Green Bay Packers cheerleaders

Several Green Bay Packers cheerleading squads have performed in Green Bay Packers' history. The Packers became one of the first professional football teams to have a cheerleading squad, having first used cheerleaders in 1931. The squad performed for 57 years under three separate names. In 1988, it was decided that the team would cease having a professional squad cheer for them. Since 1988, the team uses collegiate squads in a limited role to cheer during home games.

Green Bay Packers cheerleaders
UWGB Packers Cheerleaders '06-'07
Formation1950
AffiliationsGreen Bay Packers
WebsiteInfo on Packers.com
Formerly called
  • Packerettes (1950)
  • Golden Girls (1961-1972)
  • Packerettes (1973-1977)
  • Sideliners (1977-1986)
  • College Cheerleaders (1988-present)
Packers Cheer 07-08 115
2007 Green Bay Packers cheerleaders during a playoff game

Role

The cheerleaders squads have cheered for the National Football League team at home games in Green Bay and Milwaukee, Wisconsin.[1] They occasionally represent the team at various functions, although since 1988 they have had a limited role compared to other professional cheer squads in the National Football League

History

The Packers became one of the first professional football teams to have cheerleaders in 1931 when they used the Green Bay East and West high schools' squads on the sidelines for several games.[2]

Packers coach Vince Lombardi notified Mary Jane Sorgel that he wanted her to organize a professional cheerleading squad.[3] Lombardi wasn't clear about exactly what he wanted, but he was clear about what he didn't want. "We weren't the Dallas Cowgirls," said Sorgel. "We were wholesome Midwest girls, because Vince Lombardi did not like real short skirts. He liked the girls to be more modest, so that's the way we were."[3]

The first professional squad was named the Green Bay Packerettes. They were later renamed the Golden Girls, renamed back to the Packerettes, and later the Green Bay Sideliners.[4] The Packers last had professional cheerleaders in 1988.[2] Green Bay television station WFRV did a poll and found that approximately 50% of fans wanted cheerleaders and 50% did not.[5] Packers Vice President Bob Harlan issued a press release, stating "In general terms, the poll disclosed there were as many fans who expressed opposition to the return of the cheerleaders as there were those in favor of restoring them. On that basis, we felt the appropriate decision at this time would be to continue without them."[5] College cheerleaders now cheer on the sidelines for the team.

Green Bay Packerettes

The Green Bay Packers cheer squad was first named the Green Bay Packerettes and was organized by Bernie Matzke.[6] She formed a squad of baton twirlers at the request of Wilbur Burke who ran Green Bay Packers Lumberjack band.[7] The squad under this name was active in the 1950s while the Packers played at City Stadium.[3][7]

Golden Girls

The team took their name from Paul Hornung's nickname "The Golden Boy." They were founded in 1961 by national champion batton twirler Mary Jane Sorgel and they lasted until she got engaged in 1972.[2][8] The first squad consisted of sixteen students from Sorgel's dance studios around northeast Wisconsin doing routines designed by her.[3] "The girls I had on the field did more than just cheering," Sorgel said. "They did tumbling, I had some national baton twirling champions and dancers, and of course the pom girls. We were very colorful."[3] 1970 squad member Anne Maedke described their routine, "The Golden Girls did skits, dance routines -- twirling and tumbling and acrobatic type things -- in one-piece sequined swimsuits and high-heeled boots during breaks."[4] The Golden Girls cheered during the Ice Bowl.[8] The Golden Girls were honored by the team with a permanent installation at the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame in May 2007.[4]

Green Bay Packerettes return

In 1973, the Green Bay Packers changed the name of the squad back to the Green Bay Packerettes and recruited Matzke back as their leader.[7] The Packerettes performed at other events such as nursing homes, parades, and a show with Bob Hope at the Resch Center.[7] The squad was active under this name until 1977.[9][10]

Green Bay Sideliners

In 1977, the squad was again renamed to the Green Bay Sideliners. The squad was the last professional squad to cheer for the Packers, having been disbanded in 1988.[11]

