Red hair criticism of TCU's Andy Dalton made Matt Birk 'chuckle'

April 27, 2011|By Matt Vensel

Ravens center Matt Birk appeared on "The Norris & Davis Show" on 105.7 The Fan this morning and chatted about the NFL lockout and how it affects the players' ability to make a living. I'm sick of hearing about all that. But Steve Davis getting Birk's take on red-headed quarterbacks? That got my attention on my morning commute.

In case you missed it, here's some context: Peter King chatted with an NFL scout about TCU quarterback Andy Dalton for a recent Sports Illustrated story about the inexact science of selecting a signal-caller in the draft. The scout said that his organization has wondered if red hair could be a factor when evaluating Dalton.

“I even read something that some people don’t like the quarterback Andy Dalton because he has red hair, which, personally, I was very offended by,” Birk, a red-head like Dalton, joked while discussing the draft's first-round quarterback prospects.

Later in the interview, Davis circled back and asked Birk if he could think of any red-headed quarterbacks who have had success in the NFL.

“First of all, I think red-heads are only like one percent of the population,” Birk said. “So when you’re talking about one percent of the population, and that coupled with the fact that … there are 32 starting quarterbacks in the world, and then we’re talking about good quarterbacks…”

Davis interrupted, asking rhetorically “what percentage of the red-headed people are even mildly athletic?”  

“The only one I can think of is [Olympic snowboarder] Shaun White,” Birk said. “That’s the only guy that comes to mind. That’s it. Red-heads aren’t known for their athletic prowess. But I just had to chuckle when I read that story because I’ll guarantee you that the anonymous scout that said that, he was serious. The whole scouting system has almost become ridiculous, the things they analyze and put these guys through.”

Birk mentioned the Giants, whom he said made him take a 500-question test when he came out for the draft in 1998. One of the questions was "True or false: I like tall women."

"That’s the system," Birk said. "That’s what they do and I guess if they’re going to invest in some of these guys tens of millions of dollars then I guess they can ask whatever questions they want or have whatever opinions about their hair color."

So how did Birk answer the tall women question?

"I crossed out the ‘t’ in 'tall' and checked ‘true,’” he said.

Well played, Harvard grad. Well played.

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