Over the past couple weeks leading up to Super Bowl 53, there have been numerous articles, although many with the same copied content, published that proclaim that the two men on the LA Ram’s Cheerleading team are the first male cheerleaders to perform at the Super Bowl. While these two men being able to join their teammates on the field for the Super Bowl is a great accomplishment, they are actually closer to the 26th or 27th male cheerleaders to perform at the Super Bowl.
Starting in 1998 the Baltimore Ravens have had a Cheerleading team that consists of 2 groups, a dance team and a stunt team. Both groups perform choreographed routines together for every home game and have twice performed as a group at the Super Bowl.
During Super Bowl 35 I had the great honor of being one of those male cheerleaders and was part of the true first group of male cheerleaders to perform at the Super Bowl. At the time being the first group was not really a concern to any of us, it was amazing to be on the sideline and on the field and in the endzone with my teammates. The greatest part for me was at a practice in Baltimore just after the AFC Championship when were told by David Modell that after almost no thought, the organization was taking the entire Baltimore Ravens Cheerleading Team to the game and as an added bonus we could bring someone to watch. I called my dad, being able to ask him to go see the super bowl made up for much of the ridicule and pettiness that was directed at male cheerleaders prior to the last few years.
Some people have said that they are making the distinction that the LA Rams men are the first cheerleaders because they are dancing in the same routines. Is that to say that the women that were stunting with the men on the Ravens team are not cheerleaders because they do different parts in a routine? The male cheerleaders I know are proud to be called cheerleaders, we are not stuntmen as one article put it, we don’t just run flags, we are part of a program and part of a family and occasionally even dance in the routines. In fact there is even an interesting fact posted by CBS in 2016 about the only male cheerleaders in the NFL
In no way do I want to take away from the excitement and achievements of Quinton Peron and Napoleon Jinnies, going to the Super Bowl is a great achievement and one they should be very proud of. In this age of accessibility, I hope that some news outlets look a little deeper, maybe talk to some of my teammates, both the men and women, or some of the members of the 2013 Ravens team that also took an entire group of male cheerleaders to the Super Bowl.