There's a simple reason that very few of the busts in the Pro Football Hall of Fame are smiling.

Blair Buswell, the Canton, Ohio, institution's chief sculptor, told the New Yorker that it's quite difficult to carve out lifelike teeth. When he tried to do it for John Elway in 2004, the Broncos legend complained that his pearly whites looked like Chiclets.

But Michael Strahan, the former New York Giants sack master and current co-host of Live! with Kelly and Michael, was insistent on having his mega-watt grin included in his bust. Strahan's smile, of course, includes perhaps the most famous tooth gap in sports.

“If I close my mouth, people won’t know who it is," Strahan told the New Yorker.

Buswell allows players certain liberties with their likenesses -- a fuller head of hair, for example -- but normally he discourages players from having a smiling bust. But Strahan's gap tooth has become part of his persona, and he was set on including it in the bust.

"I want to be the smiling giant," Strahan said.

Buswell complied with Strahan's request and went about crafting Strahan's bust with the gap. Buswell, who lives in Salt Lake City, traveled to New York City in March to measure Strahan's face. Strahan sat for four hours as Buswell worked to perfect each detail of his face.

And much to the relief of everyone involved, Buswell's work came out splendidly.


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