The Super Bowl Is About To See Its First Male Cheerleaders

Two of the Los Angeles Rams’ cheerleaders are about to make history as the first men on a cheerleading dance squad at the Super Bowl when their team faces the New England Patriots on Sunday in Atlanta.

Quinton Peron and Napoleon Jinnies will join their female counterparts to support the Rams at Mercedes-Benz Stadium for the NFL championship game. Both men made the Rams’ cheer team in March 2018, joining New Orleans Saints’ Jesse Hernandez last year as the first male cheerleaders in the NFL. Peron and Jinnies, both classically trained dancers, have been cheering this season during the Rams’ 13-3 run to an NFC Championship title.

Cheerleading began as an all-male university sport in the 1800s, a time when women were frequently denied access to higher education. Men now often serve as the stunt anchors for lower-level cheer squads. But while the NFL’s Baltimore Ravens and the Indianapolis Colts have men on their cheer teams, the league’s cheerleading dancers have always been women. Peron and Jinnies will perform the same dance moves as the rest of the team at the Super Bowl.

The two have expressed lots of excitement as they prepare for Sunday’s game, and Rams cheer captain Emily Leibert called the men “trailblazers” last week on “Good Morning America.” 

“I can’t believe we made it to this point,” Jinnies said, with Peron adding that “it’s like a fairy tale.”

The Rams and Patriots game begins at 6:30 p.m. EST Sunday.