A Brief History of NFL Cheerleaders

by : David Court

The history of NFL cheerleaders goes back to the 1960s when the Baltimore Colts (now the Indianapolis Colts) had formed their very own cheerleading squad. It was the first team to have an official cheerleading squad out of all the other NFL teams. A few other teams decided to have their own cheerleaders as well. NFL cheerleading was nothing like it is today but when the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders came around in their revealing outfits and dance routines, cheerleading became incredibly popular in sports entertainment.

The manager of the Dallas Cowboys knew that women could have an important role in promoting their team and their public image. He first tried to put some models out on the field for the audience. The models couldn't survive the heat during the games and turned out to be a failure in terms of entertaining the sports fans. Determined to make his idea work, the Dallas Cowboys manager thought of a brand new concept at the time. This concept was to bring athletic dancers to perform choreographed routines on the sidelines. He held auditions where women were selected for their dance skills, looks, and style. The Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders were formed and the squad took to the field their custom-made uniforms and dance routines. The sports fans loved this and the NFL cheerleaders skyrocketed with popularity at Super Bowl X where America's millions of people sitting at home saw a glimpse of these newborn stars on television.

With their complex dance routines and pretty looks, the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders created the new image of NFL cheerleaders. More NFL teams decided to take on a cheerleading squad of their own in order to increase their team's exposure to the public and media. The latest NFL cheerleading squad to be formed was the "New York Flight Crew" (formed in 2007) who cheer for the New York Jets. With this spurt in popularity, the cheerleaders made guest appearances on television shows, paid events, charity events, and also overseas performances for the US military troops. The NFL cheerleaders contributed greatly to the public image of the NFL greatly as the media began to recognize their presence.

NFL cheerleaders were no longer just dancers on the field but also participated off the field to heighten the public image of the NFL teams. Though the stereotype of cheerleaders is that of a simple-minded, dancing girl, bear in mind that they are actually contributors to the community as well as sophisticated entertainers in the field of sports entertainment.