By Bill Foley
Baker Mayfield is no Lee LaBreche.
If there was any question about that, it should have been answered Sunday when the Denver Broncos slapped the handlebar mustache off the second-year Cleveland Browns quarterback.
To the young quarterback’s credit, he figured out as much. Not just anybody can get away with wearing a handlebar.
Nobody pulled the handlebar off better than LaBreche, Butte’s legendary “Big Kahuna” who passed away earlier this year. The former player, coach and announcer had the style and moxie to wear the ’stache like a champ.
Mayfield does not.
Not yet anyway.
After falling 24-19 to LaBreche’s beloved Broncos — and with Lee’s daughter Aleesha sitting in his old seat — Mayfield learned that on the hard way.
So, Mayfield shaved twice Sunday — once before the game and once after the Browns suffered their fourth straight loss. Now he has a mustache with no handlebars.
“I was undefeated before Sunday with the handlebar mustache,” Mayfield said. “So I shaved it off because I didn’t deserve it.”
With the Browns at 2-6, Mayfield definitely does not deserve to wear a handlebar.
You have to have at least a .750 winning percentage on the season to even try to rock the handlebar. That means only Russell Wilson, Drew Brees/Teddy Bridgewater, Aaron Rodgers, Lamar Jackson, Jimmy Garoppolo and Tom Brady can even attempt to go there.
Rodgers shouldn’t because he would look ridiculous. Tom Terrific and Jimmy GQ, of course, would still be dreamy.
Knowing your limitations is a good quality in a young quarterback, and that is why I have faith that, despite a horrid sophomore slump, Mayfield has what it takes to be a top-tier signal caller in the NFL.
Plus, you’ve got to like a guy who points out a stupid question from a reporter when he hears it.
In time the young quarterback will be able to give the handlebar another shot. He just should not try it in the Kahuna’s old stomping grounds.
Last week’s performance showed that I, too, am not handlebar material. I went 8-6 straight up and 7-7 against the spread. That brings me to 86-49 and 64-71 on the season. It also sent me to the barber to restyle my ’stache.
Following are my Week 10 NFL picks. The lines are from ESPN, the network without a single handlebar-worthy guy.
Los Angeles Chargers (minus 1) at Oakland
Philip Rivers looked like a handlebar guy during last week’s glorious upset win over the Packers.
No way he is pulling that off two weeks in a row.
Raiders by 7
Baltimore (minus 10) at Cincinnati
Thanks to the Jets out Dolphining the Dolphins last week, the Bengals are now in the driver’s seat for the top pick.
Ravens by 76
Detroit (plus 2.5) at Chicago
My head says Lions by 10.
Shut up, head.
Bears by 12
Buffalo (plus 2.5) at Cleveland
Mayfield might want to shave the rest of his mustache off after this one.
Williams by 6
Kansas City (no line) at Tennessee
Boy Wonder is back.
Chefs by 14
Atlanta (plus 13) at New Orleans
Falcons coach Dan Quinn shook up his coaching staff this week.
Quinn moved assistant head coach and wide receivers coach Raheem Morris over to the defense to work with the secondary, assistant special teams coach/offensive assistant Bernie Parmalee back to running backs coach, and running backs coach Dave Brock to receivers coach.
That sounds like a team ready to take off on a huge winning streak.
Saints by 54
New York Giants (minus 2.5) at New York Jets
The Jets just lost to the Dolphins, who are trying to lose.
Giants by 17
Arizona (plus 4) at Tampa Bay
The Cardinals almost beat the 49ers last Thursday, and they have 10 days to get ready for the Bucs.
Cards by 6
Miami (plus 10.5) at Indianapolis
Even though they “won” last week, ESPN says the Dolphins have the best chance to “earn” the No. 1 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft.
Apparently, nobody at ESPN has watched the Bengals.
Colts by 27
Carolina (plus 5.0) at Green Bay
Aaron Rodgers called last week’s loss to the Chargers a “good slice of humble pie.”
As nice as it was to see the Packers lose a game they should have won by three touchdowns, it was even nicer to see someone use the world “humble” correctly.
That is a rarity these days.
Packers by 8
Los Angeles Rams (minus 3.5) at Pittsburgh
So, it is looking like the Minkah Fitzpatrick trade was a good one for Pittsburgh. Last week, he took his fourth interceptions since the Week 3 trade. That includes last week’s 96-yard pick 6.
Steelers by 1
Minnesota (plus 3) at Dallas
If you need a black cat to beat the Giants, you are not very good.
Vikings by 5
Seattle (plus 6) at San Francisco
Russell Wilson is coming off a five-touchdown game. Jimmy GQ is coming off a four-touchdown game.
Seahawks by 2
Shaving; Broncos, Patriots, Eagles, Redskins, Jaguars, Texans