in that SI profile of the Head Hog: "The Hogs aren't the best offensive line ever..." Not true.

Posted by: EdTheRed | December 23, 2008 4:39 PM | Report abuse

Dan, you are but a lowly cheese boy, but this is just embarrassing. Please fix your error:

0.563 - 0.500 = 0.063 NOT 0.63.

If the Niners were to gain 0.63 in their win pct. from this game, then ZZ Top beards wouldn't be enough to honor that kind of a jump in stature.

Posted by: SteveZissou | December 24, 2008 11:06 AM | Report abuse

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