Thursday, October 11, 2007

Eagles Cheerleaders Tackle Breast Cancer 

Posted by James at 2:34 PM ET

The Philadelphia Eagles Cheerleaders were at Lincoln Financial Field last night for a rare full squad appearance.

According to Cheerleader Director Barbara Zaun the event actually served two purposes. Fans rarely, if ever, get to see and meet the entire squad, she explained. At a game you may see the whole squad, but the cheerleaders are on the field and there's no fan interaction. Other times at events, fans can meet the cheerleaders, but it's usually just 2 or 4 cheerleaders. This was a chance to meet all 38 cheerleaders in person. It was also a chance to raise money help raise money to fight breast cancer. Fans made donations and purchased related merchandise. Since the Eagles have teamed up with Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, over $750,000 has been raised.

Eagles Cheerleaders
Victoria, Vittoria and Amy at Lincoln Financial Field

More of my photos in the gallery.

And even more photos at PhiladelphiaEagles.com

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Miss Argo 2007 Finalists: Nicole 

Posted by Sasha at 1:34 PM ET

Toronto Argonauts: The finalists for Miss Argo 2007 have written a short piece on what it means to them to be a member of the Blue Thunder, as well as a finalist for Miss Argo. The final round of voting for Miss Argo begins this week - email missargo@argonauts.on.ca with your vote for who should be crowned Miss Argo 2007!

Here is the entry from Nicole

Dance is more than movement. Through dance, I have learned the importance of discipline, persistence, and sacrifice. What is more, wanting to be a better dancer became an important focus that would gradually work itself into other avenues of my life such as school. I am an honours university student, studying two entertaining art forms: writing and journalism. My career aspirations have also shifted due to my affiliation with the Toronto Argonauts and the Blue Thunder cheerleaders. I have become more of a football fan and that has increased my knowledge and awareness of the way sports impact this community and its constituents. I am now volunteering at my university’s radio station as a correspondent for the school's athletic department.

As a member of the Blue Thunder cheerleaders, I am placed in a position to lead and inspire others, especially children. Working with the Boys and Girls Clubs of Ontario and volunteering with the Argo’s Huddle-Up Against Bullying program, I have been granted a unique opportunity to motivate and encourage youth to find focus and direction in their lives. These assignments bring me a great deal of satisfaction and pride because I too have been affected by bullying.

I am very grateful for the opportunities that cheerleading has afforded me. If I am selected as Miss Argo 2007, I will continue my efforts to celebrate this historic football franchise and all of its success both on the field and in the community. I will exemplify the high standards of performance set by my predecessors as well as the other members of the greatest cheerleading team in North America. I will be a leader and pave the way in promotions and charity events in order to establish a greater rapport with the community and elevate Toronto’s awareness of our anti- bullying program.


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Three Cheers for Lavoie
Middleton Native Shows Her Spirit as Patriots Cheerleader 

Posted by James at 8:22 AM ET

By Jean DePlacido
Salem News
A chance reunion with a distant relative at her great grandmother's birthday party gave Angela Lavoie the opportunity to be a part of one of sport's most successful franchises.

It was that chance meeting that sparked Lavoie's interest in becoming a cheerleader for the New England Patriots. Now, the 21-year-old from Middleton is one of 24 Patriots cheerleaders who cheer for the team during home games at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro.

"A cousin of mine cheered for the Patriots a long time ago, and I still remember being very excited when she was chosen," said Lavoie, a Masconomet Regional High School graduate who currently attends UMass Amherst. "When I saw her at my great grandmother's party, I started talking to her about it.

"I decided to go to one of the auditions and was lucky enough to survive all the cuts. I just love what I'm doing. It is all so new and exciting."

One does not simply walk in and announce an intention to cheer for the Patriots, however. The process is long and tedious, beginning with preliminary auditions at various sites around New England.

Lavoie went to Gillette Stadium to try out, where she was surprised to see a crowd of 300 others vying for a similar spot on the cheerleading team. The girls were taught a dance routine and had to perform in groups of four.

The initial group - which all wore numbers to distinguish them - was eventually cut down to 55 candidates, who were asked to return along with 13 veterans. With 68 cheerleaders competing for 24 spots on the team, that number was eventually narrowed down to 35.

Angela, New England Patriots Cheerleader

"We were selected to attend a two-week practice session at Gillette Stadium," said Lavoie. "As the field was whittled down, those moving on were called by numbers until the last 35, when they were called by name."

Lavoie looked forward to the intensive practices, where 11 more cheerleaders were finally eliminated to produce the final team of 24. The number took on a whole different meaning than the highly acclaimed TV show "24" - but was no less nerve wracking.

"At first we learned a dance and did it for the judges in groups of four," said Lavoie. "While they were tallying up the scores, we had to learn the next dance. By the time we got to finals they had us perform two at a time, but scored each girl separately.

"The hardest part was waiting around and anticipating hearing your number called. You have to learn the next dance routine, but you may not get the opportunity to perform if you aren't selected. When we started to get down to the final cut, everybody had an interview with our cheerleading coach so she could see our personalities, too."

Lavoie kept thinking even if she didn't make the final cut she would know the routines and come back next year to try again. But her name was announced, and she was one of the rookies for the 2007-08 season. She was given a tour of Gillette Stadium after she was chosen, and even got to meet team owner Robert Kraft at a golf tournament.

But just because she made the team, Lavoie knows she's not guaranteed a spot for the next three seasons (the tenure of a Patriots' cheerleader). Each year, everyone has to try out all over again.
Dance background

Lavoie has been dancing since she was 21/2 years old. Her cousin owns the Agnes Strecker Dance Studio in Revere, where she learned her first steps and still goes whenever she finds time in her busy schedule.

Lavoie, who is well versed in ballet, jazz, tap, hip hop and modern dancing, was a member of the Lynn (Fla.) University and the UMass Amherst dance teams.

She also has a strong background in cheerleading. At Masconomet, she cheered for the football team all four years, was on the gymnastics team for two years and even played a season of ice hockey for the Lady Chieftains.

"My background in dance helped me a lot," said Lavoie. "It is something I've enjoyed doing ever since I can remember.

