Much has been made in recent months about what some of the areas are that need to be addressed in the next CBA. The "true up", player safety, retirement benefits, a rookie wage scale, a longer season and many more contentious topics need to be ironed out before the NFL officially opens its gates again.
Lost among all these hot button topics, despite reassurances from both sides that they are doing this "for the fans", are things that the average fan gets hot and bothered about.
In my case, that would be cheerleaders. There simply aren't enough of them. And to add insult to injury, there are six NFL teams who do not have any cheerleaders at all. This is downright scandalous and needs to be addressed immediately.
I am told by reliable sources that there are football fans somewhere who are indifferent to cheerleaders. I find that very hard to believe. Witness the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders in all their glory and tell me you feel "indifferent":
Six NFL teams find themselves in the Hall Of Shame for not having any cheerleaders. The Bears, Packers, Lions, Steelers, Browns and Giants all do not have any official cheerleading squads. And don't tell me that it's grim up north (which it is) and too cold for scantily clad women to be jumping about. First of all, I couldn't care less: I demand my pound of flesh. Secondly, the Bills, Jets (hilariously, the Jets insist their young ladies are flag carriers, not cheerleaders. Riiiight.) and Patriots all have cheerleaders, and last I checked they were all cold-weather teams. So here's a closer look at the no-fun-teams in the league:
"The Packers haven’t had official cheerleaders since 1988, however cheerleaders from the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay and St. Norbert College appear at home games throughout the season. The Packers discontinued their squad of official cheerleaders in large part due to fan indifference."
Fan indifference? Gimme a break.
Pittsburgh Steelers: The Steelers had cheerleaders called the Steeleretts from 1961-1969. The squad was comprised of full-time students from a nearby junior college, but when the college got its own football team it pulled their squad and the Rooney family decided to abandon the cheerleading experiment. A sound decision according to BTB member Terry, who believes "there aren’t enough hot women in western PA for the Steelers to have cheerleaders."
Chicago Bears: The Chicago Honey Bears (It’s true, I kid you not, I swear!) lasted from 1977 -1985. Bears management at the time said cheerleaders "have become passé" as a reason for dropping the Honey Bears. Today, there is a small grass-roots movement trying to get the Honey Bears back onto Soldier Field. Not sure, but their chances might be better if they found a less toe-curling name for the squad.
Detroit Lions: If ever there was a team in need of some kind of spark and enthusiasm it would be the Lions, but William Clay Ford always wanted a ‘wholesome’ atmosphere at Ford Field. They did bring in high school cheerleaders and baton-twirlers and throwers to the games at some point, but that nonsense was quickly abandoned again.
Cleveland Browns: The Browns are the only team in the NFL that does not have a logo on their helmets, and they are still trying to figure out whether they should have a logo or not. After that, they’ll probably take a decision on cheerleaders.
New York Giants: Since they wish to project a gritty football image and "have always felt that the game should be the focus of the day of game presentation", the Giants have never used the services of professional cheerleaders. The fact that nobody wants to cheer for the Giants apparently has nothing to do with it.
The February 2011 meeting of the Packers and Steelers at Super Bowl XLV was the first time in Super Bowl history that there were no cheerleaders at the game. This is ridiculous and must never happen again. Roger Goodell and DeMaurice Smith, I am personally counting on you to fix this vital part of the fan experience.