Arizona Cardinals cheerleader Megan Welter. Rick Scuteri/AP
Arizona Cardinals cheerleader Megan Welter didn't grow up dreaming of becoming an NFL cheerleader, and her professional experience before joining the Cardinals wasn't exactly ordinary - Welter came to the sidelines after spending 16 months in Iraq.
"I thought it was the right thing to do.... I was deployed to Joint Base Belad which is about an hour north of Baghdad. At first, it was, it was scary you know, but...it's what I signed up to do." She was only 23 years old and in charge of the maintaining the communications network for the largest base in Iraq. "It was definitely a sink-or-swim type of experience."
During her tour, