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Here we go, Steelers -- HERE WE GO!

1961-1962 football season

The 1961 Steelerettes

Tryouts for the NFL's first cheerleaders began in the spring of 1961. Overseeing this momentous event was "the father" of the Steelerettes, William V. Day, and RMJC cheerleading sponsor, Garnet Glover. The girls were selected on the basis of appearance, personality, coordination and gymnastic ability. Oh, yes, and they were also required to maintain a 2.0 grade point average. The first few squads were required to take a written exam testing their knowledge of football in general, and the Steelers in particular. This meant they should be able to identify the Steelers quarterback (Bobby Layne), the coach (Buddy Parker), and have some clue as to who Buddy Dial and "Big Daddy" Lipscomb were. Hey, this wasn't easy. The written exam was dropped in 1964.

The 1961 Steelerettes

The first Steelerettes were (in no particular order) Virginia Davis, Patricia Zuvella, Margaret Hensler, Eleanor Lineman (Captain), Dolly Merante, Margie McCormick, Sandy McEachran, Linda Walters and Barbara Bishop. The picture to the right was taken on top of scenic Mt. Washington which provided a panoramic backdrop of the City of Pittsburgh.

Leading cheers for a professional sports team had to be different than the traditional "Rah,Rah -- Go Team Go" cheers that were shouted at high school football games. Problem was, nobody really knew what cheerleaders for a professional team were supposed to do. The fans were definitely not interested in engaging in sophomoric chants -- first of all, they weren't paying that much attention to the girls on the field. The Steelerettes function was finally defined as entertainers whose job it was to keep the enthusiasm high even if the Steelers were losing. This was achieved through energetic, high spirited dance/gymnastic routines meticulously practiced and executed to live music on the field provided by Vernon Lodge. The 1961 Steelerettes lead the charge and, even though they were sailing on relatively uncharted waters, they did it with class.

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1961 Wins/Losses/Ties (6-8-0)
Date Opp Final
Sun 09/17 @Dallas L 24-27
Sun 09/24 NYG L 14-17
Sun 10/01 @LA L 14-24
Sun 10/08 @Phi L 16-21
Sun 10/15 Wash W 20-0
Sun 10/22 Cle L 28-30
Sun 10/29 SF W 20-10
Sun 11/05 @Cle W 17-13
Sun 11/12 Dal W 37-07
Sun 11/19 @NYG L 21-42
Sun 11/26 StL W 30-27
Sun 12/03 Phi L 24-35
Sun 12/10 @Wash W 30-14
Sun 12/17 @StL L 0-20

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Last updated 14.11.2006