We thought that Sarah Thomas making history as the first female NFL official to oversee a playoff game was big for this year, but then we heard about Quinton Peron and Napoleon Jinnies.
The two 27-year-old classically-trained dancers are the first men to be NFL cheerleaders, period, and they’re also the first to go to the Super Bowl. It’s been a big year for them, to say the least. Peron and Jinnies, who knew each other from their college years, coincidentally auditioned for the same team last March for the 2018 to 2019 season -- that team just happened to be the Los Angeles Rams.
“From the beginning, we were like, 'We're going to do this together,’” Peron told Fast Company.
Not only did they make the squad, but the Rams made it to Super Bowl LIII (albeit after a controversial no-call by the refs) and will compete against the New England Patriots on Sunday, Feb. 3.
While other NFL teams have casted stuntmen alongside their cheerleaders, Peron and Jinnies are the first traditional male cheerleaders that do the same routines as their female counterparts.
“It’s been a crazy 10 months, dancing hard and really engaging with our community and team and supporting our players. I can’t believe we made it to this point,” Jinnies said on Good Morning America.
While the two aren’t hiding their excitement to hit the sidelines come Sunday’s game, they’re also making sure they don’t overlook the importance of their positions.
“We’ve been reached out to by so many men that are so excited to try out. It’s exciting to see the tide change a little bit.” Peron said.
For example, after seeing Peron and Jinnies succeeding in making the Rams’ squad in March, cheerleader Jesse Hernandez followed in April. He now dances for the New Orleans Saints cheerleaders.
And, of course, the Rams cheerleading coach Emily Leibert has nothing but praise.
“They’re extraordinary in that they’re trailblazers, but they’re also totally normal teammates,” she said.
No matter what you’re watching for on Sunday, keep an eye out for the spirit on the sidelines.