Professional athletes can have some strange habits. When your entire life is regimented to the minute habits develop; breaking those routines would throw everything else off. Some players eat specific meals or get dressed in a specific order. Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield, however, grew a lucky mustache.
While he played Sunday’s game with a handlebar mustache, the quarterback showed up to his press conference with a simpler, and now infamous, piece of facial hair. On Wednesday, Mayfield explained the strange logic behind his change of appearance.
The Cleveland Browns’ struggle this season
At the start of the 2019 NFL season, the Cleveland Browns were a trendy pick to come out of the AFC North. While it’s admittedly easy to improve on their previous performances, the club looked to be in a good spot. Baker Mayfield seemed to be trending in the right direction and had a talented offense around him. Head coach Freddie Kitchens and general manager John Dorsey restored a feel-good factor; then, the regular season started.
The Browns were blown out in Week 1 by the Tennessee Titans; they would win their next game against the Jets and split the next two, earning a 2-2 record after the first four-game. Then the bottom fell out. Cleveland lost two straight games, then entered their bye week. When they returned to action, they lost another two.
For all of the Browns’ offensive talent, things simply haven’t clicked. Mayfield and Odell Beckham, Jr. aren’t linking up with regularity.
“People had this picture-perfect thing where it was going to be sunshine and rainbows, and he was going to have a whole lot of one-on-ones,” the quarterback explained. “It’s Odell Beckham. He’s going to have double coverage. We have to find ways to format things to get him the ball and force-feed him early on to where he can make an impact before we can have the perfect to-give-him-a-shot play. And I think that’s something we learned the hard way.”
Baker Mayfield’s magic mustache
On Sunday, Baker Mayfield showed up to the Browns’ meeting with the Denver Broncos sporting a full beard. When he took the field, however, he had shaved it down to a handlebar mustache. Things got even weirder when, after the game, the quarterback appeared at the podium sporting a peacoat and a much smaller mustache.
While Mayfield’s look quickly went viral, no one understood why the quarterback made such a drastic change. On Wednesday, however, he clarified his follicular habits.
“The original thought for me, do handlebars,” Mayfield explained. “I was undefeated before Sunday with the handlebar mustache. As for the change in styles, the quarterback simply said, “I shaved it off because I didn’t deserve it.”
What does Baker Mayfield deserve?
It might be his second year in the NFL, but Baker Mayfield is already learning the harsh realities of professional life. Last year, he was an exciting young player with potential; this year, he was expected to win and isn’t delivering.
The offense has been struggling, at least in part, due to Mayfield’s passing inaccuracies. Sparring with local media, even if it was justified at the moment, isn’t helping his image as a quarterback capable of leading the Browns out of their historic doldrums.
Baker Mayfield might not “deserve” his handlebar mustache, but he also only deserves some of the blame for the Browns’ struggles. He might not be helping the situation, but there’s a reason so many quarterbacks have tried and failed in Cleveland.