Super Bowl XLVI is just weeks away, and while the competing teams have yet to be decided, there’s one big difference between this year and last year’s matchup: Cheerleaders. Last year’s championship game between the Green Bay Packers and the Pittsburgh Steelers was the first time in Super Bowl history that no cheerleaders were leading the crowd from the sidelines, because neither team had a squad. Six out of the 32 NFL teams are cheerleader-less.
And that’s a buzz-kill. Not only do cheerleaders help to ignite the energy and overall atmosphere of a football game, but the squads are also instrumental in cheering for their franchises outside the stadium, too, whether through community service, fan interaction or marketing opportunities. And this year, there will certainly be flips and tumbles, cheers and claps coming from a cheer squad on the Super Bowl sidelines.
With this in mind, CNBC’s Darren Rovell and Paul Toscano took a look at the 26 NFL cheerleading squads to choose the 10 best, taking into account both business and pleasure. The financial news gurus graded the cheerleaders’ websites, community outreach and audition processes.
(PHOTOS: Super Bowl Entertainment)
Surprisingly, the New England Patriots cheerleaders bested the iconic Dallas Cowboys squad to top CNBC’s list, even though Rovell and Toscano point out that the Cowboys cheerleaders are “the most prestigious squad in the NFL,” as well as the most heavily marketed.
The Patriots cheerleaders, on the other hand, boast a comprehensive website — including 16 years of squad photos — and are highly involved in community service with their “Junior Patriots Cheerleaders” program. They also recently shot their 2012 swimsuit calendar in Aruba. Lucky ladies.
The sun-kissed Miami Dolphins cheerleaders round out the top three, garnering a high ranking due to their social media integration, CNBC notes. Each cheerleader has Twitter and Facebook pages linked right from the squad’s website. The Dolphin cheerleaders also travel to visit military bases and support NFL Mexico in Mexico City. And to think we didn’t even know such a league existed.
Here is CNBC’s complete list:
1. New England Patriots
2. Dallas Cowboys
3. Miami Dolphins
4. Houston Texans
5. Denver Broncos
6. Philadelphia Eagles
7. New York Jets
8. New Orleans Saints
9. Oakland Raiders
10. Atlanta Falcons