NFL fans generally rely on the performances of the vying football teams to entertain them but the cheerleaders for the teams are a big part of the games. When political correctness befell the nation in the late '70s and early '80s, the alluring shots of the young scantily clad female forms dancing and shouting support for their teams on the sidelines drastically declined and now the energetic young women barely get any TV air time. In fact, seven NFL teams have no cheerleaders at all, including Buffalo Bills, Chicago Bears, Cleveland Browns, Detroit Lions, Green Bay Packers, New York Giants, and the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Regardless of the shunning, not to mention the paltry less-than-minimum-wage pay most of the cheerleaders earn, the job can be a major stepping stone into the world of celebrity. A considerable number of women who professionally cheered for an NFL team went on to careers in show business, albeit some have enjoyed more success than others.
9 Kristin Adams, Dallas Cowboys
Kristin Adams made it to the semifinals of the premiere season of American Idol and went on to host G4TV's Cheat and Poker Night on the Game Show Network. The former Cowgirl was an America Idol semi-finalist in its first season, where she was best known for slipping and falling under the judges' table when she dashed to hug Paula Abdul after her win. Adams, whose married surname is Holt, has since worked as a morning radio co-host in Dallas, had a bit part on the former television show Dirty Sexy Money, played a bartender in the comedy film Rock Slyde, and was a featured on the cover of Stuff magazine.
8 Charisma Carpenter, San Diego Chargers
Reportedly named after an Avon perfume, Carpenter numbers among one of the most successful post-cheerleading actresses. After her Charger cheering days, her early credits included a 1994 appearance as a Baywatch babe, followed by recurring major roles on many television shows including Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Strange Frequency, Boy Meets World, Malibu Shores, Charmed, Miss Match, Angel and Veronica Mars. Carpenter also appeared on the TV series Blue Bloods and has roles in three moves currently in post-production.
7 Tiffany Fallon, Atlanta Falcons
Fallon earned her degree in Sports Management from Florida State University before she cheered for the Atlanta Falcons in the late 1990s. After she put away her pompoms, she racked up a crown as Miss Georgia USA in 2001 and came out third in the Miss USA pageant. After appearing as Playmate of the Month in the December 2004 issue of Playboy magazine, Fallon earned the distinction of Playmate of the Year in 2005, the second oldest female in Playboy history to be so honored. She's appeared on the reality shows The Girls Next Door and The Apprentice as well as in numerous music videos and print and television ad campaigns.
6 Lisa Guerrero, Los Angeles Rams
Guerrero was a boisterous beauty when she rooted for the Rams in the ‘80s and her boundless energy has opened many doors since then. She landed a role on Sunset Beach, followed by parts on the hit sitcoms Frasier and the George Lopez show. She worked one year as a sideline reporter on Monday Night Football but then went back to acting, her most notable role being in the movie Moneyball. Guerrero also served as entertainment director for the Atlanta Falcons, New England Patriots and former Los Angeles Rams.
5 Jenilee Harrison, Los Angeles Rams
After 2 years as a Los Angeles Rams cheerleader, during which she made a TV appearance on an episode of CHiPS that featured the cheerleaders as themselves, Harrison was cast in the coveted role of Chrissy in Three’s Company following Suzanne Somers’ abrupt departure. That role led to a string of acting parts in the ‘80s in such memorable shows as Murder, She Wrote, The New Mike Hammer, Hotel, The Love Boat, Simon & Simon, Fantasy Island and Dallas, where she had the distinction of being killed off twice.
4 Teri Hatcher, San Francisco 49ers
Although generally best known for her starring role as part of the ensemble cast of Desperate Housewives, Hatcher’s first break came as a cheerleader for the San Francisco 49ers in their heyday with Joe Montana as the team's quarterback in 1984. After that, she appeared in 19 episodes of Love Boat before being cast as Lois Lane on the hit show The New Adventures of Superman. After 8 years on Desperate Housewives, Hatcher continues to act and do voice overs for animated films.
3 Stacy Keibler, Baltimore Ravens
Keibler’s known for many accomplishments over the past 10 or 15 years. One of her first big breaks was gaining a spot on the Baltimore Ravens cheerleading team, followed by years of notable appearances on WWE- and WWF- based television series. She captured American hearts as a strong contender on Dancing With The Stars and has had roles in movies as well as on popular TV shows such as How I Met Your Mother, Chuck and Psych. She’s also part of George Clooney’s long list of lady friends, with whom she called it quits after 2 years and 8 months.
2 Apollonia Kotero, Los Angeles Rams
Although Kotero seemed to burst on the scene in the iconic Prince movie Purple Rain, the spotlight first shone on her in the early ‘80s as cameras lingered on her as a Los Angeles Rams cheerleader. That exposure helped her land roles on such classic TV series as Fantasy Island and Falcon Crest. Kotero also appeared in Chips, Tales of the Gold Monkey, Matt Houston and Knight Rider but never duplicated the attention PurpleRain gained her.
1 Bonnie-Jill Laflin, San Francisco 49ers, Dallas Cowboys
Laflin was apparently born to cheer. She began as a basketball cheerleader for the Golden State Warriors, for which she earned the honor of Cheerleader of the Year in her debut season. Next, she cheered on the San Francisco 49ers Goldrush squad during one of their winning seasons that added a Super Bowl ring to her jewelry collection. Laflin was then chosen as one of 13 of 1,300 competing for a place on the Dallas Cowboys cheerleading squad. This exposure and her drive and talent helped her land roles on Baywatch, Ally McBeal, Nash Bridges and The Jamie Foxx Show.