NFL cheerleaders have become an integral part of America’s most popular professional sports league. For more than 70 years, NFL cheerleaders have been on the sidelines for some of the league’s biggest and most memorable games. Today, NFL cheerleaders continue to be an enormous part of the gameday experience.
History of NFL Cheerleaders
The Baltimore Colts were the first team to have NFL cheerleaders. In 1954, the cheerleaders joined forces with the Baltimore Colts Marching Band. By the 1960s, many teams added cheerleading squads, including the St. Louis Cardinals, Atlanta Falcons, Green Bay Packers, Kansas City Chiefs, Minnesota Vikings and Washington Redskins.
Easily the most recognizable of all NFL cheerleaders are on the sidelines for the Dallas Cowboys, who have had a cheerleading squad every year since their inception in 1960. The Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders have appeared in everything from calendars and movies to reality television. The Cowboys’ squad is largely considered to be the gold standard when it comes to NFL cheerleaders.
Several teams use nicknames for their respective cheerleading squads, including:
- Carolina Topcats (Panthers)
- Chicago Honey Bears (Bears)
- Cincinnati Ben-Gals (Bengals)
- Jacksonville ROAR (Jaguars)
- New Orleans Saintsations (Saints)
- New York Jets Flight Crew
- Oakland Raiderettes (Raiders)
- San Francisco Gold Rush (49ers)
- Seattle Sea Gals (Seahawks)
NFL cheerleaders have been entertaining American troops for decades. Cheerleaders from the Cowboys, 49ers and many more regularly appear as part of USO shows for United States Armed Forces members serving overseas.
In addition to their regular duties during practice, games and training camp, NFL cheerleaders regularly appear at schools and charity functions around the country. Many teams also release calendars featuring their cheerleaders every year.
Teams without NFL Cheerleaders
There are several teams that do not have NFL cheerleaders roaming their sidelines. As of the 2014 season, the New York Giants, Buffalo Bills, Chicago Bears, Cleveland Browns, Detroit Lions, Green Bay Packers and Pittsburgh Steelers do not have cheerleaders.