Well, that’s what they look like, right? If there was an Olympics of pro cheerleading, this is exactly what Team USA would look like. (This plus a lot of sparkles.) And they would dominate. USA! USA! USA!
Seriously, we should send these ladies to the Olympics. And the UN, and international chess competitions, and things.
(FYI, these costumes were produced by our friend Terra Saunders’ company, Dallaswear.)
We first heard about this group when a UK reader emailed James a photo of this autograph card:
Click to view full size
Personally, I was aghast. How could this kind of thing be going on, and here I am, was completely unaware? Those of you who should have told me about this, and you know who you are, should be ashamed.
In my perfect world, every team would send me a copy of their upcoming appearances each month, but alas that is not the case. Thank goodness we can rely on you faithful ones out there to keep us in the loop.
I was immediately curious because I recognized most of the ladies in the photo. I thought it was strange that someone put together an independent team of cheerleaders to go London “coincidentally” the same time as the Vikings/Steelers game. After all, there were more than enough Minnesota Vikings Cheerleaders to go around. Did somebody seriously think there was a cheerleader shortage in London? The MVC were everywhere!
So I did a little snooping around, and I think I’ve pieced it together. Here’s the skinny: the league is doing a month-long “Touchdown Tour” in London and south east England, with one stop in Birmingham (a working class town north of the capital). Every few years there’s a lot of hype about having an NFL team in the UK, and I guess this is part of the latest round of hoopla. And “hoopla,” by definition, includes cheerleaders. Or should. Cheerleaders, and a big truck with lots of merchandise, games, big important trophies, and cardboard cutouts of famous football players.
I gather that the league hired e2k to produce a team of red, white, and blue cheerleaders to support the tour. E2k, for those who don’t know, is the company that produces the Charger Girls and the 49ers GoldRush. (Unlike other teams in the league, the Chargers and 49ers contract out instead of producing their own in-house dance teams. So the ladies who direct those teams are e2k employees, rather than employees of the NFL franchise.) E2k also produces the Pro Bowl Cheerleaders every year. So that’s why it was logical to have e2k produce this touring group.
Sidebar: the NFL doesn’t seem to realize it, but they are alienating the heck out everyone who resides more than half a day outside of London. The Scots, the Welsh, everyone north of Birmingham, they all feel rather insulted that the NFL isn’t bothering with them at all. I say ‘suck it up, Brits.’ I can tell you, as a resident of Los Angeles, that you’ll eventually get used to being ignored by the NFL. (Ignored, misled, used as a pawn…need I continue?)
Cheer Team USA consists of eight NFL Cheerleader alumni, five from the San Diego Charger Girls and three from the San Francisco 49ers GoldRush. I don’t know how they chose these particular eight. I’m sure tons of women wanted to go. (Free trip to England!) But I doubt that many could afford to take off an entire month for the tour, so no doubt that narrowed the field more than a little. And of course, they had to have eight who are still in fighting shape and still have (or can acquire) long, flowing cheerleader hair. So here’s who they chose:
(Note: although there are seven women in the team photo, there are eight in the group.)
San Diego Charger Girls, 2010-11, 2012-13
San Diego Charger Girls, 2010-12
San Diego Charger Girls, 2010-13
Los Angeles Clippers Spirit, 2008-10
San Diego Charger Girls, 2010-13
San Francisco 49ers GoldRush, 2010-12
San Francisco 49ers GoldRush, 2011-13
San Francisco 49ers GoldRush, 2009-12
San Diego Charger Girls, 2007-10
I’m not sure what this group’s exact name is, but on Twitter, they call themselves the “NFL All Star Team.” That’s a little misleading, but I don’t suppose “NFL Alumni Cheerleaders” has the same ring to it.
I went looking for photos of this group and hit the jackpot on Flickr. God Bless the interwebs!
Click here for 5DII (aka Bill’s) gallery
Click here for Jordi Corbilla’s gallery
Click here for Flakker’s gallery (HUGE collection that also includes many excellent photos of the Vikings Cheerleaders)
Click here for Dave Pearce’s gallery
Click here for Mark Andrews’ gallery
Click here for Tony Grimes’ gallery
Click here for Niz Mohamed’s gallery
This photo is from the Tony Grimes collection.
From left: Rachel, Megan, Marissa, Amanda, Vanesa, Lauren, Myka, and Emma.
Almost all of the photos I found are from the group’s performance at the big rally on Regent Street in the heart of London last month. What you will notice immediately is that a good 75% of the photos are pictures of Amanda. I figure there are a few possible reasons for this.
(A) She’s got some sort of mojo that causes every photographer to fall under her spell
(B) She was all “Outta my way biatches. I’M the star here”
(C) The ladies danced in a relatively tight formation that put Amanda dead center more often than not.
(D) She just happened to be in the spot where the light was best. Considering most of the other girls were in shadow, I’m going with this one. I’m guessing she couldn’t see a thing with that light in her face.
This one's from Niz
The team is under the direction of E2K producer Lindsay Rosenberg. Los Angelenos may recognize her as an alum of the Los Angeles Clippers Spirit. Perhaps she was chosen for this gig because she is already familiar with the color scheme. (Hardy har har.)
Lindsay retired from the Clippers in 2007 and has gone on to do all sorts of other cool and exciting things in the entertainment industry. In fact, I recall correctly, she was in Iron Man 2, as one of the “Ironettes.” I never saw the movie, but I can only surmise from photos that the Ironettes were pretty badass.
With one game down and one to go, the tour still has a couple of weeks left. Their last stop is a tailgate event back at Wembley Stadium on Sunday, Oct 27th, when the Jaguars host the 49ers. Both of those teams have their own cheerleaders, so get ready for poms out the wazoo.
In addition to that, the league has announced that next year, there will be THREE regular season NFL games at Wembley. I’m sure some sort of tour will hit the road next year as well. And where there’s an NFL tour, there are cheerleaders. I for one, will be keeping an eye out for the red, white, and blue. I hope none of those games involve the Patriots, Texans, or Bills, because all that red, white, and blue would be powerful confusin’. Not that the British know the difference. That weekend, every cheerleader was a Vikings Cheerleader.