Football wouldn’t be complete if it weren’t for the cheerleaders rooting their respective teams on throughout the game, but NFL cheerleaders are the best of the best. They bring joy to the game, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t competitive. In fact, they’re just as competitive as the players!
The idea of cheering for an American football team originated in the 1880s at Princeton University. Just a decade prior to that, the first intercollegiate football game took place. From there, cheerleading became a common practice for high schools, colleges, and pro teams.
The first NFL cheerleaders were formed in 1954 when the Baltimore Colts decided to create the first ever NFL cheerleading squad – though they were a part of the team’s marching band at the time. Over the past 70 years, cheerleading has grown in popularity and is a big part of the game.
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Which Teams Have the Most Popular NFL Cheerleaders?
Let’s be honest, football wouldn’t be the same if it weren’t for NFL cheerleaders – not just on the field, but off the field. NFL cheerleaders do much more than just root for their team on gameday. In fact, they have a ton of media responsibilities and are always giving back to the community.
The most popular NFL cheerleaders become local celebrities and usually go on to have successful careers in life after cheerleading. It takes a lot of dedication, commitment, passion, talent, and skill to be an NFL cheerleader and that’s why teams are so selective with their talent.
With that said, not every team has a cheerleading squad. In the NFL today, 24 of the 32 teams have a cheerleading squad and while the other seven might’ve had one in the past, they have since been disbanded. Let’s go ahead and rank the 24 teams that have NFL cheerleaders!
24. Jacksonville Jaguars
Known as the Jacksonville ROAR – and previously, Roar of the Jaguars – the Jaguars’ cheerleading squad currently consists of 32 NFL cheerleaders. The squad was originally formed in 1995, the same year the Jaguars joined the NFL. The squad produces a yearly swimsuit calendar and performs at all home games in TIAA Bank Field.
23. Detroit Lions
The Detroit Lions’ Cheerleaders are a group of 30 female cheerleaders that represent the Detroit Lions. The squad was originally formed in 1963, but disbanded in 1974. In 2016, the organization decided to add an official cheerleading squad for the first time in 42 years. The current captains are Holly, Alexandria, Brittany, and Jenna.
22. Cincinnati Bengals
Known as the Cincinnati Ben-Gals, the Bengals’ cheerleading squad currently consists of 30 female cheerleaders. The squad was established in 1968 when the Bengals were part of the American Football League. They also have a Junior Ben-Gals squad consisting of cheerleaders 5-18 years old.
21. Baltimore Ravens
The Baltimore Ravens’ Cheerleaders are one of the largest cheerleading squads in the NFL. It currently consists of 33 female cheerleaders and 19 male stunt performers. The squad is directed by former Olympic cheerleader Tina Galdieri. The team also has a promotional squad called the Baltimore Ravens’ Playmakers.
20. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ Cheerleaders are a group of 27 coed cheerleaders – the squad currently consists of 22 females and five males. They made their debut in 1978 during the team’s inaugural season in the NFL. The squad was formerly known as the SquashBucklers, but that name hasn’t been used since 1999.
19. Los Angeles Rams
The Los Angeles Rams’ Cheerleaders are a group of 32 coed cheerleaders – the team currently consists of 28 females and 4 males. As of 2020, there were nine rookie cheerleaders added to the squad. They were established in 1974 and were originally known as the Embraceable Ewes, but that name was last used in 1994.
18. Minnesota Vikings
The Minnesota Vikings’ Cheerleaders are a group of 25 female cheerleaders that represent the Vikings’ organization. The squad also hosts a Junior Minnesota Vikings Cheerleaders team with different age groups. The original squad was formed in 1984 after decades of allowing local high schools to perform at all home games.
17. San Francisco 49ers
Known as the Gold Rush, the San Francisco 49ers’ cheerleading squad runs 32 deep – all of them females. Previously known as The Niner Nuggets, the 49ers’ cheerleading squad dates back over 40 years and used to be revered as the only singing cheerleading squad. While that’s no longer true, they’re still very popular among cheerleaders today.
16. Seattle Seahawks
Known as the Seahawks Dancers, the Seattle Seahawks’ cheerleading squad currently consists of 25 coed cheerleaders and dancers – five males and 20 females. They used to be known as the Sea Gals and were originally established in 1976, but they were rebranded in 2019 to fall in line with the evolution of the sport.
15. Arizona Cardinals
The Arizona Cardinals’ Cheerleaders are a group of 27 female cheerleaders that represent the Arizona Cardinals’ organization. Up until 1990, the cheerleading squad was owned and operated by an outside company. They were formerly known as the Phoenix Cardinals Cheerleaders, but changed the name when the team changed theirs to Arizona Cardinals.
14. Carolina Panthers
Known as the TopCats, the Carolina Panthers’ cheerleading squad currently consists of 30 NFL cheerleaders – three of which are male and 27 of which are female. In 2021, the squad welcomed the first three male members to ever join the TopCats – Melvin Sutton, Chris Crawford and Tre’ Booker.
