I’ve seen with my own eyes the preparations that are underway in the city of Atlanta for the Super Bowl this weekend. Whether you’re excited or not about the big game, there are some big things happening for LIII this year.
One of them is the introduction of two male cheerleaders in the NFL ranks. Although it’s nothing new, for the first time in the league’s history, two guys will be part of the dancing cheer squad at the Super Bowl.
Napoleon Jinnies and Quinton Peron tried out for the squad for the Los Angeles Rams in March of last year. Before making the cut, they didn’t know one another but have some things in common. Each of them has a background in professional dancing and were encouraged to audition by friends and family.
Hundreds showed up for tryouts and they were the only two men, but Rams staff was willing to give them chance just like the others. After a series of interviews, auditions, and approvals up the chain of command, they were enthusiastically welcomed with open arms to a team of 40.
Since the start of football season, fans have noticed them on the field. While not all of them are on board with it, there are plenty of people enjoying the show and interacting with all the cheerleaders during games.
In an interview with the L.A. Times, Rams CEO Kevin Demoff talked about the decision:
“The most important thing from Stan [team’s owner] and all of us was that they were qualified and had earned their spot. They had done an amazing job and deserved to be on the team.”
“We’ve always been pioneers of inclusion, this was our chance to do it off the field.”
Like all the other members of the squad, Jinnies and Peron were fitted for uniforms but theirs were custom-designed for their builds. The director of the group also decided to leave out the pom-poms for the men to focus more on their athleticism and dancing skills.
They are not letting the negative reactions affect their work ethic or attitudes. In fact, they are hoping that their foray into NFL cheerleading will inspire others to try out in the future. As it turned out, their move motivated Jess Hernandez to try out for the New Orleans Saints cheer squad. He too, made it.
We are reminded that male cheerleaders are not uncommon, even if their numbers are smaller than women’s. Some famous cheerleaders of squads from the past include Jimmy Stewart, George W. Bush, Steve Martin, and Dwight D. Eisenhower. And let’s not forget how many times Phil Dunphy on Modern Family fondly talk about his cheerleading days.
Tune in to the video below to learn more about Jinnies and Peron while also getting a chance to check out their moves. You’ll be able to catch them making history when they take to the sidelines this Sunday.
Have you already seen these two in action for the Rams? What about the Saints? Will you be watching the Super Bowl this weekend to get a peek at these cheerleaders?