College Football’s “Great Man Theory” could well become a test at the University of Southern California – following the outrageous facial hair of its Hall of Fame defensive end, “Big Daddy” Renfro, on Friday.
Renfro will be teaching the Great Man Theory, part of his continuing education program, at USC’s Graduate School of Education in Orange. The former USC and NFL player has officially been “derecognized” by the National Football League because of this look, but feels perfectly comfortable with his new status.
The theory originated at the turn of the century as a bit of a questionable head nod to “Hollywood” Man.
Bearded men were more often with it than clean-shaven, as football greats from Lew Alcindor, the future Kareem Abdul-Jabbar of the Los Angeles Lakers, to Nolan Ryan, the World Series MVP with the Texas Rangers, were often camped out under their jerseys’ slogans with a scruffy “ Great Man Theory” written across the top of their mustaches.
The discourse goes something like this: If a beardless man is wonderful with woman and takes risks then a hirsute man is the polar opposite of what the female’s want – plain, safe, boring.
But that could change after the Great Man Theory becomes a class requirement at USC, which is also home to one of the NFL’s other top players with a buzzed top: new NFL Rookie of the Year Cam Newton.
Newton can certainly balance the two worlds for his schoolmates. Although he was a Heisman Trophy winner for the university’s college football program, he also carried the image of a college student with long braids and matching thick glasses.
He was also a waiter at the prestigious Mexican eatery Zabala’s, and a night club bouncer in his native state of South Carolina.
Now it seems he’s eyeing his California future with fresh grills and a significantly shorter beard.