When former NFL superstar quarterback Drew Brees made his broadcast debut as an NFL analyst on NBC in September 2021, viewers were distracted from his commentary by his suddenly fuller head of hair. After retiring from the New Orleans Saints earlier that year with his hair visibly thinned, Brees unveiled a transformed hairstyle for his new TV role. This guide will examine Brees’ changed hairdo and the reaction it elicited.
Overview of Drew Brees’ Playing Career
Drew Brees played college football for Purdue University before being drafted by the San Diego Chargers in 2001. After a severe shoulder injury in 2005, Brees was released by the Chargers and signed by the New Orleans Saints, where he thrived for 15 seasons.
With the Saints, Brees led the team to victory in Super Bowl XLIV, won two NFL Offensive Player of the Year awards, and set several league records. He retired after the 2020 season holding the NFL record for career pass completions, passing yards, and passing touchdowns.
Receding Hairline as a Player
Throughout his NFL career, Brees was known for his recognizable receding hairline and close-cut hairstyle. As he entered his late 30s, photographs showed his hair thinning considerably on top with a visible widow’s peak.
Brees’ hair loss accelerated between his final seasons, going from neatly cropped around the sides to revealing more scalp on top. His receding hairline was an expected part of male aging, though more noticeable given Brees’ fame.
NBC Broadcasting Debut
In August 2021, it was announced Brees would begin a broadcasting career at NBC Sports, serving as a studio analyst for Notre Dame football and as part of the NBC Sunday Night Football coverage.
His first on-air role was as part of Notre Dame’s Sept. 5 broadcast against Florida State. When Brees appeared on camera, his hair immediately drew attention.
Sudden Change to Brees’ Hair
In his NBC debut, Brees sported a full, thick head of hair with his previously receding hairline looking filled in. His new color-treated brown hair appeared thicker around the sides and top, with gray patches blended throughout.
The dramatic transformation left many viewers convinced Brees must be wearing a hair system, had undergone surgical hair transplantation, or was using cosmetic concealers. However, Brees did not disclose what changes were behind his makeover.
Social Media Reaction to Brees’ New Hair
On social media, the reaction to Brees’ rejuvenated hair targeted the perceived inauthenticity of the look:
- Twitter users commented it looked like a fake wig or hairpiece.
- Memes compared it to bad CGI effects making Brees look younger.
- Many mocked the obviousness of dye and implants to obscure aging.
- Jokes suggested he borrowed Tom Brady’s stylists and hair products.
- Photos overlayed hair restoration ads with Brees’ photos.
A minority of fans praised the revitalized appearance, though most saw it as an unsuccessful covering up of the aging process. Brees did not publicly address the commentary.
Changed Appearance for TV
Drew Brees’ drastically different hair upon entering NFL broadcasting sparked intrigue because it seemed an attempt to look younger after leaving behind professional athletics.
More mature or experienced-looking analysts are often seen as more credible. However, the perceived vanity behind Brees’ makeover made him a punchline on social media. It illustrated the scrutiny faced by high-profile talents, especially with age.
Brees’ unsuccessful attempt to obscure his hair loss made it appear he lacked self-confidence entering television. Ultimately, most agreed he had no need to hide the natural effects of passing time that impact everyone.
Hair Loss in Men
Brees’ experience reflects the unease many men feel confronting hair loss. By age 35, two-thirds of American men experience some degree of appreciable hair loss. It can significantly affect self-image and self-esteem.
Treatments like Brees seemingly underwent include:
- Hair transplants – moving follicles from thicker areas to thinning spots. This can cost up to $15,000.
- Hair systems – partial wigs/toupees custom fitted to augment thinning hair. These range from $200 to $2,000.
- Medications – prescription drugs to stimulate hair growth, like finasteride or minoxidil.
- Micropigmentation – cosmetic scalp tattoos to create illusion of hair follicles.
Advice for Men Dealing With Hair Loss
Rather than desperately seeking ways to hide hair loss, experts advise men to:
- Accept thinning hair as a natural part of aging.
- Shave heads fully if hair loss is extensive.
- Try shorter hairstyles that maximize existing hair more flatteringly.
- Improve diet and fitness to combat hormonal causes.
- Reduce stress levels which can accelerate baldness.
- Embrace it as a sign of maturity and confidence.
Drew Brees’ obvious hair transformation for his new TV career prompted more mockery than praise. But his experience mirrors all men who struggle to accept their changing appearance over time. While disguising balding can temporarily aid self-image, learning to embrace it confidently conveys the maturity and wisdom that commands true respect.