Super Bowl 2019: Meet the male cheerleaders making history

Male cheerleaders at Super Bowl 2019

AtlantaSuper Bowl week is always the NFL's big rah-rah moment and this year, the league's rooting for something new. Quinton Peron and Napoleon Jinnies — two professional dancers — became cheerleaders for the Los Angeles Rams. They are the first men ever to cheer during the Super Bowl.

"Especially the world of entertainment is in a place of being open and if you can do the job, why not," said Jinnies.

NFL cheerleaders were once seen as sideline sex symbols and sometimes jeered as Barbies with pom poms. Rams cheerleaders were once known as the "Embraceable Ewes." But in today's NFL, cheerleaders are often professional dancers. Last year 300 people competed to cheer for the Rams and two were men.

Los Angeles Chargers v Los Angeles Rams
Quinton Peron performs at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on Sept. 23, 2018. Harry How / Getty

"I was like if we're going to be here we need to make a statement, not just stand in the shadows and get intimidated," said Peron.

Jenn Padilla and Emily Leibert, two other cheerleaders, were floored.

"There was a bit of shock at first but then you realize it's nothing new and if the talent was there, which it was, then they deserve to be on this team," said Leibert.

Most fans have cheered them on but some have pushed back.  

Arizona Cardinals v Los Angeles Rams
Napoleon Jinnies dances at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on Sept. 16, 2018. Harry How / Getty

"We have a job to do. So you can't let anything affect you or your work," Peron said.

Now, every time someone says "Super Bowl," their faces light up.

"This smile has not left since we landed," Peron said.

With every sideline jump this Sunday — the NFL takes a leap forward.

  • Mark Strassmann

    Mark Strassmann has been a CBS News correspondent since January 2001 and is based in the Atlanta bureau.