With the season rapidly approaching, we are smart to remind ourselves that talent on the football fields every Sunday is not solely relegated to the action and players on the field. Not at all. In fact, some of the best talent to be witnessed is beaming to us from the sidelines in often well-organized teams of beautiful, lovely, electric and gifted women that cheer on our teams on game day. Their magic happens outside the lines and between the whistles.
Their formations are simple yet their choreography is more graceful than a Lynn Swann falling Super Bowl catch. They are gathered in groups along each of the four sides of our stadiums and give us something wonderful to witness during often long, annoying and plentiful TV time outs. They are a beacon of light to any live attendee should they be so inclined to avert their eyes from friends, family, copious advertisements or any other largely unworthy distraction garnering for their attention.
I speak, of course, of NFL cheerleaders. These fantastic women put it out all on the line for us each and every game day, giving us hours of entertainment under often difficult conditions like rain, sleet, snow and oppressive September heat waves. Their outfits often fail to cover most of their bodies and yet these real American heroes cheer out their hearts for our teams in between plays and solemnly stand in allegiance and rapt attention during gameplay in the hopes our teams will produce an advantageous outcome on this and every possession.
Here are our votes for the top 15 NFL cheerleading squads. May they grace us with fluttering skirts, glowing smiles and shimmering pom-poms throughout this upcoming season.
15 New England Patriots
We’ll start off with some of these cold weather teams because, frankly, it’s just not possible to have THAT hot of a team when your cheerleading roster spends more than half the season wearing leggings and down jackets. It also doesn’t help when you’ve got some legit talent there but your website only features about 6 out of 30 pictures of them. Get it together, Patriots website. First on the field, last in social media. We knew Bill Belichick was private with the media, but this is ridiculous!
14 Philadelphia Eagles
When you first attempt to enter the Philadelphia Eagles cheerleader website, you get a warning that you must make sure you want to enter because the site contains ‘mature content’. This feels exciting! Then you click to enter and it’s kinda just okay. Philadelphia was once rated the ugliest US city but the squad has some certifiable winners in there and the website provides a nicely laid out ‘approval matrix’ of sorts with every cheerleaders' likes and dislikes.
13 San Francisco 49ers
It’s California, baby. It’s gonna be full of beautiful women no matter how you shake it and so we’re putting the Gold Rush squad right here. They're all lovely women and so much variety across the board that it’s impossible to be disappointed in watching their performances. They are sure to help any Niners fan get over the Aldon Smith release and their website is chock full of great content. A team so rich in history should have a great squad and the Niners don't disappoint... in this area at least.
12 Carolina Panthers
This may largely be a sort of ‘legacy pick’ if you will. Back in 2005, two Panthers cheerleaders got drunk and did all sorts of crazy stuff in a bar bathroom. It was big news. Men all across the land quietly muttered ‘nice’ upon reading the headlines during that crisp fall morning. The current Topcats squad are no slouches as well – though they have moved past those depraved ways of the early aughts.
11 Denver Broncos
The Broncos cheerleaders are lovely, classy ladies. Here they are in Mexico! The Mile High City has mile high legs as well. What an aptly named city. But why does it have to get cold?! Their outfits are impressive though, even when temperatures drop. They’ve adopted this sort of nearly cowgirl-esque look that features a long sleeve vest type thing, some kind of halter top, frilly skirt thing and mid-knee boots. I mean, Jesus, that’s awesome. Special shout out to Jozie M. (Call me)
10 Arizona Cardinals
Arizona is roughly 5,000 degrees from April until October or so and it totally ties into the cheerleading squad’s lovely ladies. Feel free to safely peruse through any member of the 2015 squad. There is top-notch talent there and the outfits they employ are a tasteful mix of classy and sexy. I applaud the person in charge of all cheerleader stuff for the Arizona Cardinals. Bang up job!
9 Tennessee Titans
Who doesn’t love Southern girls with their mix of sassy yet wholesome vibes? More than any other squad on our list, the Titans cheerleaders employ a number of obtuse spellings that include ‘Jessi’, ‘Bri’, ‘Brittni’ and ‘Evony’. Phonics are a big part of putting together the Tennessee Titans cheerleaders and we have no issue with this whatsoever. Now, if only the team on the field would give these lovely ladies something to cheer about, all would be right with Tennessee.
8 Jacksonville Jaguars
Jacksonville is not a good city by any means. It has about zero cool things about it. Good luck finding anything relatively cool within the dork world of The Landing, Riverside or any other neighborhood. On top of that, they have the Jaguars, but we won't throw that in their face. Let's focus on the positives. Their cheerleader are A-OK. They are called ‘The Roar’. They seem very nice! The leopard print on their outfits looks a lot better than on the Jags' uniforms.
7 Oakland Raiders
This is a classic NFL cheerleading team that featured famous alumni dating back to the Paula Abdul-L.A. Raider days. The Raiderettes are always a gold-standard as far as the NFL is concerned and the 2015 squad is no exception. Major ‘hey-boo’ to Kelly from this year’s team. Thank you for making a very consistently terrible team much better, Raiderettes. You are a cheerleader playoff team no matter how crappy the actual Raiders are.
6 Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Though not as celebrated as their sea-faring breathren, the Tampa Bay Bucs' cheerleading squad is also simply fantastic. They’re Florida girls so they get year-round tans and year-round beach weather that requires hard work off the field and in the gym. Special shout-out to the uniform designers that went with the kinda faux-stitched top thing. It’s all about the details, people. They made the 2-14 Bucs of 2014 worth watching.
5 Houston Texans
The Houston Texans cheerleaders don’t care to copy the outfits of their more-famous in-state rival. No. Freakin’. Way. They are going with tube tops and tiny shorts. Furthermore, man, they are going to flood their website with all types of amazing content. Wanna see the Texans gals cover Carly Rae Jepsen? Here it is. What? You’re tired of Carly Rae Jepsen covers? You won’t be anymore, I promise you that. I think I saw twins in there. WHAT?
4 New Orleans Saints
Ah, the Big Easy. If you remember anything that happened during a night out in the French Quarter, then you are doing it wrong. One thing you want to remember about New Orleans, though, is their beautiful cheerleaders. I mean, they have a girl named Alixx. Alixx! How hot is that? Drew Brees and the Saints may no longer have Jimmy Graham but at least they have these lovely ladies to soothe their souls after every three and out.
3 San Diego Chargers
2 Miami Dolphins
These girls are no.1 in my heart but I must try to be objective. Who can forget Maxim’s expose into their 2006 squad? Lilly Robbins alone made me want to re-evaluate my entire life. The white outfits with the vests, boots, skirts – all so very classic and awesome in every way. On top of all their history of greatness, it’s freakin’ MIAMI. They should cancel HBO’s “Ballers” and just do a show about these ladies. They’re way better than their 7-9 forever counterparts, anyway.
1 Dallas Cowboys
Much like ‘Thriller’ is at the top of every video countdown, there is no denying the history, staying power and might of the Dallas Cheerleaders squad. These are beautiful Texas girls wearing outfits that are the gold standard for all cheerleading squads. They are so popular that they have their own reality show called “Making The Team” on CMT. A quick scroll through their squad reveals knockout after knockout after knockout. The team’s owner may be an annoying, depraved troll but they sure know how to assemble a cheerleading squad.