The NFL Playoffs are upon us, and while rightfully the fan focus is on the players and coaches, in and around the stadiums during games attention will also be paid to the cheerleaders to entertain and rile the crowd.
That is, after all, their gametime role.
According to their online rosters, there are five current NFL Playoff teams with male cheerleaders, including the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Los Angeles Rams and the Philadelphia Eagles, as well as the top seeds in the AFC — the Baltimore Ravens — and the NFC — the San Francisco 49ers.
The Ravens, with the best record in the NFL, have more male cheerleaders on their roster — 19 — than all the others combined: 13.
There is one other big difference between the Ravens and the rest of the league: How the “cheerleaders” are used. While other teams incorporate men into dance routines, the Ravens male cheerleaders are there mostly to toss the women up in the air. They’ve used men in this support capacity for many years, making the women the faces of the squad.
The guys with the Rams and 49ers are out there moving and dancing with the women. It is a different “thing” when the men are used to shake their pom poms.
Four of this year’s NFL Playoff teams don’t have any cheerleaders at all: Buffalo Bills, Pittsburgh Steelers, Cleveland Browns and the Green Bay Packers. However, the Packers do use cheerleaders from the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay and St. Norbert College during home games, according to the Press Times of Green Bay.
The Rams drew headlines two years ago when the team competed in Super Bowl LVI with five men on the cheer roster. This was a couple years after they were the first team to have any male cheerleaders for the Super Bowl.
The Rams currently have seven male cheerleaders.
Outsports has featured various gay male NFL cheerleaders in the past, including the 49ers’ Jonathan Romero.
Kyle Tanguay, the Eagles’ first male cheerleader, has moved on from the team, though the Eagles currently have two.