13. New Orleans Saints
Known as the Saints Cheer Krewe, the New Orleans Saints’ cheerleading squad consists of 47 cheerleaders – 11 of which are male and 36 of which are female. They’re one of the largest cheerleading squads in the NFL. Prior to 2021, the squad was known as the Saintsations. Despite being a popular name, the team changed it ahead of the 2021 season.
12. Tennessee Titans
The Tennessee Titans’ Cheerleaders are a group of 28 coed cheerleaders – the squad currently consists of nine male cheerleaders and 19 female cheerleaders. They were originally established in 1975 and were known as the Derrick Dolls, but changed their name when the team relocated to Tennessee.
11. Kansas City Chiefs
The Kansas City Chiefs’ Cheerleaders are a group of 34 coed cheerleaders – the squad currently consists of 33 females and one male. The squad was one of the first to utilize male cheerleaders, has a 25-member Chiefs Rumble squad that acts as a drumline, and has five flag runners.
10. Atlanta Falcons
The Atlanta Falcons’ Cheerleaders are one of the larger cheerleading squads in the NFL with 42 current members – three of which are male and 39 of which are female. The 2021-22 captains are Priscilla W., Shanise L., Krista R., Brianna B., and Jenna M.. They made their debut in 1969 and were called ‘The Falconettes’ at the time.
9. New York Jets
Known as the Jets’ Flight Crew, the New York Jets’ cheerleading squad currently consists of 24 female cheerleaders. They were originally known as the Jets Flag Crew when they were formed in 2006, but were quickly rebranded to the Flight Crew in 2007. They have 11 rookie cheerleaders during the 2021-22 season.
8. Denver Broncos
The Denver Broncos’ Cheerleaders are a group of 26 female cheerleaders that represent the Denver Broncos’ organization. Up until 1985, the group was known by several names – including the Bronkettes, Bronco Belles, and Pony Express. After a seven-year hiatus, the team brought the squad back in 1993 as the Denver Broncos’ Cheerleaders.
7. Miami Dolphins
The Miami Dolphins’ Cheerleaders are a group of 24 female cheerleaders that represent the Miami Dolphins’ organization. Between 1978 and 1983, the squad was known as the Dolphins Starbrites and Dolphins Dolls. They’ve had a number of notable cheerleaders wear the teal and orange through the years.
6. Las Vegas Raiders
The Las Vegas Raiderettes are a group of 30 female cheerleaders that represent the Las Vegas Raiders’ organization. They’ve held the ‘Raiderettes’ name since 1961 when the team was located in Oakland – and even when they relocated to Los Angeles. The current coach is Mandy Voecks and they’ve had numerous notable cheerleaders through the years.
5. New England Patriots
The New England Patriots’ Cheerleaders are a group of 33 coed cheerleaders that represent the New England Patriots’ organization. The squad consists of 30 female cheerleaders and three male cheerleaders. They were originally established in 1971 and once traveled to China to help train dancers for the upcoming Olympics.
4. Houston Texans
The Houston Texans’ Cheerleaders are a group of 30 female cheerleaders that represent the Houston Texans’ organization. They were originally formed in 2002 during the team’s inaugural season in the NFL. Lauri Flynn, wife of Matt Schaub, is a former Texans’ cheerleader. Schaub was the team’s quarterback between 2007 and 2013.
3. Indianapolis Colts
The Indianapolis Colts’ Cheerleaders are a group of 26 female cheerleaders that represent the Indianapolis Colts’ organization. The team was originally established in 1954 and was the first NFL cheerleading squad ever. The squad’s annual Audition Showcase takes place at Decatur Central High School.
2. Philadelphia Eagles
The Philadelphia Eagles’ Cheerleaders are a group of 31 coed cheerleaders that represent the Philadelphia Eagles’ organization. They debuted in 1948 as the Eaglettes, but weren’t an official cheerleading squad at the time. They were also known as the Liberty Belles in the 1970s before settling on their current generic name.
1. Dallas Cowboys
When you think of NFL cheerleaders, the Dallas Cowboys are the first team to come to mind. They revolutionized how NFL cheerleaders looked, acted, and presented themselves. Currently, the Dallas Cowboys’ Cheerleaders consist of 36 female cheerleaders. They’re the most popular due to their reality show, Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders: Making the Team.
Which Teams Don’t Have NFL Cheerleaders?
When you flip on an NFL game, the chances of seeing NFL cheerleaders on the screen within the next five minutes is highly likely. The cameras cut to them just about every commercial break and even in-between plays. If you like football, then you have to like cheerleaders.
With that said, there are currently seven NFL teams that don’t have a cheerleading squad in 2022. Those seven teams are the Buffalo Bills, Pittsburgh Steelers, Green Bay Packers, Cleveland Browns, Chicago Bears, New York Giants, and Los Angeles Chargers.
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That’s not to say those teams won’t welcome a cheerleading squad at some point in the future. In fact, they each had a squad at one point, but was disbanded for a variety of different reasons. With the way NFL cheerleaders are evolving in their community, expect to see more in the near future.
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