The Pittsburgh Steelerettes were the first squad in the, serving as the cheerleaders for the
during the 1960s. The squad eventually disbanded, and the Steelers to this day are among the few NFL teams that do not have cheerleaders. From their beginning in until the squad\’s demise in, all members of the Steelerettes were full-time students at in,. Robert Morris was a small Junior College without a football team who had unofficially adopted the Steelers as \”their team\”. An administrator at the College, William Day, also served as the entertainment coordinator for the Steelers. It was his idea to hold tryouts at the College and select a group of young coeds to perform on the field, in hopes of improving lackluster ticket sales to Steelers games. At tryouts, candidates were evaluated on coordination, personality, gymnastics, and appearance. Squad members took a basic football test to prove that they would know when to cheer, and were required to maintain a 2. 0. At games, they performed choreographed jazz routines to live music, performed by and bandleader. They practiced in the school cafeteria or in front of their dormitory.
Steelerettes received one free ticket per game as pay. During the 1962 season, the Steelerettes were accompanied by a squad of the NFL\’s first male cheerleaders, also Robert Morris students, known as the Ingots. The men fired a cannon filled with 12-gauge blanks when the Steelers scored, wearing uniforms of black slacks, white or gold shirts and hard hats. The male group disbanded at the end of one season. By the late 1960s, Robert Morris\’ student body had grown and the school now had its own football team. The decision to disband was a joint decision between the and Robert Morris. Apparently, the cheerleaders wished to wear outfits that were more \”modern\” and \”daring\”. In response, the owner fired the team. The last squad of Steelerettes left the field after the, the first year of head coach and. Nearly 60 women participated in the squad over their eight seasons. the team still does not have cheerleaders, in the team unveiled its new. Listed by name, with corresponding NFL football team. As of 2016, six teams do not have cheerleading squads:, and the. The Packers do, however, use a collegiate squad to cheer at home games. between the Steelers and the Packers in February 2011 was the first time a Super Bowl featured no cheerleaders.
The Browns and the Giants are the only NFL teams that have never had cheerleaders, while the other aforementioned teams have had cheer squads in the past. The Buffalo Bills endorsed the officially independent from 1966 to 2013; when several cheerleaders sued both the Bills and the Bills organizations, the Jills suspended operations. Teams of \”unofficial\” cheerleaders began emerging in 2010 for NFL teams that don\’t have their own dance squad. These unofficial cheerleaders aren\’t sanctioned by the NFL or any franchise in the NFL and therefore are not allowed to perform at games, represent the football team at any outside functions, or use any of the team\’s branding or trademarked colors on their uniforms. The teams are sponsored by local businesses, and the cheerleaders perform prior to the game, at tailgate parties, and other local events. Some also attend the local NFL games in uniform, and sit together in their block of season ticket seats.
Their audition process, costuming, and choreography are very similar to official NFL cheer teams. Some also produce an annual swimsuit calendar, just like the legitimate cheerleaders. All of the independent teams hope at some point to be embraced by the NFL as \”official\” cheerleaders of their local teams. The Detroit Pride Cheerleaders were the first independent professional team, put together in August 2010 to support the Lions. However, as the squad was not officially recognized by the Lions, it could not use the Lions\’ logos nor colors. In 2016, the Lions started an official cheerleading squad. The Gotham City Cheerleaders were organized in August 2011 to support all New York sports, but are most closely associated with the Giants. The team has also been known as the New York Unofficials, the Unofficial Dancers of the New York Giants, and the Gothamвs Team Blue Army Dancers. The Cleveland Spirit Cheerleaders were created in September 2012 to support the Browns as a test team to attract fan interest. This cheer team was created by the same people responsible for the Detroit Pride.