Meet the 1st Male Patriots Cheerleaders in Decades - NBC 6 South Florida
National & International News
The day’s top national and international news

Meet the 1st Male Patriots Cheerleaders in Decades

    processing...

    NEWSLETTERS

    New Generation of Patriots Cheerleaders

    Two men will be the first male Patriots cheerleaders since the early 1980s.

    (Published Wednesday, April 10, 2019)

    For the first time in decades, the New England Patriots will have male cheerleaders on the sidelines this season.

    Two men were selected to be on the squad for the upcoming season.

    "Walking (into tryouts), I knew people were going to look at me — one, because I am over 6 feet tall, and two, because I am a male," said 23-year-old Driss Dallahi of Londonderry, New Hampshire.

    Months before his audition in March, Dallahi went to the squad's optional workshop and realized he wasn't alone.

    Which Airlines and Airports Are Delayed the Most?

    [NATL] Which Airlines and Airports Are Delayed the Most?

    Data from the Bureau of Transportation Statistics reveal which airlines and airports have had the most delays from January to August, 2019. They also show which carriers and airports have done a great job getting you to your destination on time.

    (Published Tuesday, Nov. 12, 2019)

    He met Steven Sonntag.

    "I attended that workshop and walked in and heard there was another boy, and so I was immediately looking around trying to find him," said Sonntag, 22, of Colchester, Vermont.

    They didn't know each other until they realized they had the same dream.

    "We didn't really know the criteria for male cheerleaders auditioning for the New England Patriots, so we kind of created that together in texting back and forth," said Sonntag.

    They coordinated colors and styles of clothes to wear so they wouldn't look off or out of place.

    The two were the only men that auditioned, and both made the roster, becoming the Patriots' first male cheerleaders since the early 1980s.

    AP Probe: Aging US Dams Pose Risk to Thousands

    [NATL] AP Probe: Aging US Dams Pose Risk to Thousands

    An Associated Press investigation has found that thousands of people in the U.S. may be at risk from aging dams that are in poor condition. The two-year investigation identified 1,688 'high hazard' dams in 44 states and Puerto Rico.

    (Published Monday, Nov. 11, 2019)

    "I was excited," said Tracy Sormanti, the Patriots' director of cheerleading, when asked about first seeing the two at tryouts. "Change is good."

    For decades, Sormanti, who was once a cheerleader herself, has led the squad.

    "They were not selected because they were the first men to try out," said said. "They were selected because they actually had the talent."

    Sonntag started cheering in high school and created the team at Dean College.

    Dallahi just spent the last year and a half in New York City auditioning for jobs, but his biggest break would come back home in New England.

    Dallahi's specialties include aerials, which Sormanti said she's brainstorming ways to incorporate into their acts.

    Both men pointed to the LA Rams' cheerleading team as their inspiration to tryout.

    "At least in my lifetime, it was the first time I had seen two men do something like that," said Dallahi.

    Last season, Quinton Peron and Napoleon Jinnies gained national attention for becoming the first male cheerleaders to perform at a Super Bowl.

    Both Dallahi and Sonntag reached out to them on social media for advice and were warned about what they might hear in the stands or read online.

    "If there are people that aren't 100 percent on board today, then maybe somewhere down the line, they are, once we actually get out there," said Dallahi.

    Sonntag calls this the new generation of cheerleading in the NFL.

    Hundreds of Oklahoma Inmates Set Free

    [NATL] Hundreds of Oklahoma Inmates Set Free

    More than 400 prisoners were released Monday as part of the largest commutation of sentences in U.S. history. NBC's Jay Gray reports.

    (Published Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2019)

    "Two genders on the squad is a big step for any team in the NFL, because that's not what people are used to seeing sidelines, so I encourage it to progress even more across the NFL board," said Sonntag.

    Now that they're on the team, they will make public appearances in the community serving as ambassadors for the Patriots.

    Their first performance will be during the Patriots' preseason.