"And I just love being a Patriot cheerleader. It is a big commitment, but also opens up a lot of exciting opportunities."

Tracy Sormanti, the director and choreographer of the Patriots' cheerleading team, is happy to have Lavoie as part of the squad.

"Angela gives 100 percent during every game and practice. She's a talented performer," said Sormanti. "She's intelligent, she's friendly and she's a team player."

Job requirements

All cheerleaders are part-time employees of the New England Patriots and are required to cheer, train regularly and do conditioning work that includes cardio workouts, aerobics, kick boxing, elliptical machines and light weight training.

Angela, New England Patriots Cheerleader

All cheerleaders must be 18 years of age and be available to perform at all Patriots' home games (including playoff games), attend two practices per week at Gillette Stadium throughout the football season, and make promotional appearances.

Traveling from Amherst to Foxboro a minimum of twice weekly is a serious time commitment for Lavoie.

"There are a few girls from around this area, and I drive with them," said Lavoie, a math major at UMass. "A couple of them live relatively close to the university, which makes it easier for me.

"We sign up for whatever promotional events we'd like, then are told which ones we will go to. Some are more popular than others."

The weather has been beautiful for the Patriots' three home games thus far. But Lavoie knows that the days are coming when the temperature will drop drastically making life tough for cheerleaders, fans and players alike.

"The veterans keep saying 'Watch out for that first cold game'," laughed Lavoie. "We'll still dance; hopefully moving around will keep us warm."

Lavoie hasn't gone out of her way to announce her new job at UMass, but friends pass the word along. Fellow students are now asking her to get them Patriot tickets.

"I've been getting a lot of those (requests)," she admitted, "but I tell people my parents are big fans and family comes first.

"We get two season tickets, and a lot of my family has been able to get tickets close by. All of the cheerleader tickets are relatively close together, and the seats are really good. My parents have no complaints."

Future plans

The maximum period for any Patriot cheerleader is three years. After that they must retire to bring new girls in.

"I hope to do it all three years," said Lavoie. "It's really a year-long commitment, because after the season we still practice regularly and work on new routines.

"We go all over New England and are required to do 35 events per year. Since the team is so popular that extends to more requests for cheerleader appearances. People all across New England love everything about the Patriots, which makes my job so much more exciting."

Lavoie will finish up her courses at UMass Amherst and graduate sometime next year. Because she transferred from Lynn University after her freshman year there, some of her classes were not accepted.

As a UMass junior, she received the Noyce Scholarship, giving her free tuition in exchange for agreeing to teach math in a low-income area for two years.

"There are several schools all across New England on the list," said Lavoie. "I haven't decided if I want to teach at the middle school or high school level. But I definitely plan to teach. I'd love to be a dance instructor, too."

For now, she is happy to cheer for her favorite team, hoping the Patriots go all the way to Super Bowl XLII in Arizona.

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Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Cheerleaders for the Cure 

Posted by James at 11:33 PM ET

I missed this when it was first posted in August. But since the "The Race for The Cure" was this past Sunday, it seems appropriate to post it now.

From Teresa Shear's Blog at DenverBroncos.com
Today, I want to tell you about a very special woman. Lisa Pevateaux (formerly Corbell) was a member of the Denver Broncos Cheerleaders from 1995 -1998. She was a leader and captain which means a lot when 30 women with strong leadership backgrounds all get together. Lisa is beautiful inside and out and you can’t take your eyes off her when she performs. She was one of my favorites — yes, I do have favorites. The women that motivate themselves, lead by example, and when I am not around I know they will always do the right thing in any situation.
Lisa, Denver Broncos Cheerleader
This week is Lisa’s last week of chemotherapy before she delivers her baby boy in October. Yes, Lisa has cancer. Breast cancer. She is my first friend and I am sure not my last to come down with this horrible disease. She found out she had cancer when she went to confirm her much-wanted pregnancy at her doctor’s office. So, the same day she was blessed with the wonderful news of a child, her doctor found a lump.

Lisa is a fighter. There is no doubt in her mind that she will beat this cancer and she is not just looking to beat it, but to win by such a victory that it wouldn’t dare show up later for a re-match. She also wants to educate others and raise as much money to help with a cure.This is where we come in. The Denver Broncos are already strong supporters of the Susan G. Komen Foundation. Every year, you see the big pink ribbon on the side of the stadium and the current Cheerleaders and employees participate in “The Race.” But this year we will be running for Team Lisa. This now hits really close to home and when that happens, watch out, all hands on deck!

Right now our Alumni/DBC Team is the largest on the Race for the Cure web site. We are in second place for donations and we are just getting started.
Lisa, Denver Broncos Cheerleader
I also suppose that it was no coincidence that I scheduled our 15-Year DBC Alumni Reunion Halftime on Sunday, October 7. This was before the date was announced for the Denver Race for the Cure which just happens to be on the same day. The world has a wonderful way of synching up important dates and things in our lives.

So, on Sunday, October 7, current Cheerleaders, Alumni Cheerleaders, friends and family will all run in “The Race” with shirts that say Broncos for the Cure and TEAM LISA monogrammed on the sleeve in pink rhinestones (what else?). After the race, we will head over to the stadium to get ready for the game and our Alumni Reunion Halftime show. At the end of that show, we will present a check to Susan G. Komen for the Cure from the Broncos Cheerleaders in honor of Lisa Pevateaux. It is going to be an AWESOME day!

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Buffalo Jills Comedy Show 

Posted by James at 11:28 PM ET

From the Buffalo Jills and Bandettes Blog

Club Paradise in Blasdell was the scene for the Jills Adult Comedy Show on Friday night and a full house enjoyed the comedic stylings of, among others, 97Rock's own Rob Lederman. A Chinese auction was held with prizes donated by various Jills sponsors and a quartet of recently departed Jills (Mickey, Korinne, Kristine L, and Tamara) were on hand to support their former squadmates.

Of course no Jills event is complete without a dance performance or two and in addition to a performance by Nicole, Omarlla, Eileen, Katie K, and Aimee, audience members received a special treat. Jamie and Christina put on another dance performance with their choreographer Kelli.

Buffalo Jills
Rookies from the 2000 Season: Omarlla, Nichole and Eileen

Buffalo Jills
Angelina, Jessica Z and Kaitlin B

Buffalo Jills
Jenica, Amanda P and Melissa

Buffalo Jills
Keisha and Kaitlin V

Check out Phil's blog for the video from the event.

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Posted by James at 10:31 PM ET

Our friends from Spain, The Glamcheers, are holding auditions (or as they call it, casting) for their new squad. Director Robert Salas sent us a copy of the auditions poster and a few photos, so you can see some of the similarities and differences between Pro Cheerleaders in North America and Spain.


The GlamCheers are an independent professional performance squad and dance team made up of professional dancers.


They provide Cheerleaders to diferent teams, like the DKV Joventut of Badalona at the ACB League, the gold one, and to Unió Bàsket Sabadell in the silver league.


They also work for many TV channels in Spain and make appearances at sporting events, promotions, grand openings, corporate events and film presentations.


Casting Finals are Sunday, October 21th at Olympic Palladium of Badalona, the home of the DKV Joventut team. And the GlamCheers 2008 Presentation Party is Sunday, October 28th at Dada Discotheque in Badalona.

Learn more about the team at Glamcheers.com

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Introducing the Augusta Lady Lynx 

Posted by James at 10:14 PM ET

From AugustaLynx.com
The Augusta Lynx are pleased to announce the formation of the Lady Lynx, a dance/promotional team that will help cheer the Augusta Lynx and entertain fans at every home game at the James Brown Arena. The Lady Lynx will be visible throughout the CSRA community at corporate appearances and charitable events. With a variety of music selections and dance styles, the Lady Lynx will appeal to Augusta Lynx fans of all ages and provide a new form of exciting entertainment.

The Lady Lynx is a collection of models, cheerleaders and dancers ages 18 and older with a great attitude and willingness to perform. Heading the Lady Lynx will be Director and Choreographer Dory Kyrias. Mrs. Kyrias brings over 15 years of dance instruction and choreography experience to the Lady Lynx. She was a member and the business manager for the Texas Tornado Hockey Ice Breakers Dance Team in 2003-04, and currently is a dance instructor at Cutno Dance Center, Pulse Dance Center and the YMCA, all in Augusta.

Augusta Lady Lynx

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Miss Argo 2007 Finalists: Haylie 

Posted by Sasha at 7:23 AM ET

Toronto Argonauts: The finalists for Miss Argo 2007 have written a short piece on what it means to them to be a member of the Blue Thunder, as well as a finalist for Miss Argo. The final round of voting for Miss Argo begins this week - email missargo@argonauts.on.ca with your vote for who should be crowned Miss Argo 2007!

Here is the entry from Haylie:

This seems funny. I am currently writing to tell all the fans of the Toronto Argonauts why I should be Miss Argo 2007 and, to tell you the truth, it all seems rather ironic. Growing up, I would have been more likely to be crowned Miss Centerfield or Miss MVP but definitely not Miss Argo 2007. However, I think now looking at the true definition of what it takes to hold this title, it seems a little more realistic. To some people, going to a football game is just a fun, entertaining way to spend a Saturday afternoon. For me, it has shaped the person I am today. My whole life, I have enjoyed going to sporting events but, for me, it wasn’t just entertainment; it happens to be my passion.

I have worked closely with BOOST! (formerly the Toronto Child Abuse Centre) as they raise money for children of our community. It has taught me that taking a few moments of your day to lend a hand can make a world of a difference. This stemmed from the influence of my coaches over the years who took time out of their week for me and taught me the importance of giving back and I do just that. I have been coaching soccer for 5 years now, and for 3 years have been the Vice-President of the U of T Athletic Council.

With all of this said, this is why I hope you vote… because I feel I can carry on this title with pride. While I may not be the tiara type - cleats and tiaras tend to clash - I truthfully believe little girls need an athlete to look up to. Sports teaches determination, teamwork, perseverance and above all else, the ability to have fun! What better characteristics for this year’s Miss Argo to pass down than those?!


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Pearl River College Student Among Saints' Closest Fans 

Posted by James at 6:00 AM ET

By La Tonya Frelix
Hattiesburg American
Like thousands of South Mississippi residents, Nicole Ferand loves to watch the New Orleans Saints play football.

Ferand, 21, is a second-year Saintsation cheerleader. Her view of Saints' home games is from the sidelines of the New Orleans Superdome.

"I love the Saints," she said. "I've always been a fan. Being on the field is one of my favorite parts. Before the game, we always go out to meet the fans. It's a lot of fun, but it's also a lot of work, a lot of time and dedication."

Ferand is one of three cheerleaders featured on the cover of the 2008 New Orleans Saintsations Swimsuit Calendar. She's also featured as the June Saintsation. The 12-month calendar is packed with high-quality photos featuring this season's Saintsations modeling the latest swimsuit fashions, the New Orleans Saints Web site says.

Ferand and the 26 other Saintsations, including Petal resident and University of Southern Mississippi student Suzannah Ledford, practice twice a week, make numerous public appearances and must be at the Superdome four to five hours before each home game.
Nicole, New Orleans Saintsations
The New Orleans Saints Web site says the Saintsations have traveled to Iraq and Afghanistan to visit troops, appeared on the Dr. Phil show, 2006 Comic Relief Live television show and supports community projects through the "Saintsations Inspiration Program."

The primary focus of this season's program is to promote positive initiatives geared toward women and children.

Before kickoff, the women go through an on-field practice, have their hair and makeup professionally done, meet fans, sell Saintsations calendars and perform a pre-game routine. They also perform after the first- and third-quarters of football games.

Ferand said she most likes interacting with fans.

"I get 'Call me!' a lot," she laughed. "I've never really had an incident. I've never felt uncomfortable."

Ferand, who has been dancing since she was a toddler, was co-captain of her high school dance team in Chalmette, La.

"I started taking lessons when I was 3 years old," she said. "When I got to middle school, I was captain of that dance team. At Chalmette High School, I was a Charmer. We were state champions all four years and national champions twice."

She first auditioned for the Saintsations in spring 2006.

"I tried out with a friend," she said. "We had to do a dance, professional interview, a test on current events and NFL knowledge. I made it last year and tried out again and made it this year."

Chuck Abadie, PRCC public relations director, said Ferand is well- known around campus. As a commuter student who goes between home, school and practice in New Orleans, he said she is talented.

"It takes a special student who has to plan her day out and doesn't get overwhelmed by it," he said.
Nicole, New Orleans Saintsations
Ferand's personal attention also shines a light on PRCC.

"We're enrolling more and more students from Louisiana and the recognition Nicole receives as a PRCC student can only help get the word out about the college," he said.

Abadie said she isn't the first to receive national attention, noting several years back, several students performed during the Super Bowl.

"She's just another in a line of students who have brought positive recognition at Pearl River Community College," he said.

Ferand's path to Pearl River started after Hurricane Katrina demolished the family's home in Chalmette. Her family - parents Kenny and Kellie Ferand and younger siblings Amanda and Zakary - lived in Natchitoches, La., New Roads, La., and Baton Rouge, La., but have settled near Perkinston.

"We're here for good - we like it a lot," she said.

Ferand attended Southeastern Louisiana University in Hammond last year but the two-hour commute was too much, she said.

An elementary education major, Ferand plans to return to Southeastern or enroll at the University of Southern Mississippi after earning an associate's degree at Pearl River.

"I definitely want to teach. I want to teach in public school," she said adding she hopes to start an elementary-school spirit group or dance team wherever she teaches.

Besides classes and commitment to the Saintsations, Ferand's schedule includes a part-time job at a Slidell restaurant. She pencils in study time in her planner.

"On Sunday night, I plan my whole week out," she said. "It keeps me on my toes."

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Lady Panthers Logo Contest 

Posted by James at 5:55 AM ET

While the NAFL Boston Panthers continue their playoff run, their dance team the Lady Panthers is already looking ahead to 2008.

The Lady Panthers are looking for a NEW Logo for their uniforms and apparel, to go with the NEW Look for the upcoming 2008 Boston Panthers Football Season!

They're asking fans to show what the NEW Logo should be by submitting their own artwork!

All entries must be post marked by December 7, 2007. The winner will be chosen on December 13, 2007, and will receive Boston Panthers memorabilia and a $50.00 gift card!

Panthers Logo

Please send all original art entries with your name, full address, and telephone number to:

Boston Panthers Football Club
C/O Lady Panthers Logo Contest
70 Warren Street
Boston, MA 02119
E-mail: bostonpantherscheerdance@yahoo.com

On the web at BostonPanthers.com and MySpace.

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Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Cardinals Cheerleaders Unveil Swimsuit Calendar 

Posted by Sasha at 5:58 PM ET

Click here to check out the Arizona Cardinals Cheerleaders' new swimsuit calendar!

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Dolphins Cheerleaders Present 2007 Runway Review 

Posted by Sasha at 5:55 PM ET

FYI - the event took place over the weekend.
Click here to watch the 90 minute show online.

Dolphins Cheerleaders Runway Revue To Air LIVE on MiamiDolphins.com
By Andy Kent
Special for MiamiDolphins.com
October 5, 2007

Other NFL teams do unveilings of their cheerleader calendars with a signing and maybe a few other fun activities, but those other teams are not the Miami Dolphins.

This Saturday night at 9 (doors open at 8) at the Dolphins' indoor practice facility, the 2008 Miami Dolphins Cheerleader Calendar will officially be unveiled as part of a two-hour extravaganza called "The Runway Revue." The concept, thought up by Dolphins Director of Cheerleading Heather Fraga, is being put on for the second year in a row for special guests considered part of the Dolphins family and combines a fashion show element and a dancing and singing show.

"The show is basically Broadway meets South Beach. I would say Las Vegas, but why would I say Las Vegas just because Las Vegas has shows?" Fraga said. "There are different genres of dance that we're going to display that we don't normally get to on a Sunday afternoon for a game, but it's in a fun way because we're doing fashion shows, which is definitely South Beach, swim suit fashion shows and all different types of music and all different types of dance, something for everybody, basically."

Included on the guest list are Dolphins season ticket holders and friends and family of the cheerleaders, and Fraga said her goal is for this event to reach the exclusive status of some of the world famous fashion shows typically held on South Beach.

The show originally was supposed to take place back in August at Dolphin Stadium but was rescheduled and relocated, which gave Fraga and the cheerleaders more time to practice their routines and build up more excitement. This event has allowed the cheerleaders to tap into more of their talents and to show people that they are about more than just waving pom-poms and jumping up and down on the field.

"I will be singing again, but it's really a place for girls to show their individual talents," said Lacie Randall, who is in her fourth year with the squad and is one of the captains. "We have girls doing ballet, lyrical, tap and more and it's actually a good showcase for our girls to show all the talent we do have besides being cute on the sidelines."

Fraga pointed out that during cheerleader auditions she is actively looking for girls with a dance background or some other type of entertainment background to help round out their squad. This event also has helped attract more cheerleaders and convince more to return year after year.

Michelle Hernandez, another veteran on the squad, was one of those who were taken aback by how big the show actually was compared to what she had done before when it came time to unveil the calendar. In the past, the Dolphins did something on Fort Lauderdale beach with just a couple of dance routines mixed in, and Hernandez has learned most of her dancing skills as a Dolphins cheerleader.

"When I was in high school and I was growing up as a kid I always danced for fun," Hernandez said. "I never took classes or was never part of a dance team. I would just dance in school or try out for shows or plays, so I was always dancing, but when I got here is where I learned mostly everything that I've done now."

Fraga described the reaction to last year's show as exceeding her expectations, with people coming up to her afterward and asking her how she was able to pull off something of that magnitude. Even the cheerleaders themselves were amazed at how involved the show was and how many elements were put in place.

"I had in my mind what it was going to be but it's hard to convey that message until they walked in the day in the bubble and there was a big stage set up for them," Fraga recalled. "There were pictures everywhere, there were lighting and cameramen and it was for real, it wasn't something like they've done in the past."

There will be three different fashion shows incorporated, showcasing swim suits as well as evening wear, and that's an element Fraga definitely doesn't want to see taken for granted. There was a lot of time and effort put into the design of the outfits, along with the advance invitations and just the general preparation.

