What’s all this about Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Gardner Minshew II and Mississippi Mustache Mania?
Sports figures for decades, heck, more than a century, sported fun, unique mustaches.
So what makes Minshew’s ‘stache so popular?
My best guess – it’s the headband or bandana.
Maybe his legend grows because he works out in a jock strap, or less.
All this mania reminds me of Linsanity.
That started with basketball player Jeremy Shu-How Lin going from the Beijing Ducks of the Chinese Basketball Association to the New York Knicks in the NBA in 2012.
He unexpectedly led a winning turnaround with the Knicks, generating a global craze known as “Linsanity,” which became to be known as a feeling of excitement from watching Lin play basketball.
So far Minshew’s reach has been nationwide and dubbed mustache mania.
Mania can be defined as mental illness marked by periods of great excitement or euphoria, delusions and overactivity.
Or, put another way, an excessive enthusiasm or desire; an obsession.
From television interviews with Minshew, you learn of his connection with Washington State University’s football program last season, that he wears shorts and, frankly, is just enjoying the ride as he replaces injured starting quarterback Nick Foles.
Minshew is making the most of playing in the National Football League, going 2-1 in his September starts and being named the NFL’s rookie of the month.
In one of the most impressive starts of any rookie quarterback in NFL history, he currently is ranked in the top 10 of all NFL quarterbacks for touchdown passes, quarterback (QB) rating and completion percentage.
Foles, the Super Bowl LII MVP, was placed on injured reserve after breaking his left clavicle in his first game of the season.
Minshew was drafted this spring in the sixth round as a backup to Foles.
Minshew knows he must enjoy his time as a starter since Foles could be back by week 11, Nov. 17.
I think the Jaguars got more than they bargained for in the former WSU Cougar who finished fifth in last year’s Heisman Trophy voting, being named Pac-12 Conference Offensive Player of the Year. He threw for 4,779 yards and 38 TDs. His 367.6 passing yards per game and 468 completions both led the FBS.
He was the only player in the NCAA to record six 400-yard passing games and 11 300-yard passing games.
Prior to playing for East Carolina University from 2016-17, Minshew was a national champion at Northwest Mississippi Community College in 2015 and played football, basketball and baseball at East Rankin High School in Mississippi.
The 23-year-old did not sport a mustache early on – he was very clean shaven, maybe because he was too young to grow a bro-stache.
But he did grow a mustache as a fifth-year transfer to WSU (means he could be quarterback for only one year) and it made him appear older. That’s something he could use with his senior teammates on the Jaguars.
Some famous upper-lip facial hair before Minshew includes (going back a ways) Charlie Chaplin, Clark Gable, Burt Reynolds and Salvador Dali. More recently there’s Freddie Mercury and Tom Selleck.
Selleck (volleyball) and Reynolds (halfback in football) were both athletes before becoming actors.
A search of athletes with facial fur finds John L. Sullivan, Hulk Hogan, Rollie Fingers, Larry Bird, Goose Gossage, Joe Namath and, closer to home, former Mariner baseball pitcher Randy Johnson.
Some unforgettable football players and their flavor savers include Jack Lambert, Andy Dalton, Joe Namath, Mike Ditka, a young Ben Roethlisberger and currently Aaron Rodgers.
If you inspect Minshew’s caterpillar, you might notice it’s the perfect fit for being hired at a job interview. Statistics show those with a ‘stache are hired 8.2 percent more than men sporting beards and 4.3 percent more than clean-shave men.
We will truly know if Minshew Mania goes global when he suddenly sports a moustache or a mustachio (foreign spellings).
A ticket to Jaguars games now comes with a mustache you can wear to join the Minshew Mania.
Thank goodness it doesn’t come with a jock strap – no crowd shots that game!
Minshew will add to his legacy when Jacksonville (2-2) plays at the Carolina Panthers (2-2) at 10 a.m. this Sunday, Oct. 6.
Coincidentally, the Panthers will be led by backup quarterback Kyle Allen (undrafted free agent), who is replacing an injured Cam Newton.
Al Camp is the sports editor at The Chronicle. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.