OK, so anyhoo, on the subject of cheerleaders: With the Falcons, Colts, and Titans out of the playoffs and the Redskins never even in 'em, cheerleaders have basically become my last tenuous link to a rapidly concluding football season I feel less and less connection with by the day. (And the Steelers don't even have a cheerleading squad, for some ridiculous reason, so that's fully one half of this weekend's conference-championship games that won't have any ridiculously hot girls dancing on the sideline.) So it's time to give them an official salute and make them the subject of this week's +5, which is the Five Best Cheerleading Uniforms in Football. Enjoy:
San Diego Chargers
If a picture is truly worth a thousand words, then there's not much I can say about the Charger Girls that hasn't already been said here, but I feel an additional round of applause is due to whichever Caltech engineering team designed their unis. Scoff if you want, but when the United States is finally crisscrossed by a network of efficient, smooth-riding maglev trains, we will all owe a debt of gratitude to the pioneers who first harnessed that technology for the Charger Girls' gravity-defying bra tops.
Awesome in pictures, even better in person. Love the Trojans' football team or hate them, you have to respect the cheerleading squad for holding fast to a grand tradition (by which I obviously mean "tight sweaters and shorter-than-average skirts") the way they have.
This is the sleeper squad that, for the most part, has gone under-seen and under-appreciated recently, probably due more to the fact that the Jags went a miserable 5-11 this season than anything else. But there's a sort of appealing, no-nonsense simplicity to the idea of a midriff football jersey and ridiculously short shorts as a uniform, as if they're saying, "Yes, I have an ass you could bounce an Eisenhower silver dollar off of, but I know how to knock some heads on the field, too." At the very least, I hope they're able to knock more heads than the Jags' pass defense did this season.
Texas Longhorns (pom squad)
Hot pants and chaps: A more perfectly geography-appropriate cheerleading uni you will not find anywhere in Division I. And yet Fox cut to them maybe all of one time during the Texas-Ohio State Fiesta Bowl last week. This is the empire that revolutionized lowest-common-denominator network programming and brought you the Night of a Thousand Band Shots during 2007's BCS games, but they can't be bothered to show the Texas pommers more than once? That's like Journey coming on stage to do a reunion gig at the Hollywood Bowl but telling everyone they just don't feel like playing "Don't Stop Believin'."
OK, obviously I'm biased, but the Redskins cheerleaders match the gravity-humbling magic of the Charger Girl's tops (above, left) while simultaneously matching, if not exceeding, the under-butt quotient (above, right) delivered by the Jaguar cheerleaders' hot pants. The result is probably the best combination since somebody thought to put Oreo cookies in ice cream, and I'm intensely proud of the Redskins for having come up with it. (Honorable mention to the Philadelphia Eagles cheerleaders, too, for rolling with this concept.) It beats most of what they've accomplished on the actual field of play in the last six or seven years, that's for sure.
And now the Ten:
1. Gorillaz, "Re-Hash"
2. 3rd Bass, "French Toast"
3. Q-Tip, "Things U Do"
4. Underworld, "Ballet Lane"
5. Pet Shop Boys, "Opportunities (let's make lots of money)" (original 7" version)
6. Blondie, "Heart of Glass"
7. Monty Python, "Spam"
8. Soul II Soul, "Back to Life"
9. Crowded House, "In My Command"
10. Nanci Griffith, "Lookin' for the Time (Working Girl)"
Apologies again for the lateness, kids, but you still have a whole weekend to put your Random Tens and favorite cheerleading squads/unis in the comments. Meanwhile, I'll be kicking it here in frigid Birmingham (ambient temperature 28, wind chill 19) and staying warm the only way I know how: numbing myself to the cold by drinking heavily. It's the healthy thing to do!