"Not only rehearsals, but you have to think about months in advance invitations, you have to think about attire, what they're going to where, because I want to not only impress the audience with the dance ability and the performance aspect, but what they're wearing," she said.

Fraga also echoed the thoughts of Randall and Hernandez when it came to looking at this event as a way to help fight the stereotypes associated with cheerleaders. She already has one cheerleader, Lynn Martin, doing a VLOG (video log) on MiamiDolphins.com and showcasing her speaking skills, and Saturday night should help even more, as well as continue to catch the attention of those other NFL teams.

"I guarantee you they've all seen it but they don't want to give you too much credit," Fraga said. "They'll start popping up more and more once they see it, but definitely I've never seen anything to this level around the league quite like this -- ever."

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Arizona Cardinals Swimsuit Calendar 

Posted by Sasha at 5:44 PM ET

Loreto Bay, Mexico: Where the Cardinals Come to Swim
By Audrey

Click here to order a Cardinals Cheerleader Calendar online!

As I slowly awoke to the buzz of my alarm, my mind raced with anticipation of the next days events. Passport and Starbucks in hand, I boarded Continental flight 3113 with 13 of my teammates eager and ready to kick-off our 2007 swimsuit calendar shoot. Destination: Loreto Bay, Mexico.

After a long flight, I was refreshed by the sight of the natural beauty that is Loreto Bay, Mexico. Breathtaking scenes of aqua waters and lush green islands coupled with the muted tones of the slopes of the Sierra de la Giganta Mountains sprinkled atop the Sea of Cortes, were nothing short of amazing. As the locals say, Loreto Bay is “where the mountains come to swim.” I knew this was going to be an experience I would never forget!

As we taxied toward the seaside airport, thatch-roofed tiki huts and a welcoming committee of firetrucks, locals and the Mayor of Loreto Bay, C. Rodolfo Davis Osuna, greeted us. I quickly discovered that not only was Loreto Bay a true paradise, but the people of Loreto were strongly dedicated to tradition and the preservation of their culture. Through the narration of our flight attendant, we learned that this was the inaugural flight of Continental Airlines to Loreto Bay. As we slowly approached the terminal, we were showered with water from the fire trucks to christen the planes arrival! Within minutes of arriving, I could tell Loreto Bay reflects the great history that defines this legendary part of Mexico.

In fact, very little has changed since it was founded in 1697, as California’s first settlement. Jesuit priest and explorer Juan Maria Salvatiera harbored an intense desire for the evangelization of lower California. He founded the Mission de Nuestra Senora de Loreto Concho by placing an image of the Virgin of Our Lady of Loreto on a cross decorated with wildflower garlands. Loreto served as the capital of California for over 130 years and served as the base for further expansion of the Jesuit mission system. The history of Loreto is alive and evident in every part of this seaside community.

After arriving at our ocean-view Inn, we were greeted by our director, Heather Karberg, with the news that I and Kathy Metcalf, also a third year veteran, would be the first shoots of the trip! After a cup of coffee and quick snack, my teammates helped Kathy and I prepare for our shoot.

The aqua hues of the Spanish-style mosaic fountain I waded in for my first location, perfectly complimented my swimsuit. With my lips glossed, hair teased, and the energetic direction from our photographer, Robert Konieczny, I gave “the look” in hopes of catching the perfect shot. With a few more clicks of the camera and the nod of approval from our director, it was on to the second location.

The heat of the setting sun definitely got our attention, and Kathy and I were glad to be playing in water for our second shots. Kathy was knee-deep in a shallow pool while I posed in a rustic terra cotta shower. With my shoot complete, I reflected on the time and dedication put into preparing for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

An all expense paid trip to an exotic resort location with good friends may sound great, but it was a lot of hard work to get there. Through the help of our trainer, Chris Powell, our entire team took part in a nutrition and workout program that motivated and prepared us for the calendar.

Along with physically preparing, you must mentally prepare. Through personal goals and the support of my teammates, I truly obtained a confidence that I hope will shine through in my pictures.

In celebration of a job well done, I helped myself to home-made guacamole and tortillas, which I soon found out, were more addicting than potato chips.

For the rest of our time in Mexico, we soaked up the sun on the beach, swam in the ocean, and assisted our teammates with their shoots. Between hair and makeup, lighting and positioning, and inspirational affirmations, we were becoming quite the production team. I found myself in awe of the amazing experience of shooting a swimsuit calendar and owe a lot of my experience to everyone who helped this dream come true. Our calendar is more than just beautiful women in swimsuits; it’s also about who we are individually, our goals, and our dedication to making our team the best it can be.

I am so honored to be a part of such an amazing group of woman and to represent the Arizona Cardinals. The experiences, friendships and life-long memories I have made are invaluable.

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Former Local Cheers with Miami Dolphins 

Posted by James at 6:41 AM ET

By Aileen McElroy
Cape Coral Daily Breeze
Former Fort Myers Beach resident Missy Barrickman can now be found along the Dolphin Stadium sidelines cheering for the aqua and orange as a Miami Dolphins cheerleader. Her love of football traces north to her hometown, Pittsburgh, Pa.

“Football has always been a strong presence in my life. I came out of the womb in black and gold as a Steelers fan,” said Barrickman.

While growing up in the Steel City, she said she particularly revered running back Jerome Bettis, also known as “The Bus.”
Missy, Miami Dolphins Cheerleader
“Through high school I was a fan of Jerome Bettis. He was a stand-up player and did a lot for the community,” said Barrickman.

After high school, Barrickman moved to the Sunshine State and pursued a pre-med major at Florida State University and served as batgirl for the Seminoles’ baseball team. With a diploma in hand, she landed on Fort Myers Beach, near Junkanoo, shortly after Hurricane Charlie and worked in medical sales for a year on the Gulf Coast.

“Living on the beach was great,” said Barrickman. “The people are a tight knit group and always so nice. It was a lot of fun and you could walk to everything, the gym and the grocery story. You didn’t have to leave the beach.”

