A few of our favorite Patriots cheerleaders

By Os Davis  |   Friday, June 20, 2008  |  Comments( 4 )

New England Patriots
Got something to say?

Log In above and share your thoughts on this topic with other fans!

With the NFL engine idling in neutral, RealFootball365.com takes time to acknowledge those perhaps most underappreciated of all team employees, the cheerleaders.

Say all you want about the relative importance of these ladies to the pageantry and ritualistic tradition that is American football, but the truth is the typical NFL cheerleader works hard to perfect her craft while earning peanuts. And not just peanuts compared to the bloated salary of your average left tackle; we’re talking peanuts compared to freaking minimum wage.

How little? Naturally, in the case of the New England Patriots’ squad, such matters are kept as far out of the public sphere as the reality behind Laurence Maroney’s “questionable” injury designation for next week. However, we can extrapolate from a few other more upfront ladies and/or organizations the following.

In the first half of the decade, Indianapolis Colts’ pompommer could expect $50 per game" target="_new">an Indianapolis Colts pompommer could expect $50 per game – if the team captain; otherwise she might be working for free. (That’s right: free. Though we’re often told taking the cheerleading gig is all about the possibility of exposure for professional dancers and choreographers, what sort of Hollywood hype can you generate for yourself in Indiana?) According to Yahoo!, the San Diego Chargers appeared to offer the best rate at some $60 per home game. In Dallas and St. Louis, the pay was $50 per home game as of the 2004 season; in Houston and Seattle, an hourly wage is offered; no word on the latter, but that former wage is the Texas minimum.

If you think those rates are little more than beer money, here’s the sick thing: Those are among the most generous groups. At the same time as the Yahoo! post cited above was written, Web site DanceCheer.net informed that “the pay may range from only $15 to $50 per game.” On top of that, the ladies are expected to “address ... superiors with a gracious ‘Yes ma'am, thank you’ and a smile, even if harshly criticized.” Meanwhile, “some squads require that you hold at least a part-time job, attend college or are a full-time mother.”

(What chance an artist there, eh?)

And on top of that, the competition is nearly as fierce as an NFL minicamp, maybe more so. In March came tryouts for the 2008 Patriots Cheerleaders squad. An all-day workshop was chased the next weekend by a 12-hour tryout attended by 300 prospects. Subsequent weekends had the women give personal interviews and more auditions. That included participation from some of the 2007 squad who had to re-audition to hold their spot; imagine if, say, Asante Samuel had been required to attend all offseason activities with the team just to stay on the 53-man roster.)

Before the end of the month, the final 53 (apparently some kind of magic number in the NFL) was whittled down to 32. That 32 became the final squad of 23 in early April; names of the entire roster run below. While NewEnglandPatriots.com is just this week kicking off its spotlight feature to highlight one of these talented and gorgeous girls – and good on them, too; the checklist-style bios (you know, those ones that ask for such scintillating details as “favorite food” and “best gift ever received” and such) running now just don’t cut it – this writer used a little surfing time to, um, choose a few favorites of his own.

Please, no offense to those excellent ladies who didn’t make the cut here; maybe the boss will let me turn this into a series, heh heh. No? Ah, come on!

Without further ado, then, representing yourrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr 2008 Patriots cheerleaders are:

Asia. So call me a sucker for any woman named after a continent. Asia got in as a Patriots cheerleader newbie for 2008 and is a Massachusetts girl born, raised and educated in the state. Asia is so multi-talented as to positively breed envy and admiration at the sheer energy level required.

Currently studying pre-med at (where else?) University of Massachusetts Amherst, Asia lists on her résumé 10 years’ worth of modeling, seven years in gymnastics, and four years performing on piano along with the near-requisite nine years in cheerleading. Her life ambition? Oh, just “To be a surgeon and own an Italian restaurant on the side.”

Oh, and check this out, boys: Asia boasts that “I can play on expert in Guitar Hero.” What a woman, eh?

Brittany. A rookie to the Patriots’ squad, Brittany may yet become known as the Bo Jackson of this team. Her experience includes stints with the AFL’s Michigan Wolves, the WNBA’s Connecticut Sun and the AHL’s Hartford Wolfpack.

Sometime around all this sport-hopping, Brittany managed to score a Master’s in social work and participate in Hurricane Katrina relief efforts in New Orleans. Brittany’s educational/professional ambitions include receiving “my LCSW to keep practicing clinical social work, and then obtain[ing] my PhD and become a college professor of social work,” a challenge at which she’ll doubtlessly succeed.

