National Football League Cheerleaders
Cheerleaders have their big leagues, too. NFL cheerleaders are considered the creme de la creme of professional cheerleading, making public appearances and posing for swimsuit calendars every year.
A cheerleader for a National Football League franchise may not receive that much monetary compensation, but she will be able to travel the world on behalf of her team and have the prestige of being the one of the best and most glamorous cheerleaders in the world.
Football Babble provides articles on the NFL cheerleading programs of 30 different NFL teams. Two professional teams — the New York Giants and Detroit Lions — have never had official cheerleaders. Read about those other thirty teams, where you will learn about cheerleading history and the team’s respective junior cheerleader programs.
Originally known as The Falconettes, this squad first debuted during the 1960s. Besides being available for personal appearances, the Atlanta Falcons Cheerleaders also sponsor a junior cheerleading program for girls ages five to sixteen.
The Ravens cheerleading squad is actually made up of a coed stunt team and all-female dance team. There are over 50 members in all, plus a special public relations group known as The Playmakers.
From 1983 until 1986, the squad even included a few male cheerleaders, but this was discontinued after complaints from fans. An Ambassador Squad is also selected each year, and these young women specialize in fan interaction.
The TopCats Cheerleaders represent the NFLs Carolina Panthers franchise at each home game.
Candidates for the squad must be at least 21 years of age and have a high school diploma or GED. The TopCats are made up of women from various backgrounds, including teachers, physical therapists and social workers.
From 1976 until 1985, the Chicago Honey Bears represented the Bears organization on the sidelines. Put together by Cathy Core, the group was disbanded following the teams Super Bowl win in 1985. Since that time, many fans have referred to the Bears lackluster playoff performances as The Curse of the Honey Bears.
The Cincinnati Ben-Gals debuted in 1968, and theyve been involved with the team and community ever since. Whether making appearances in the Cincinnati area, visiting U.S. troops abroad or getting proposed to by Chad Johnson, the Ben-Gals are an important part of the Bengals franchise.
While the Cleveland Browns once had an all-female marching band, they have never used the services of professional cheerleaders. Some attribute this to the cold temperatures in Cleveland, while most assume its due to the Browns old-school attitude towards football.
The most famous cheerleading squad in football, the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders are also known by the nickname of Americas Sweethearts. Making their debut in 1972, they replaced the CowBelles & Beaux, a group of coed high school cheerleaders. Their famous uniforms were designed by Dallas resident Paula Van Waggoner, and the costumes remain instantly recognizable around the globe.
After 17 years without cheerleaders, the Denver Broncos started their latest squad in 1993. Before that, the team was cheered on by the Bronkettes, the Bronco Belles and the Pony Express. The latter was disbanded after several members posed topless for Playboy.
Detroit Lions Cheerleaders
Formed in 1929, the Detroit Lions originally played under the name of the Portsmouth Spartans. Hoping to cultivate a hard-nosed football image, the Lions have never has professional cheerleaders.
Originally named the Green Bay Packerettes, they would later be called The Golden Girls and then the Green Bay Sideliners.
The Houston Texans have been around since 2002, and so have their cheerleaders. The girls are heavily involved in community work, and the position usually requires around 25 hours per week during the season. Each member also takes part in an annual swimsuit calendar shoot.
The Baltimore Colts started a cheerleading squad in 1954, and they were the first team to have a group of professionals. While the team later relocated to Indianapolis, the girls just kept right on cheering. They have now been in continuous operation for over 25 years.
Since they cheer for the Jaguars, the teams cheerleaders are appropriately known as the Jacksonville ROAR. Debuting the same year as the franchise (1995), the Jacksonville Roar squad is traditionally made up of around 30 athletic young women.
The original Chiefs Cheerleaders of the 1960s were a coed squad, but they were eventually replaced by the all-girl Chiefettes in the 1970s. In the 80s, they were dubbed the Chiefs Cheerleaders, and that name seems to have stuck. The Red & Gold Girls also serve as a spirit squad at Chiefs home games.
When the Miami Dolphins started playing in 1966, they were cheered on by the Dolphin Dolls. In 1978, they were replaced with the current squad, The Dolphin Starbrites. Famous former Starbrites include Suzy Tavarez, Brittany Freeman and Shannon Ford.
The Minnesota Vikings Cheerleaders appeared in 1984, replacing the St. Louis Parkettes. The squad puts out an annual swimsuit calendar, and several hundred women audition each year for a spot on the team.
Since their creation in 1977, the New England Patriots Cheerleaders have entertained U.S. troops in over 25 countries around the globe. The minimum age for acceptance is 18, and an average of 300 young ladies audition each year. The cheerleaders and the team mascot, Pat Patriot, can all be booked for public appearances.
The Saintsations were created in 1987, but the team had also had the Angels, Bonnes Amiees, Saints Dancers and Mamselles prior to that. Beginning in 1989, the squad also produces an annual swimsuit calendar.
New York Giants Cheerleaders
Since they wish to project a gritty football image, the New York Giants franchise has never used the services of professional cheerleaders. Dont look for this to change anytime in the near future.
After 47 years without cheerleaders, the New York Jets finally got them in 2007 with the creation of the New York Flight Crew. The Jets organization, however, insists that they are flag girls and not cheerleaders. The 10-girl group proved immensely popular in their debut year, and the roster size will be increased for future seasons.
Also known as Footballs Fabulous Females, the Oakland Raiderettes first appeared in 1961. A Junior Raiderettes Program is held annually, as well as a High School Spirit Explosion. Fitness instructor Kiana Tom is one of their most famous alumni.
The Pittsburgh Steelerettes debuted in 1961, and they would cheer for the team until 1969. Unfortunately, they werent around to see the Steelers win four Super Bowls in the 70s, and the team is still without a group of professional cheerleaders.
Founded in 1990, the Charger Girls are managed by the same company which handles the cheerleaders for the Los Angeles Clippers, the Sacramento Kings and the San Francisco 49ers. Each year, the Charger Girls donate over 1,000 hours of their time for public appearances.
Around 400 women audition each year for just 40 spots. To audition, a woman must be at least 18 years of age.
The Sea Gals first appeared in 1976, the year the Seattle Seahawks made their NFL debut as an expansion team.
Sea Gals receive an hourly wage for their services, and they also get two free tickets to each home game.
For this reason (among others), many hardcore Seahawks fans dream of dating a Sea Gal.
While they dont have a team mascot, the Rams do have a group of cheerleaders. Formed in 1974, the St. Louis Rams Cheerleaders have included Lisa Guerrero, Jenilee Harrison and Dawn Gilliam.
The Buccaneers entered the league in 1976, and so did their cheerleaders. Originally known as the SwashBucklers, they would become the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Cheerleaders in 1999. The squad makes around 300 public appearances per year.
The Tennessee Titans Cheerleaders were formed in 1975, originally calling themselves the Derrick Dolls. They changed to their current name after the franchise re-located to Tennessee. Girls from six to fourteen can take part in a Junior Cheer Program held annually by the Titans Cheerleaders.
Also known as The First Ladies of Football, the Washington Redskins Cheerleaders have been around since 1962. When they debuted, they were known as the Redskinettes and wore Indian-themed costumes. An all-female group called The Ambassadors are also selected yearly, and its their duty to focus on fan interaction at tailgate parties and in luxury boxes.