In April 2006, Barrickman decided to audition for a spot on the Miami Dolphins cheerleading squad. Surrounded by “beautiful and glamorous” women, Barrickman admitted she was overwhelmed but kept her poise and managed to clear the first round of cuts after succeeding in performing a freestyle dance for one minute. Barrickman also passed the second round cuts by tackling a grueling kickline.

“It’s hard to get 40 girls in one line kicking high up to the face on the beat,” said Barrickman. “It’s a signature routine of the Miami Dolphin cheerleaders done during halftime or pre-game and it’s got to be perfect.”

In round three, Barrickman joined veteran cheerleaders for a week-long camp. She and 100 other hopefuls learned choreographed routines and performed a show in public at a Fort Lauderdale mall at the week’s end.

In 2006 and 2007, Barrickman hurdled the auditions becoming one of about 50 draft picks.
Missy, Miami Dolphins Cheerleader
“The first year, I was shocked. I never expected it. You prepare for the worst but hope for the best,” said Barrickman. “The second year is even harder because you know how important it is to you, you know how much fun it is and you know what you’re missing if you don’t get in.”

During football season, the team practices three days a week in Davie. An hour before a three-hour practice, Barrickman dons tall boots and a two-piece uniform and preps her hair and makeup. Then it is out to the field to practice kicklines and dance routines for the home games. During games, Barrickman said the team has to be ready to bust a move as soon as the captain calls for it whether it is a country or hip-hop routine.

“My favorite dance routine is called ‘Get Free.’ It’s a one-minute routine at the end zone. It’s high energy, sharp — a fun sexy dance,” she said.

Barrickman is also a fan of the Miami Dolphins’ fans and feels honored to perform in front of a huge crowd totaling 75,000.

“The fans that we have are so loyal and have loved the Dolphins for years,” she said. “At 8 a.m. they’re tailgating — that says a lot. The fans have been awesome — without them we couldn’t do what we do.”

Come Oct. 28, she is looking forward to cheering abroad.

“I’m looking forward to London,” said Barrickman. “We’re playing there at home against the Giants. I’ve been told Dolphins are a fan favorite of London, that they love the Dolphins over there.”

This year’s team is comprised of about 50 women from the ages of 18 to 31. Barrickman points out that there is no snippiness or cliques on the team.

“The girls are amazing,” she said. “We’re all at different stages of our life and everyone is supportive. If someone is having a bad day, everyone is concerned.”

During the season, Barrickman said her co-workers become her family.

“We see each other more than our families and boyfriends,” said Barrickman. “We end up being friends as well as co-workers. On weekends, there’s always someone who is free to go shopping or take in a movie with.”

Off-season the Miami Dolphins cheerleaders stay active performing internationally. In the past year, they have taken their choreographed steps to Mexico, the Bahamas and military bases.

Missy, Miami Dolphins Cheerleader

The cheerleaders have also made appearances in nursing facilities and local hospitals, including the cancer ward at HealthPark in Fort Myers.

“I love doing hospital visits,” she said. “Those are my favorite appearances. It’s absolutely awesome to put a smile on somebody’s face. Kids look up at you like you’re a life-size Barbie doll. It’s a great feeling to get to make a child or adult smile. It’s an exciting feeling that’s irreplaceable.”

Barrickman defined her idea of a successful 2007-08 season.

“Success will happen no matter what, if I perform at all 10 home games, stay healthy and be able to cheer ... the more we win, that would be great too,” she said, laughing.

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Megan J. is the Cardinals Cheerleader of the Week. 

Posted by James at 6:40 AM ET

From AZCardinals.com
Dear Cardinals fans,

My name is Megan J. (MJ) and this is my first year on the team! I feel so honored to dance in the University of Phoenix stadium and be part of such a wonderful organization. I moved to Phoenix about a year ago and wanted to feel more involved with the community. I have danced and cheered for various organizations throughout my life, and was even the mascot for the University I attended! Interacting with fans and dancing my heart out for the team I support is an important part of who I am.
When I am not dancing, I am usually studying. I am currently working on my master’s in occupational therapy; I have one year left and can’t wait to start working in such a challenging and creative field. I also teach aerobics and enjoy making people work hard and sweat! I love spending time with my family, going to the lake (in Washington), hiking, cooking, traveling, and most importantly, spending time with my amazing husband! I have been married for a little over a year and have loved every second. We are so excited to be living in Arizona, the weather is great, and, of course, this is where the Cardinals are!

I feel blessed to be part of such an amazing group of women. I have learned so much from each and every one, along with our coach. Dancing side by side we continue to challenge and support each other which are important aspects of our team. We have worked hard all summer and will continue to throughout the season to bring our best to the field on game day!

Thank you loyal Cardinals fans, this is going to be an incredible season!

Go Cards!
Megan J.

And if Megan looks a little familiar to you, it might be that you recognize her from her time with the Seattle Sea Gals.

Flashback: Megan dances her way to Super Bowl XL.

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Micaela Johnson - Miss Nebraska USA Contestant 

Posted by James at 6:39 AM ET

From KimberlySpaOmaha.com
We're extremely proud and very excited to introduce to you... Micaela Johnson!

Micaela will be competing in the Miss Nebraska pageant October 28th in Norfolk, and we are very pleased to announce that she has chosen Kimberly Spa as one of her key sponsors. She will be receiving all of her skin and nail care from us. We know she will represent us well because of her already outstanding resume and experience.
Micaela Johnson
Micaela was born January 1 in Dallas, Texas. At the age of 3, she moved to Omaha and was raised here. Micaela began taking acting lessons at the age of 7, and at the age of 13 landed her first lead role in the local production of Magnus Fourpenny. At the same time, she spent many hours in local dance studios and attended Marian H.S. here in Omaha. She was honored with the title of "Nebraska Cheerleader of the Year" in 2003!

During the spring of her senior year at Marian, she auditioned for the world-famous Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders. At the tender age of 18, Micaela was chosen and moved to Dallas...joining an organization that would change her life! She was also the youngest Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader ever chosen.

During her 2 years as a Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader, she was blessed with the good fortune of many wonderful experiences. Besides cheering on the Dallas Cowboys on the Texas Stadium sidelines, she was a member of the renowned DCC "Show Group"...making appearances all over the U.S. Those appearances included The Today Show, Larry King Live, The View and Barney just to name a few. As a DCC, she was also able to travel the world, making appearances with the USO Tour. Her travels took her from Korea to Europe...entertaining our brave men and women in the Armed Forces. This was an experience that will last her a lifetime.

