Time for the longest award in sports

Of course cheerleaders make eyes-open agreements to accept low-paid work, but that does not rationalize mistreatment. NFL teams know there are more qualified women auditioning to be cheerleaders than there are spots on the squad, so offer next to nothing. That puts NFL cheerleaders are in the classic position of workers without unions -- they can't bargain collectively for decent pay, and those already hired know if they complain about wages or work requirements, replacements are waiting. As society becomes more white-collar, the need for unions may seem to wane. NFL cheerleaders are an example (albeit a minor example, since there are fewer than a thousand of them) of why some workers still need collective bargaining. There are more athletes who could play in the NFL than there are roster spots. But the players belong to a union, so the deals they sign are for the most part great deals. Cheerleaders don't belong to a union, so are exploited by management.

NFL cheerleaders are women who are being taken advantage of financially by a male power structure, yet feminists and intellectuals have shown no interest in their situation. Feminists may not like pretty girls dancing in miniskirts, though NFL cheerleaders are a fit, assertive interpretation of sex appeal (most can do military pushups), as opposed to the emaciated Victoria's Secret model. Intellectuals may find cheerleaders uninteresting because an attractive woman's looks are due mainly to good luck with genetics; though good luck with genetics contributes to intellectuals' IQ.

In 1972, Texie Waterman, a Broadway choreographer, was hired by the Dallas Cowboys to bring a showgirl mentality to then-plain NFL cheer squads. She invented the bombshell cheerleader, and bombshell cheerleaders have proved very popular with audiences. But she did not bring to Texas the union-wage concept found in most Broadway performances, which pay $1,000 to $6,000 per week, more than the Raiders' cheerleaders are paid for a full year. Given that NFL owners likely will never care whether cheerleaders are adequately paid, collective bargaining seems the solution. Pundits and bookworms should support fairness for cheerleaders, even if pundits and bookworms look down their noses at eye makeup and bikini calendars.

Jersey Bowl Preview: The Broncos-Seahawks Super Bowl pairing is not just No. 1 offense versus No. 1 defense: It's high-tech fast-forward versus traditionalism. Denver is pass-wacky, calls everything at the line, wants the opponent confused and gasping for air. Seattle runs more often than it throws, plays conservative conventional defense, wants to pound the opponent into submission. The Broncos stand for digitized chaos -- they are the smartphones of sports. The Seahawks stand for your grandparents' dinner-table customs -- they are throwbacks, if in radioactive colors.

Can a hurry-up-shotgun-spread offense defeat a sticks-like-glue defense? Can a team with a monotonous ball-control offense win a 21st century Super Bowl? I don't know about you, but I find this the most interesting Lombardi matchup since the 18-0 Patriots faced the mega-underdog Giants.

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