The Cleveland Browns: An NFL Life Without Cheerleaders

The Cleveland Browns have a new owner, new coaching staff and will soon prepare for a new draft class. What are the Cleveland Browns still missing? Cheerleaders.

If you Google “Have the Browns ever…” you get a bunch of entertaining previous searches like “…ever won a Super Bowl” or my favorite “…ever had a winning record.” But the most interesting by far is, “…ever had cheerleaders.” I’m glad there are so many other people as interested in this. In fact, the history of cheerleading in Cleveland is very complicated and confusing. The very simple answer is “Yes,” but it’s so much more than that.

Image of the Cleveland Browns Cheerleaders from the Cleveland Plain Dealer from September 17, 1971

There are various accounts of “cheerleaders” on the Browns sidelines, but nothing officially on record with the Browns, only first hand accounts dating all the way back to the late 1950s.

The most recent record lies with this photo from the Cleveland Plain Dealer from September 17, 1971. All the “cheerleaders” were recruited from local high schools. By the end of that season, most of the cheerleaders were gone because of the cold weather and the Browns organizations’ unwillingness to buy matching coats for the girls. At the end of the 1971 season, the cheerleaders were gone for good.

Super Bowl XLV, the Packers vs the Steelers in 2011, was the first Super Bowl in which cheerleaders did not appear. At the conclusion of the 2012 season, there were five teams without full time team sponsored cheerleaders: the Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions, Green Bay Packers, New York Giants, Pittsburgh Steelers, and of course the Cleveland Browns. The Packers do use a squad made up of local college cheerleaders for their home games.

There is an unofficial team for all the New York sports teams, called The Gotham City Cheerleaders, and also the Detroit Pride Cheerleaders, who support the Lions. Most recently, and most importantly, the same group who put together the Detroit Pride started the Cleveland Spirit Cheerleaders in 2012 to support the Browns.

The Cleveland Spirit Cheerleaders at an event in downtown Cleveland

According to statements given to an article in the News-Herald, the Cleveland Spirit are not affiliated with the Browns franchise, but were used this season at tailgate festivities before the games and events at the Barley House and other venues around Cleveland. All this is in the hopes that the Browns organization will eventually welcome a full-time cheerleading squad to their sidelines for all games. Be sure to visit the Cleveland Spirit Cheerleaders’ Facebook page for more information on local events.

However, new owner Jimmy Haslam recently said of adding cheerleaders, “They don’t fit in Cleveland.” It has been confirmed that there will not be official NFL cheerleaders in Cleveland for the 2013 schedule.

Are we really upset about this? Maybe. Honestly, I agree with Haslam; they don’t fit in Cleveland. We’re more of a Dawg Pound town rather than peppy, scantly clad cheerleaders crowd. Besides, no one is stupid enough to wear skimpy outfits in Cleveland’s outdoor stadium, on the lake, with Ohio weather that changes every five minutes, and is downright wicked starting around the beginning of October.

I do think that having them at events around Cleveland will really help the community rally around the Browns. Anything to pump up the city of Cleveland will be beneficial to not only to the Browns but to the city and local businesses too.

I know there are a lot of local cheerleaders who would relish the chance to cheer for their hometown professional team, but just think…. there’s always the Cleveland Cavaliers.

One thought on “The Cleveland Browns: An NFL Life Without Cheerleaders

  1. Julie says:

    Excellent write-up, I couldn’t have said it better.

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