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In Sports Commentary

Are NFL cheerleaders a distraction to players...

In Sports Commentary

... or an asset for fans in stadiums and watching games on TV?

Bring it on: The pros and cons of pro cheerleaders


Sexy strumpets. Titillating tarts. Hooters girls with rhythm.

These are your National Football League cheerleaders. And they are, pardon the phrase, a hot topic.

Before anybody gets the wrong idea, let me assure you that I am a firm and passionate believer in equal rights for women.

It began when somebody in the NFL office who has too much time on his hands sent an edict to all of the teams. The league office said home teams were prohibited from having their cheerleaders warm up outside the visiting team's locker room. The league thinks that watching nubile young women dressed in workout clothes stretching their lithe bodies into all kinds of shapes might distract players from taking their steroids and pain pills and thinking about the game plan.

Most of the players who were contacted after the edict said they never even noticed that the cheerleaders were around. But then you have Jesse Palmer, who played backup quarterback for the NFL for several years, mainly with the Giants. He talked about a game against the Dallas Cowboys.

"We started several drives inside our own 20-yard line, with each drive following a TV timeout," he said. "With my back to the end zone in the huddle, I was frustrated because I couldn't make eye contact with any of my teammates as I was trying to call our plays. They were all staring right at the Dallas Cowboy cheerleaders who were performing in the end zone.

"The best line came from our tight end, Visanthe Shiancoe, who interrupted me in the middle of a play call and said, 'Jesse, you really need to turn around and see this.'"

There are two schools of thought about the cheerleaders.

One group thinks that it's terrible to sully the panorama of a wonderful game with nearly naked girls dancing on the sideline.

The other group thinks it's terrific that the panorama of a wonderful game includes nearly naked girls dancing on the sideline.

Part of the problem, of course, is the word "cheerleader."

I think a cheerleader is a young girl with a white sweater with a letter on the front; a matching pleated skirt, white sweat socks and white tennis shoes. She is most likely cute. She has a great smile. She and her other cheerleaders rush to the middle of the field at timeouts and form a letter or something and shout well-known cheers with the crowd joining in. (Give me a G! ... Geeeeee!)

The cheerleaders at NFL games are not that. First of all, they wear the least clothing allowed by law. Some strippers wear more than these girls. They don't wear those cute socks. White boots seem to be the favored footwear. And they certainly don't have any organized cheers that the crowd gets into repeating.

Mainly what they do is bounce up and down, making their assets jiggle. And they crush together in front of a television camera and flash the Number One finger for the camera coming out of or going into a commercial break.

If you watch the Packers on television, you won't see this kind of scene at Lambeau Field.

I called the Packers this week and a nice young man named Sam in the public relations office gleefully informed me that "we do have cheerleaders." Then he admitted they were the cheerleaders from the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay.

I talked with Bob Harlan, the team president, who said he thinks the cheerleaders have fit right into the whole "atmosphere at Lambeau Field."

I think he's right. I remember a number of years ago, when I was covering the Packers. Some bright boy in the front office decided the team should follow the Cowboys and form its own cheerleader squad.

They held tryouts, which I watched, and then began to discuss a name for the troupe. I suggested "Packer-derms" an idea that was met with a lot of ridicule in some circles. The team dropped the idea of cheerleaders.

I will concede that a troupe of young ladies can make appearances around town and help in the overall marketing scheme of your team. The Bucks, with their ever-improving Energee Dance Team, are a good example. They sell excitement and dance.

Teams like the Cowboys and Broncos and Dolphins are mainly selling sex. Which raises the inevitable question:

Is it appropriate for a game like football to be a home to scantily dressed, sexy young women who bake it, shake it and never fake it?

Appropriate? Hell yes.

Talkbacks

captain | Oct. 16, 2007 at 2:56 p.m. (report)

It doesn't take a low IQ to love women. Some guys need to start looking more at the cheerleaders and quit trying to figure out what the quarterback's passer rating is or how to invest your stock portfolio. Get your priorities straight!

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bgoodnow | Oct. 16, 2007 at 1:46 p.m. (report)

Okee dokey, The few times I have been to a live FB game, at least old enough to care about cheerleaders, I have been too far away to see them or much of what was going on on the field. TV has changed the way we veiw sports and FB. The Camera Man has the best seat in the house and is able, if his director will let him, to look at anything. Anything. That is the only time, I think, you get to see what is going on around the field when there is not a play taking place. I attend JV (my son) football games and Varsity games. The cheerleaders are cute, nimble, personable and RAH RAH. The last two words are what Cheerleaders do. They get the audience, the team and anyone else involved in the game. We're loosing, "You go Big Blue". We're winning, "Go Big Blue". That is cheerleading. What you see on TV in Pro Football, is not the same. Did I hear someone say "Dah"

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sandstorm | Oct. 16, 2007 at 1:32 p.m. (report)

Begel, you oughta write for Maxim. you know, low IQ type readers who hang posters of Beer in the their dorm rooms, office cubes, and parent's basements. i can see from the other posts you've already reached some of 'em.

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captain | Oct. 16, 2007 at 12:19 p.m. (report)

I know I couldn't concentrate on football with those "distractions". I'm pretty distracted right now. What was I talking about?

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brewguru | Oct. 16, 2007 at 11:59 a.m. (report)

I had to laugh when you said the local team sells "excitement and dance" and the big bad Cowboys sell "sex". Energee is the same as any other strippers on the sideline of NFL games. Sex. Sex. Sex. And I wouldn't have it any other way.

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