When Joe Flacco took the field for warm-ups prior to last night’s game against the 49ers, something was different.
The Ravens’ quarterback had something on his face.
Flacco, who had gotten a ridiculous Jersey Shore-themed haircut last Halloween, now had a new ridiculous look - he was sporting a Fu Manchu.
Normally reserved and unwilling to create a lot of attention for himself, Flacco, along with tight end Dennis Pitta, decided to grow the non-uncommon facial hair - and just prior to a nationally-televised Thanksgiving night game with millions of people watching, no less.
“It’s kind of tough convincing everybody to get really ugly,” Flacco said. “But I think after playing like we did tonight, I’m starting to get a get a couple followers. We were just hoping it caught on. Me and Dennis were talking about it, a lot of great teams, they always have their signature thing that they go through the season with, and we’re just trying to create one.”
Flacco and Pitta had been discussing the Fu Manchu idea in the days leading up to yesterday’s win over the 49ers, and they eventually decided to go with it.
The good-luck ‘stache paid dividends for both guys, as Flacco went 15-of-23 for 161 yards, a touchdown and not a single turnover against one of the NFL’s top defenses, while Pitta caught two key third-down passes for 19 yards and a touchdown on the Ravens’ decisive scoring drive mid-way through the second half.
The touchdown was Pitta’s first in his 22 games as a pro. Grow some weird facial hair, reach the end zone. Is it really that simple?
“(We were) just trying to do something fun and mix it up. What better way to mix it up than have an ugly looking mustache, you know?” Pitta joked after the game. “From what people said, I think Joe’s looks a little better than mine. I’ve got to darken mine in or do something to make it stand out a little more. We’re just in the beginning stages. We’ll play around with it a bit.”
Just feet away from Pitta, fellow tight end Ed Dickson laughed and told me that he won’t be joining the Fu Manchu club just yet, largely because it takes him a while to grow facial hair. He might jump on the bandwagon sometime down the road, though.
Asked what he thought of Flacco’s awkward attempt at setting a new trend, linebacker Terrell Suggs smiled.
“He can keep it as long as we win,” Suggs said. “He’s the quarterback, he has to have swag. You don’t see that from, you know, the kid from up north (Tom Brady). You don’t see him with one of those.”
Pitta agreed with Suggs, saying that the facial hair will stay if the wins keep coming.
“That’s the plan,” Pitta said. “We’re going to stick with it as long as we’re winning, and let the power of the ‘stache continue.”