Micaela Johnson

Presently, Micaela holds the title of Miss Douglas County USA 2007 and will be competing in the Miss Nebraska USA Pageant in late October. At the same time, Micaela has resumed pursuing her acting career, which is her first love. Her most recent film was co-starring with Amanda Bynes in Sydney White...which is in theaters now! She plays a girl named "Jane". She has appeared in a total of 10 films to date and is currently pursuing her career with vigor!

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Eagles Cheerleaders Help Tackle Breast Cancer 

Posted by James at 6:38 AM ET

Philadelphia Eagles Cheerleaders

It's a rare opportunity to meet ALL the Eagles Cheerleaders:

On Wednesday, October 10th from 6:30 to 8:30 pm, the entire Eagles Cheerleading Squad will be at The Pro Shop at Lincoln Financial Field! With the purchase of an Eagles Tackling Breast Cancer hat or a donation of $5, you will have the opportunity to get autographs from all 38 cheerleaders! This is your chance to meet all of the cheerleaders in person, take photos, get autographs and help the Eagles Tackle Breast Cancer!

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Monday, October 08, 2007

Ben-Gals Calendar Party Revisited 

Posted by Sasha at 6:22 PM ET

Last month, we had some great photos from the Ben-Gals annual calendar release party. This week, we've got a few more for you. Click here to view the gallery on the Bengals website. Don't forget to stop by the Bengals pro shop, to order a copy of the calendar for yourself!

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Miss Argo 2007 Finalists: Courtney 

Posted by Sasha at 6:13 PM ET

Toronto Argonauts: The finalists for Miss Argo 2007 have written a short piece on what it means to them to be a member of the Blue Thunder, as well as a finalist for Miss Argo. The final round of voting for Miss Argo begins this week - email missargo@argonauts.on.ca with your vote for who should be crowned Miss Argo 2007!

Here is the entry from Courtney

This is my first year as a Blue Thunder cheerleader and it truly has been the experience of a lifetime for me thus far.

Since the age of two, I danced at a local dance studio. Last fall, I started college and realized that if I didn't have dance in my life, I needed to do something else to fill the void. I am a high-energy person and I love to meet new people. I decided to try out for the Blue Thunder cheerleaders and it has been a decision that I have never regretted for one moment.

I have realized that being a Blue Thunder cheerleader goes well beyond the dancing and the cheering. It means being a part of a vibrant and inspiring organization which works tirelessly to make its community a much better place to live. The excitement of football is not only on the field, but off the field as well. I have seen first hand the enthusiasm and hard work that the players, the cheerleaders, and the organization put forth to truly make The Argos Toronto's #1 community team!

I have met some absolutely amazing people this year through my charity work as a Blue Thunder cheerleader. Some of these people made me laugh, some made me cry, and many touched my heart and soul in a very profound way. The rewards of this year are abundant! Thank you to my Argo family - my fellow cheerleaders, the players and the entire organization. You have given me a year I will treasure forever. Most importantly, to all of the Argo fans - you are the best!



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2007-08 Ravens Cheerleaders 

Posted by Sasha at 6:02 PM ET

New uniform photos have been posted for the Baltimore Ravens Cheerleaders. Go here to see the girls. (Most of them anyway. And the boys are still nowhere to be found.)

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Titans cheerleaders release 2007/2008 swimsuit calendar 

Posted by Sasha at 5:28 PM ET

Tennessee Titans: The 2007/2008 Tennessee Titans Cheerleader calendar is now available for fans to purchase.

This calendar is the first one the Cheerleaders have produced since 2002 and only the third in Titans history.

“We are very proud of our calendar and excited about the business opportunity it presents for our department,” said Stacie Kinder, director of cheerleaders for the Titans.

Cheerleading calendars across the NFL historically have sold 10,000 units or more for each team. Squads use the calendars to successfully aid their brand in becoming more marketable in the community.

The Titans Cheerleaders shot their calendar in Nashville over the summer of 2007. Team photographer, Donn Jones, together with local photographer, Erick Anderson, worked tirelessly for two days, taking more than 5,000 photos of the 31 cheerleaders.

Anderson, who owns a Grammy for his design work, designed the calendar with impeccable attention to detail. Says Anderson: “The calendar involved hours of grueling work, but in the end, it was worth every minute.”

The Cheerleaders will host a calendar release party at the club, “Lot 7” (125 12th Ave S. Nashville) on Tuesday, Oct. 9 (7:30 p.m.). Tickets are $25 and include a calendar and the opportunity to see the Cheerleaders perform and take part in a VIP autograph session. Call 615-565-4172 to pre-order your tickets today!

Prior to the official release, calendars can be purchased by mailing in this downloadable merchandise request form (PDF document), or at the Titans Pro Shop at LP Field.

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No Bye Week for the Eagles Cheerleaders 

Posted by James at 11:55 AM ET

While the Eagles players enjoyed a much needed bye week to help recover from their semi-disastrous start, the Eagles Cheerleaders had no time to relax this week.

Now, I can't be everywhere. Saturday morning was the Soulmates Pre-Audition Workshop and Saturday afternoon was the Redskins Cheerleaders at Blocktoberfest. But fortunately, blog reader James was at The Applecross Family Funfest where he caught up with Eagles Cheerleaders Alaina and Nicole as they made an appearance on behalf of the One Child Saved Program.

Philadelphia Eagles Cheerleaders
Alaina and Nicole

Philadelphia Eagles Cheerleaders
Alaina's favorite Eagle is tight end LJ Smith, whom she cheered for when then were both at Rutgers.

Philadelphia Eagles Cheerleaders
Nicole is a graduate of the Atlantic Theater Conservatory and is an aspiring actress and dancer.

The on Sunday, Alaina and Laura helped kick off Fire Prevention Week at the Trevose Fire Company Open House.

Philadelphia Eagles Cheerleaders
Alaina and Laura

Philadelphia Eagles Cheerleaders
The coolest experience of Laura's life has been going skydiving.

