Football and cheerleaders go together like peanut butter and jelly, macaroni and cheese, chocolate, marshmallow and graham crackers – well – you get the point. Cheerleading squads are so intertwined with football that it's difficult to imagine one without the other. Though strangely enough, of the 32 NFL teams, there are still 6 who don't have squads – the Pittsburgh Steelers, New York Giants, Green Bay Packers, Detroit Lions, Chicago Bears, and Cleveland Browns. Given the disastrous years some of those teams have had over the last few seasons, you'd think they'd want to run a cheerleading squad out there just to give the fans some distraction from the abomination they're putting on the field. But that's neither here nor there, we suppose.
Cheerleaders are more than just pom-pom shaking pretty faces though. Well, they are that, but they're much more than that. The squads are often heavily involved in their communities, performing for the troops on the USO tours, developing apps to keep the squads and their teams tightly connected with their fans, and perform a ton of charity work. Some cheerleaders have gone on to be reporters, actresses, models (of course), beauty pageant winners (also, of course), professional athletes, singers, and even stand up comedians. A couple of Indianapolis Colts cheerleaders even recently had their heads shaved to honor coach Chuck Pagano – who was diagnosed with cancer – and to raise money for cancer research. The pair combined to raise more than $20,000 dollars with that one act.
CNBC.com ranks the leagues cheerleading squads annually, based on a number of factors that include of course, their “hotness,” but also take into account other factors like community service, use of technology to push their “brand,” and charitable works, among other things. Michele Crawford-Carnegie, a seven year veteran of the Atlanta Falcons cheerleading team, and the owner of the Alumni Cheerleaders social networking site, gave her power rankings of the 2013 NFL cheerleading squads. And she picked some good ones, let us tell you.
With that in mind then, here are the NFL's top 10 cheerleading squads.
10 Miami Dolphins Cheerleaders
9 Denver Broncos Cheerleaders
8 Washington Redskins Cheerleaders
7 Indianapolis Colts Cheerleaders
6 Houston Texans Cheerleaders
5 Philadelphia Eagles Cheerleaders
4 Atlanta Falcons Cheerleaders
3 Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders
2 New England Patriots Cheerleaders
1 Oakland Raiderettes
Aside from the Cowboys' cheerleaders, the Raiderettes are easily one of the most iconic and recognizable cheer squads in the history of the league. Though they've not had much to really cheer about since 2002, the Raiderettes have kept up the spirit and the enthusiasm for the team. They are heavily involved in the community and log a lot of hours doing charitable service and public appearances. Said Crawford-Carnegie, "Their performances are exciting and thrilling to watch. Their hard work is obvious at every game, and that kind of commitment is very special.”
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