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Research Shows Beards May Have Impact On NFL Performance

By Ray Boyd

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- We are approaching the end of the month of November which has become commonly known as "Movember" or "No Shave November" to signify men growing out their beards to support an array of health initiatives.

I've grown and groomed my own beard throughout the month, but never assumed that it would have a tangible impact on my job performance. According to some new research, that may be the case, at least for NFL signal callers.

West Coast Shaving, a company that supplies customers with shaving products and accessories, released a fairly interesting study that shows improved quarterback performance for players when they were sporting a beard compared to when they weren't.

While they stopped short of proving causation, the numbers are undeniable.

The study focused on the 2013 numbers of Aaron Rodgers, Jay Cutler, Tom Brady, Ben Roethlisberger and Andrew Luck. All of these quarterbacks played games that season clean shaven and with beards. The numbers may surprise you.

All five of the quarterbacks had a higher rating with a beard than without. Rodgers had a 109.60 rating with a beard compared to 93.58 without. Cutler fell from 88.31 to 81.98.

Brady dropped from 89.43 to 83.86. Roethlisberger achieved a 94.25 rating with whiskers compared to just 80.63 without and Andrew Luck fell from 88.06 to 73.00.

In the new age of analytics in the sports world perhaps we will see teams beginning to make the beard mandatory. West Coast Shaving did emphasize that there were plenty of other bearded quarterbacks in 2013, but they did not provide any clean shaven game samples to compare with.

The study also analyzed the many different variations of hair styles and beard styles that permeate the NFL. The players naturally don't get a ton of face time since they are usually wearing helmets, but that doesn't mean they aren't showing off some personality underneath.

According to the study, the Eagles ranked as the top team in the league with players with long hair. With 5.26% of the team sporting a long hair style, the Eagles ranked just ahead of the New York Jets and the Green Bay Packers. Have to say thanks to Riley Cooper, Jason Kelce and Bryan Braman for that distinction.

The Eagles also ranked 1st in terms of players with chinstraps (the beard style, not actual football chinstraps) and 4th in the clean shaven category.

So for all you men out there who take pride in your facial hair choices, remember it does matter. Some of the best players in the league apparently would not be who they are without their beards.

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