Philadelphia Eagles Cheerleaders
Alaina says she is a "Weekend Appearancer" which explains why she's in this post twice.

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Washington Redskins Cheerleaders at Blocktoberfest 

Posted by James at 6:26 AM ET

Washington Redskins Cheerleaders
The parking lot of RFK Stadium was rocking on Saturday as music fans turned out for DC's annual Bloctoberfest celebration. The Redskins Cheerleaders were on hand as well. They performed with Flip Like Wilson and burned up the stage. Photos in the gallery.

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Soulmates Pre-Audition Workshop 

Posted by James at 5:58 AM ET

Philadelphia Soulmates
The Phladelphia Soulmates held a pre-audition workshop on Saturday at the Airport Hilton. Among those on hand were Soulmates Director and Choreographer Marla Viturello, the 2006-07 Soulmates, representatives from Hello Gorgeous Day Spas and the Head Athletic Trainer for the Soul.

Subject covered included: Training, Fitness, Hair, Make-up, Choregraphy and Dance Attire. There was a mock audition and some humourous dos and don'ts. (Leave the gum at home!)

I was in such a rush that I forgot my good flash, so not too many action shots from the workshop. The photos are in the gallery.

Open Call Auditions for the Philadelphia Soulmates are Saturday, November 10th. Full details here.

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Sunday, October 07, 2007

Flashback Photo of the Week 

Posted by Sasha at 2:26 PM ET

Back in 1981, nobody could carry off a cutlass and jauntily feathered hat like the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Cheerleaders, the Swash-buc-lers.

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Blessed be cheerleaders for they will be vilified 

Posted by Sasha at 2:16 PM ET

By now we've all heard about the NFL's edict barring the cheerleaders from warming up in front of the opposing team. Normally, I wouldn't acknowledge that kind of stupidity by posting it here. However, when I came across this article I decided to make an exception. Though I don't agree with all of the writer's opinions, I do think that overall, he makes the right point.

Here are the bits that made me say "amen."

Blessed be cheerleaders for they will be vilified
By Jerry Brewer
Staff Columnist
Seattle Times

If football is a religion, the NFL is developing some orthodox creeds. It's like they're putting together the First-and-10 Commandments.

Thou shalt not steal signals with a video camera.

Thou shalt not "make it rain" without punishment.

Honor thy Goodell and thy dogs.

Thou shalt celebrate the touchdown in vain.

Remember the disabled old-timers, but keep their wallets holey.

And here's the newbie on the list:

Thou shalt not distract thy opponent with thy cheerleaders.

League executives sent a memo recently to its 32 teams, warning them to control their cheerleaders. There's growing concern that some home teams are using these ladies for a competitive advantage, telling them to warm up in front of the opponents, hoping their beauty will steer players away from their pregame preparation.

If the NFL were any more paranoid, commissioner Roger Goodell would need to dead bolt his sock drawer.

And so now we return to one of the most archaic stereotypes in sports: the ditzy, dainty cheerleader.

Now that this reprimand has gone public, it's both unfortunate and hypocritical.

It's unfortunate because it has demeaning undertones, saying essentially that these women care more about flirting than dancing.

It's hypocritical because the NFL fosters a look-at-our-sexy-girls attitude, and for proof, visit the Web sites of the Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles.

They're among the many teams that show their cheerleaders in swimsuits. They get prominent display. The league's inadvertent message: Be gorgeous at our command.

Instead of holding men accountable for their ogling, there's this nonsense.

In his weekly column for Canada's TSN, former NFL quarterback Jesse Palmer, aka "The Bachelor," told a humorous story about cheerleaders. He was leading the New York Giants against Dallas in 2003, and his teammates wouldn't stop staring at the Cowboys cheerleaders.

"The classic 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,' " Palmer wrote.

It seems the NFL should focus more on teaching its tongue-wagging millionaires better professionalism. The root of the problem isn't the cheerleaders.

"I think it's ridiculous," said Dawn Holmes, who was a member of the Sea Gals, the Seahawks' cheerleading squad, in 2005. "If you're a player and you're getting paid hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars to play football, why would you even think of a cheerleader?"

Well, the athlete's affinity for cheerleaders goes back to high school. But there's a difference in the pros: Most teams frown upon such fraternizing.

Let the athlete play. Let the cheerleader dance. Chitchat — and only chitchat — when appropriate.

"It's an unspoken rule," Holmes said. "You just know you need to keep your integrity. You're representing a huge corporation. Keep your priorities straight."

Based on her one-year experience with the team, Holmes trusts the Sea Gals would never resort to running interference for the Seahawks. Sherri Thompson, who is in her 21st year as the Sea Gals director, reiterated that sentiment.

"It's never been an issue," Thompson said.

The Sea Gals usually go over their routines three or four hours before the game. They're usually out of sight by the time the players leave their locker room for warm-ups.

Like most NFL teams' cheer squads, the Sea Gals have a calendar. But they aren't shown in swimsuits — just outfits they'd wear while performing. Holmes remembers Thompson's desire for each of her Sea Gals is to represent "a strong woman."

"It's not just about being sexy or sparkly," Holmes said.

Most pro cheerleaders are serious dancers looking to showcase their passion. When they do their jobs, we generally don't notice them. They're simply part of the game experience. But there have been a few bizarre tales that have received attention the past five years.

In 2002, more than 40 former Eagles cheerleaders filed a lawsuit claiming that visiting players looked through a peephole at old Veterans Stadium and watched them dress and shower.

Three years ago, two Carolina Panthers cheerleaders were arrested and kicked off the squad for allegedly having sex in a bathroom stall.

When athletes get in trouble or become entangled in weird stories, we still see them as athletes, and for the most part, we're still able to separate the good and bad among them.

When controversy finds cheerleaders, we return to typecasting them all as ditzy and dainty.

"It's not as exciting as it seems like," Holmes said. "You hear some pretty derogatory comments, some that shouldn't be printed. I just don't think it's all about being these sex symbols."

Don't fret, however. The NFL has found a solution.

If you thought oversized men made football scary, think again. Even they need rescuing. Those evil, alluring cheerleaders must be stopped.