National Football League Cheerleading, or
Cheerleading, is a professional cheerleading organization
in the United
States. 26 of the 32 NFL teams
include a cheerleading squad in their franchise.
Cheerleaders are a popular attraction that can give
a team more coverage/airtime, popular local support,
and increased media image. In 1954, the Baltimore
the first NFL team to have cheerleaders. They were
part of the Baltimore
Colts Marching Band.
Most NFL cheerleading squads are a part-time job.
Often, cheerleaders have completed or are attending
and continue on to other careers after cheering for
one to four seasons.
The members participate in practice, training camp,
games, appearances, photo shoots, and charity
events. Apart from their main duties of cheering
during the football games, the cheerleaders have
many other responsibilities. Nearly every team
member is available for appearances at schools,
events, conferences, etc., for a set fee.
An anticipated annual event is the release of each
squad's calendar, featuring members for each month
in swimsuits, lingerie, or uniforms.
As well as being a mainstay of American football
culture, the cheerleaders are one of the biggest
entertainment groups to regularly perform for the United
States Armed Forces overseas
with performances and tours being enlisted by the USO.
Teams send their variety
show, an elite group of their best members, to
perform combination shows of dance, music, baton
twirling, acrobatics, gymnastics,
and more. In February 2007, the Buffalo
sent a squad of eight along with their choreographer
into the war zone of Iraq. In 1996, the San
Francisco 49ers Cheerleaders and
their director helicoptered into the war inflicted
country of Bosnia with the USO and the U.S. Army.
The U.S. troops in Korea have been entertained
during the holiday season with the USO's Bob Hope
Tour. Over the years, the tour has featured NFL
cheerleaders from the Dallas
The first "Battle of the NFL Cheerleaders" was
held in 1979 in Hollywood, Florida. Two cheerleaders
from each cheerleading team compete against other
mini-teams in various athletic events. The events
include kayaking, 100 yard dash, obstacle courses,
and other events. The Minnesota Vikings Cheerleaders
took home the title in 1979. In 1980, it was held in
Atlantic City, New Jersey and the Washington
Redskinettes were the champions. The winners were
Shiona Baum and Jeannie Fritz, and each received a
car as the grand prize. The competition was
resurrected in 2006 by the NFL
Network, and was called NFL
Cheerleader Playoffs. The
playoffs were taped between July 17 and July 21,
2006 at Six
Flags New England in
Agawam, Massachusetts. Two-person teams of
cheerleaders from 25 of the NFL's 32 teams
participated in a four-event series of competitions.
The first two events tested the cheerleaders'
athletic abilities in events like the 100-yard dash,
kayaking, tandem cycling, and the obstacle course.
The third event was a trivia challenge called "Know
Your NFL." The final competition was a one-minute
dance routine, similar to what they normally perform
on NFL sidelines. The San Diego Chargers team (Casie
and Shantel) defeated the Atlanta Falcons and St.
Louis Rams squads to win the overall championship.
The 3 teams finished in a three-way tie, with 210
points. The Chargers were declared the winners based
on winning the dance competition.