Gardner Minshew, Ryan Fitzpatrick to settle facial hair fracas on ‘Thursday Night Football’

Hello, we mustache you a question.

The NFL has been home to many iconic facial hair configurtions, but have you ever seen a more glorious lip-warmer in the NFL than Gardner Minshew’s? The Uncle Rico of the National Football League unleashed his facial hair on the world last season, coupling his now-iconic horseshoe mustache with surprising play for the Jags, as a lone bright spot in an otherwise lost season. 

But every great hero has a great villain, and the NFL’s incumbent bushy-faced braggart, Ryan Fitzpatrick, takes issue with Minshew’s preferred choice of facial hair.

The two QBs exchanged barba barbs earlier in the week, making the battle of the facial hair the No. 1 storyline heading into Thursday night’s Dolphins vs. Jaguars matchup in Jacksonville, Fla.

MORE: Gardner Minshew, the most interesting QB in football

“The mustache versus the beard — I think the beard is cooler,” Fitzpatrick crowed earlier in the week. “Guys that grow mustaches have patchy sides.”

By the power of Grayskull (Graybeard?) Fitz mustn’t have seen the full beard that Minshew was rocking just a few months ago during the offseason, when the second-year QB looked like he was being repackaged for a babyface turn on an ’80s episode of “Monday Night RAW,” or capturing the hearts of moms everywhere as the frontman of a Bee Gees cover band.

In any case, not to be outdone, Minshew shot back at Fitz, not letting the Harvard product get away with alternative facts.

“You know, I think I’ve shown I can grow a beard with no patchy sides,” Minshew retorted. “I’ll let mine speak for itself. I have a lot of respect for my elders — especially when they’re much, much elder.”

There’s a lot more riding on the line tonight than just a win, with the victorious quarterback’s signature hair adorning special edition Pepsi cans later in the year.

It’s a somewhat intriguing matchup aside from the whiskers: Minshew has played well through his first two games this season, tossing some water on the Tank for Trevor Lawrence narrative surrounding Jacksonville. For Fitzpatrick, his time as a starter might be drawing to an end, with No. 5 overall pick Tua Tagovailoa waiting in the wings to take the Dolphins to new heights.

Yes, this is what “Thursday Night Football” in 2020 has come to: a battle of the facial follicles between two of the NF(acial hair)L’s most interesting personalities, with the winner’s look on the side of a can of soda.

In any case, they both have their pros and cons:

  Minshew’s mustache Fitzpatrick’s beard
  • Just slick enough to be sexy
  • Easily manicured
  • Can walk onto the set of “That ’70s Show” without security clearance
  • Easy to put together a costume as your favorite Civil War general
  • Catches crumbs from sandwiches and snacks
  • Keeps face warm in the depths of winter
  • Biker gangs might mistake you for a rival biker gang member
  • Might get “Where did you park your white, unmarked van?” jokes
  • Might be mistaken for White Goodman from “Dodgeball”
  • Doesn’t easily fit with chinstrap of helmet
  • Itchier than a foray through poison ivy
  • Have to have it searched when passing through airport security

Alternative headline: Florida Men to engage in duel over facial hair in front of thousands.

Ah, football.