Plus, this lady has a little necessary female complexity going for her, too. Person she’d like to be for a day? The Dalai Lama. Favorite animated character? Eric Cartman. The only more scintillating combo? The top and bottom of Brittany’s swimsuit.

Dinna. One of the team’s line captains, Dinna appears to be a bit of a math geek with a BS degree in computer engineering (math minor) to her name and is currently employed as a SAP consultant. The Thailand-born beauty is also quite an amazing polyglot, calling herself “semi-fluent” in five languages.

But most of all, Dinna gets props here for turning in probably the single best answer given on any one of these forms. When asked “If you could be anyone in the world for a day, who would it be?” Dinna responded, “Jesus.” No lack of ambition here, then! (Assuming, of course, that she’s indeed referring to Christ Our Lord And Saviour as opposed to Ray Allen’s Jesus Shuttleworth. Although these days in Boston ...)

Giselle. OK, OK, just kidding ... but why not link to that cover one more time?

Jessica. Jessica easily makes the RF365 team, if only based on her photo in the upcoming Patriots cheerleaders calendar (incidentally, a well-belated thank you to Sports Illustrated for incorporating bikini shoots into the world of American sports all these years ago): If her pic doesn’t make you sweat, my man, I’m afraid you don’t have a pulse.

But like most good cheer girls, Jessica is waaaaaaaaaaay more than a pretty face. She’s currently studying cardiovascular technology (insert heart-stopping/CPR joke here) with the ultimate goal to become an echo-cardiographer; yeah, like we all knew what that was. Jessica also shows good taste in film, with Johnny Depp/Leonardo DiCaprio classic "What’s Eating Gilbert Grape?" on her “favorite movies” list. (Yes, I’m pretending I didn’t see "My Best Friend’s Wedding" there.) Bonus points, too, for Jessica’s answer to “Do you have any hidden talents?” Says Jessica: “None.” Tell you what: “What you see is what you get” never sounded so promising.

Julie. Co-line captain Julie is a Massachusetts girl seemingly born to be on this team. Julie claims some 20 years’ worth of dancing to her credit (how is this possible? Julie can’t possibly be more than 25, can she?). We’re going with Julie here for a couple of her beautiful zen-like answers to a couple of questions.

To wit, when asked for her favorite song, Julie answered “Every song is my favorite.” Yes, that’s absolutely correct! And Julie’s favorite quote comes from Simonides of Ceos, lyric poet from seventh-century BC Ancient Greece: “Dancing is silent poetry.” Excellent: This writer has always thought sports was simply competitive dancing for men.

Leondra. Although, again, this writer can’t stand the cutesy list format, it definitely worked in the case of rookie Leondra. At the risk of never getting a date with any of the other 22 ladies (the wife kinda stands in the way of that sort of thing, too, actually), I’ll go out on a limb to call Leondra my personal favorite.

Why? It’s the mystery, man, the mystery. Check this out: Leondra is a Los Angeles girl who lists winter as her favorite season in New England. Currently an office manager and with multiple years of experience in three forms of dance, Leondra seeks to become a biologist. Most exotic (read: fascinatingly weirdest) of all is her answer to “favorite sport other than football.” Who would’ve guessed “curling” in a million years? (Guess that what comes of sports-loving girls growing up in a town without an NFL team.)

And here’s the clincher. Says Leondra, “I'm pretty good at Madden.” Ladies and gentlemen, we have a winner!

As the cliché goes, though, all the 2008 Patriots cheerleaders are winners, so here’s a shout out to Alicia Bardaro, Asia Barnes, Lindsey Barrows, Carrie Binette, Brittany Bonchuk, Alyssa Caddle, Corie Mae Callaluca, Sara Couto, Caitlin Davis, Leah Krieger, Angela Lavoie, Kelly Looke, Rebecca Lucas, Ryann Murray, Jillian O'Neil, Sandra Smyly, Leah Vandale, Angela Vernaglia, Jessica Wanzie, Julie Warner, Julia Williamson, Leondra Wright and Dinna Yap.

Best of luck in 2008 to all these hard-working, talented ladies!

RealFootball365.com: Throughout the year leading the cheer, "Gimme an 'R'! Gimme an 'E'! Gimme an 'A'..."
Got something to say?

Log In above and share your thoughts on this topic with other fans! (4)

About Os Davis

Os Davis has taken a twisted route to get to RealFootball365.com in his nearly 17 years in professional writing, working in any number of capacities in the sportswriting, news reporting and film criticism worlds. In print media, Os has served as editor at a few publications, including Albuquerque's...
Article Tools Share!   |  RSS  |  Bleacher Report About Bleacher Report