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Pictures: Ravens male cheerleaders

Funny how they're almost always -- always -- cut out of pictures. You might see a couple of their thick fingers, perhaps a taped wrist. But the shot is inevitably one of a petite cheerleader sailing through the air. How did she get there, hovering in the stadium air? Thank the discreet human trampoline otherwise known as the team's male cheerleaders -- the 21 hardy men who not only enable those gravity-defying acrobatics but provide Baltimore's team bragging rights as the only one in the NFL with a coed cheering squad. No other hometown fans get to witness those flips, those throws -- those nail-bitingly wobbly pyramids. Baltimore gets a sideline show no other team can provide. The Tennessee Titans also featured male "yell leaders," as they called them, for a while, but dropped them in 2004, reportedly worrying about stunt liability. "It's hands-down more exciting," Tina Galdieri, director of Ravens cheerleading, says of what the men allow the team to do. "It"s almost like Cirque du Soleil."
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