Cheerleaders Featured On Latest NFL Trading Cards
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) _ Big hair, toothy smiles and revealing outfits have replaced muscle-bound linemen and square-jawed quarterbacks in the latest trading cards sporting talent from the National Football League.
″NFL cheerleader trading cards, believe it or not, are selling very well,″ said Billy Vigeant, a national trading card radio show host and owner of Billy V’s Sports Collectibles in Providence.
″Young girls finally have cards that they can collect,″ said Vigeant. ″Of course, there’s been a lot of interest from men aged 18 to 60 too.″
Lime Rock International unveiled the 156-card set last month. It features the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders, the Los Angeles Raiderettes, the New Orleans Saintsations and the Miami Dolphins Cheerleaders.
The cards come 11 to a silver-foil pack, minus bubble gum. Suggested retail price is 99 cents.
Production will be limited to 185,000 sets, according to Paul Carroll, Lime Rock’s president. Cards autographed by the cheerleaders are randomly inserted in one of every 36 packs.
Carroll said the cards have been targeted to hard-core male collectors aged 14 to 25 and girls between 10 and 13 who might aspire to be cheerleaders.
″Eighteen companies now market football cards,″ said Carroll. ″No one, except us, does cheerleader cards.″
Carroll said cheerleader squads from the four teams were chosen for the inaugural set because of their widespread appeal.
″We get a lot of the cards in our fan mail from people who ask us to sign them,″ said Alice Williams, a 26-year-old member of the Dallas squad. ″I’ve gotten fan mail with the cards from Iowa, Chicago, all over. I think it’s kind of fun.″
″It seemed like a dream to me,″ said rookie Cowboy cheerleader Emily Clark, 21. ″It’s something which a lot of people wish for. It makes me smile. It reminds me that I am somebody.″
Clark, who is deaf, said the cards can help her be a role model for other hearing impaired women who might otherwise shy away from cheerleading.
″My life’s dream is to be a model and to be a very good role model for other deaf people,″ she said. ″This lets other deaf people know it’s OK to go for their dreams.″
The front of the cards feature flattering photos of the women in their uniforms. Some are shown in game situations. Most were photographed in a studio, posing with pompons outstretched or on their hips.
The flip sides contain biographical sketches, including height and weight, birthday, career aspirations and comments from the cheerleaders.
″Life is short. Play hard. It’s always nice to be important, but it’s much more important to be nice,″ Dallas’ Shannon Frazier says on the back of her card.
Amy Merriman-Lemon, one of Frazier’s cheering mates, wants to be a physician, according to her card. Saintsation Lori Angela Carroll is working toward a career in psychology.
″I like their outfits but I wish there were more teams,″ said Tasha Andrade, 10, a baseball card collector from East Providence who recently began buying the cards.
″I want to be a cheerleader and I like to read about them,″ she said. ″I’m going to get plastic covers and put them in with my baseball cards.″
The cards are also a hit with Tasha’s mother, Heather Andrade, 31.
″I think it’s good to have something for girls to collect,″ said Andrade.
″I was reading the back of them. Some of them seem quite intelligent, others ... well, some of them say that cheerleading is what they want to do with their life. I wouldn’t want my daughter to emulate any of them,″ she said. ″But my husband just loves them,″
The cards are available nationwide and in Canada.
″We’re soliciting orders in Germany and England and there’s been a lot of interest in Japan,″ said Carroll.
Neither Carroll nor team officials would disclose details of the card contracts. Carroll said only the New Orleans Saints pact gave Lime Rock exclusive rights to its cheerleader cards.
Team officials for two of the all-female squads said profits from the cards will be used to defray travel and uniform costs for the cheerleaders. None of the women portrayed on the cards were paid directly by Lime Rock, according to the company.
Carroll said the idea stemmed from a set of dance team cards Lime Rock produced last year featuring cheerleaders from three NBA teams, the Minnesota Timberwolves, the Philadelphia 76ers and the Washington Bullets.
″People wrote and said ‘We love it. Are you going to do it with football?’ We said, ’Why not?‴
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