Three men have already broken barriers in the National Football League's 2018-2019 season as the first male cheerleaders in the game's nearly century of existence. But two of those will be breaking another at this weekend's Super Bowl in Atlanta as they become the first ever male cheerleaders to take part in a Super Bowl. Los Angeles Rams cheerleaders Quinton Peron and Napoleon Jinnies will be on the sidelines cheering on their team as they take on the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LIII.
But it should be made clear that the league has had males on the sidelines with cheerleaders before. The Baltimore Ravens, for instance, boast that it has "the only co-ed stunt team in the National Football League." But the men on the sidelines with the Ravens are, in effect, stuntmen: muscle-bound dudes who hold the female cheerleaders high above their heads and chuck them into the air only to deftly catch them as they tumble toward the ground.
The three men that joined the NFL's season this year were not that. These men stepped through all the dance choreography, breaking out those ultra-blinding cheerleader smiles and doing all the regular "rah-rah" that has been associated with women on football sidelines since someone first inflated a pigskin. And two of them are going to the Super Bowl.
And now the NFL will never be the same. And that, very possibly, is the point of it all.