Extension of the Uniform
The NFL sees hair that pours out of the back of helmet as an extension of the uniform. Defensive players are free to pull the hair to make a tackle. In 2008, NFL owners discussed forcing players to tie up or cut their hair if it obscured the name on the back of their jersey. The proposition failed, allowing NFL players to continue to sport long hair at their own risk. There have been incidents where penalties have been called for mistaken horse-collar tackles when the player was actually well within the rules; pulling hair, not the collar. And overly vicious hair-pull tackles have been flagged and fined for unsportsmanlike conduct.