quarterback about to pass

Lose the Cheerleaders, Win the Game

Their team was down 35-14. 90 seconds left in the game. Then the cheerleaders danced along the sideline and began their chant. As they put on their display, the quarterback pointed them out to his team. The team had a new sense of determination. They stepped up to the line of scrimmage with ferocity.

The cheer continued:

Go, team! Go, team!
Who do we mean?
We’ll say it loud,
Because we’re proud.

The quarterback dropped back and, after evading two tackles, made a 73-yard completion to his star wide receiver. Just seven seconds later, the ball was in the end zone.

quarterback drops back to pass

After 3 onside kick recoveries, a fumble that resulted in a turnover, and 28 unanswered points from 4 touchdowns, they won the game. The crowd was shocked. It was likely the greatest 90 seconds of football that has ever been seen.

Actually, no it wasn’t. It never happened. A team down 21 points with 90 seconds left would have almost no chance at winning the game.

But how about those cheerleaders? Trying to inspire the team! Willing their team to win! They’re the real heroes keeping everyone’s spirits up!

Those are just like the people you want in your business, right? A team who can cheer everyone on and root for the win? Even when the company seems to flounder and the situation is grim?

No. You don’t want people like that.


In professional sports, the cheerleaders try to get the fans excited about the event. Once the crowd is excited, the hope is that they inspire the players, which pushes them to greater levels of performance, and ultimately a win.

That’s extremely unlikely to happen. Talent is always going to win over some rush from the excitement of cheering fans. Football requires an extraordinary amount of concentration. The timing of the plays does not afford the players the luxury of listening to the crowd or cheers in critical situations.

Intrinsic motivation and talent are what
propel your team to greatness

This can apply to your business as well. Having a cheerleader isn’t going to inspire your team. Intrinsic motivation and talent are what will propel your team to greatness and achievement. The cheerleader in your office can sometimes encourage your customers to rally. But if your team falls flat on its delivery, nothing will save them from a loss.


In the NFL, cheerleaders are a commodity. It’s a world of billionaire team owners with coaches and players making millions of dollars per season. And it’s estimated that cheerleaders earn $75-150 per game. Tom Brady alone earns $1.25 million per game. His team’s salary cap totals work out to about $12 million per game. With the Patriots’ 34 cheerleaders, even if we give them all $150/game, that’s $5,100, a drop in the bucket.

The parity in the NFL is striking at times. A team that is far below average can sometimes be favored in a matchup against the best. The tiniest edge over another team can be just enough to earn a W. NFL coaches try to exploit even a minute advantage. If teams felt that cheerleaders had any impact, would they pay them less than what they spend on condiments for the hot dogs?

man handshake
Spend your money on players with talent

Don’t spend your business’s money on cheerleaders. Do what the NFL does. Spend your money on players and managers. But mostly on players with talent. Talented employees inspire others to greatness. Employees with a solid work ethic who put in the time and effort to strive after the win make everyone who surrounds them better. These employees also need to be placed in critical roles to have the most significant effect.


In the NFL, it’s easy to tell the difference between the players and the cheerleaders. First of all, the cheerleaders are typically female, and the players are male. Second, they have very different uniforms. If a cheerleader infiltrated the team and tried to stand in at center, everyone would notice.

In your business, it’s not always so easy to identify the cheerleaders. But you need to examine your team and figure out if they are cheerleaders, players, or managers. Here are some identifying characteristics of cheerleaders:

Cheerleaders are delusional

They often see everything in a positive light. Even if they know deep down that things are going poorly, they will put on a fake smile. And they’ll tell everyone things are great and the team can win if they believe in themselves. That’s a pack of lies.

Cheerleaders don’t have the answers

woman thinking and stressed
A cheerleader doesn’t understand how your company operates

When your business is struggling, a cheerleader won’t know how to get out of the mess you’re in. Cheerleaders don’t understand the intricacies of how your company operates. Sure, they see it all the time. But they spend their time cheering others on, not playing or dedicating themselves to the preparation required to win.

Cheerleaders never ask for help

Because they never admit that the company or a team has any serious problems, cheerleaders never need assistance. They’re just doing things on their own. Or, even worse, they’re just cheering and dancing with another cheerleader, feeding off of each other’s fantasies.


The Cleveland Browns and New York Giants have never had a cheerleading squad. The last group of cheerleaders rooted for the Chicago Bears in 1985. In 1987, the Green Bay Packers switched to a collegiate squad. 2013 was the last year that cheerleaders shouted in support of the Buffalo Bills.

Having no cheerleaders does not appear to have any impact on a team’s success. The Giants alone have won four Super Bowls without the enthusiastic call from cheerleaders. The Packers have had enduring success despite cutting their team squad.

You don’t need any cheerleaders in your corner. You can’t afford to have someone on your team who isn’t adding real value to your group. You’re wasting your energy and company resources if you just can’t let them go because they’re positive and because they lift the team’s spirits. Lose the cheerleaders, find talented players, and win the game.

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