Collegiate cheerleaders

The Packers had the University of Wisconsin–Green Bay (UWGB) cheerleaders cheer after they no longer had professional cheerleaders. The team currently uses college cheerleading squads, with the UWGB squad (coed) and St. Norbert's (all girl) cheering at each home game.[2]

References

  1. ^ "Community Snapshots South: Jan. 3, 2008". Green Bay Press Gazette. 2008-01-03. Archived from the original on 2013-01-25. Retrieved 2008-04-16.
  2. ^ a b c d Popkey, Aaron (2008-05-18). "Golden Girls and Fans Enjoy Evening in Packers Hall of Fame". Green Bay Packers. Archived from the original on July 9, 2008. Retrieved 2008-04-17.
  3. ^ a b c d e Spofford, Mike (2007-05-11). "'Golden Girls' Event Slated For Wednesday". Green Bay Packers. Archived from the original on September 15, 2007. Retrieved 2008-04-17.
  4. ^ a b c Snyder Edler, Molly (2008-01-21). "Local mom was Packers cheerleader, first female to letter in football". On Wisconsin. Retrieved 2008-04-16.
  5. ^ a b "You Asked. Packers.com Answers". Green Bay Packers. 2003-03-14. Archived from the original on August 26, 2005. Retrieved 2008-04-17.
  6. ^ http://proko-wall.i-lived.com/obituary/2015-01-09/Bernadine-Bernie-Matzke. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  7. ^ a b c d Srubas, Paul (January 13, 2015). "Founder of Packerettes cheerleadings squad dies". The Post-Crescent. p. A4.
  8. ^ a b Bradley, Brooke (September 12, 1997). "Golden Girls Reunion". WLUK This Morning, Flashback Segment. Green Bay, Wisconsin. Event occurs at 06:58–07:00. WLUK-TV. Retrieved September 12, 2014.
  9. ^ Green Bay Packerettes, Green Bay Press-Gazette, Retrieved September 21, 2007
  10. ^ Ex-Packers cheerleader writes winning slogan for fence, September 9, 2007, Retrieved September 21, 2007
  11. ^ Legends on Parade to highlight Packers' Glory Years Archived 2007-11-07 at the Wayback Machine, Green Bay Press-Gazette, August 24, 2007, Retrieved September 21, 2007

External links

National Football League Cheerleading

National Football League Cheerleading, or simply NFL Cheerleading, is a professional cheerleading organization in the United States. 26 of the 32 NFL teams include a cheerleading squad in their franchise. Cheerleaders are a popular attraction that can give a team more coverage/airtime, popular local support, and increased media image. In 1954, the Baltimore Colts became the first NFL team to have cheerleaders. They were part of the Baltimore Colts Marching Band.

Most NFL cheerleading squads are a part-time job. Often, cheerleaders have completed or are attending a university, and continue on to other careers after cheering for one to four seasons. The members participate in practice, training camp, games, appearances, photo shoots, and charity events. Apart from their main duties of cheering during the football games, the cheerleaders have many other responsibilities. Nearly every team member is available for appearances at schools, events, conferences, etc., for a set fee.

An anticipated annual event is the release of each squad's calendar, featuring members for each month in swimsuits or uniforms.

As well as being a mainstay of American football culture, the cheerleaders are one of the biggest entertainment groups to regularly perform for the United States Armed Forces overseas with performances and tours being enlisted by the USO. Teams send their variety show, an elite group of their best members, to perform combination shows of dance, music, baton twirling, acrobatics, gymnastics, and more. In February 2007, the Buffalo Bills even sent a squad of eight along with their choreographer into the war zone of Iraq. In 1996, the San Francisco 49ers Cheerleaders and their director helicoptered into the war inflicted country of Bosnia with the USO and the U.S. Army. The U.S. troops in Korea have been entertained during the holiday season with the USO's Bob Hope Tour. Over the years, the tour has featured NFL cheerleaders from the Dallas Cowboys and the San Francisco 49ers.

In 2018, the first male dancers were added to National Football League Cheerleading.

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