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Local Steelers fans beard the nation

| Thursday, Feb. 3, 2011

Ever looked in the mirror and imagined how your face would look with Brett Keisel's glorious beard?

What about your wife or husband• Your baby• How about your dog?

Thanks to three local — and beardless — Steelers fans, you can stop wondering. is a website they created that allows visitors to upload their pictures and juxtapose Keisel's beard on themselves and others.

“A few weeks ago, I was looking to put up a new Facebook profile pic, and I had one of me with a goofy mustache that I had Photoshopped onto my face as I wore a Steelers jersey,” said website co-creator Nick Cobler, 37, of Westview. “So I figured I'd take it up a level and cut out a Keisel beard and apply that and make it my pic.

“I laughed so hard when I posted it. I thought, ‘How great would it be if everyone could do that — and sport the super beard of the Super Bowl?'”

Super great, as it turns out.

The site made its debut Jan. 15, during the home playoff game against the Baltimore Ravens. As of this morning, it had registered 247,000 hits with 11,000 downloaded images of regular folks, plus some animals, sporting Keisel's headline-making beard.

“It was a simple idea,” said co-creator Dave Smith, 28, of Cranberry. “We didn't expect this much attention.”

John Campbell, 46, of South Fayette was the third site creator.

The allure is obvious: The NFL Network recently crowned Keisel's crop of facial hair as the best beard in the league — ever.

“He has a fabulous beard,” Smith said.

Thanks to the site, we know what President Barack Obama, Sidney Crosby, the Statue of Liberty and the presidents on Mt. Rushmore look like with a Keisel beard.

“A lot of attractive women also have been bearded,” Smith said. “I'm not sure if that's them or their boyfriends doing it.”

Keisel approves.

“I think it's hilarious,” the defensive lineman said through his lavish locks Tuesday in Dallas. “A lot of them are putting them on their dog or their baby or something like that. It's pretty funny.”

The creators make no money off the site. None of them have beards themselves, but are considering adopting the look. Or, at least, trying.

“I could probably grow a beard,” Smith said. “But not one of Keisel's magnitude.”

Every image is screened before being uploaded on the site because Keisel's beard will not be used for naughty shenanigans.

After all, Smith said, “You have to respect the beard.”

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