NFL cheerleaders have been the subject of heavy criticism by both the NFL teams they represent and fans, alike.

Many of these fans and franchisees feel that the cheerleaders they see lining NFL sidelines are hardly "professional cheerleaders", since they do little more than wear provide "˜eye candy' for fans at football games.

With the 2011 Super Bowl marking the first year in which neither of the competing teams supplied their own cheerleaders, it seems league officials and fans may be pushing for the game's focus to transition away from the sidelines and back onto the field.

According to an Orlando Sentinel commentary by Mike Bianchi, both the Packers and Steelers used cheerleading squads in the past, but more recently realized "they didn't need all the bodily gyrations and artificial stimulation to get their fans excited".

Fans are not the only ones who find NFL cheerleaders expendable. In an article from the New York Times, Steelers' owner Dan Rooney shared his opinion on why his team no longer features cheerleaders at Heinz Field.

"People get on me sometimes because we don't have dancing girls or mascots at our games. My response is we don't need those types of things. Good, entertaining football is what people come to see," commented the Steelers' owner.

It's true.

For most of these protesters, ironically, their disdain or otherwise general indifference towards cheerleaders stops at the sidelines. Even though they may want to get rid of cheerleaders at NFL games, they don't seem to have any problems with other sports featuring cheerleaders or pom squads at their events.

A perfect example of this is the Orlando Magic dancers, who Bianchi, in his Orlando Sentinel article, shares, " a lot of good things. They visit hospitals. They go overseas to visit the troops. They are part of their team's persona..."

It seems possible that many of the problems with NFL cheerleaders stems from their lack of resemblance to cheerleaders we see at other sporting events and at other competitive levels.

Specifically, cheerleaders at the high school, college and competitive levels perform difficult stunts and dance routines, while their NFL counterparts do not. Perhaps if these NFL cheerleaders focused more upon the core fundamentals of their sport, public opinions of their role at games might increase throughout the league and return them to the sidelines, sooner than later.