Almost 65 years after the first National Football League (NFL) team added a cheer squad to its line-up, male cheerleaders are set to dance at NFL games for the first time.
The Los Angeles Rams and the New Orleans Saints will have male cheerleaders dancing on their squads for the first time in history when the new NFL season kicks off next month, CNN reports.
While stuntmen have often been included in cheer squads to help female performers complete aerial stunts, male cheerleaders have never danced professionally American Football fans alongside their female counterparts.
All that is set to change next season after dancers Quinton Peron and Napoleon Jinnies nailed their auditions for the LA Rams in March this year.
Jinnies tweeted at the time: "Still can’t belive I’m one of the first males in history to be a pro NFL cheerleader! Everyone’s support and love has been insane! thank you and GO RAMS!"
Still can’t belive I’m one of the first males in history to be a pro NFL cheerleader! Everyone’s support and love has been insane! 😭 thank you and GO RAMS! @RamsNFL @LARamsCheer #LARams pic.twitter.com/srpkYiVmEI— Napoleon Jinnies (@NapoleonJinnies) March 27, 2018
Cheerleading has been an NFL staple since 1954, when the Baltimore Colts included a cheer squad performance in their matches. Currently, 26 of the 32 NFL teams have official cheerleading squads.
Appearing alongside Peron and Jinnies on Good Morning America after the historic signing was announced, LA Rams cheer captain Emily Leibert sang the praises of her new teammates as she welcomed them to the squad.
"They are intelligent, they are eloquent, they are more than qualified to be ambassadors out in the community," Leibert gushed. "On top of that - you've seen them dance in the video - they are incredible. They bring so much energy.
"There's something so magnetic about their performance you really can't take your eyes off them."
The 2018 NFL season will begin with the Kickoff Game on September 6 as the Philadelphia Eagles host the Atlanta Falcons.
You can get a glimpse of Peron and Jinnies slaying their LA Rams auditions in the video below:
Words: Will Stroude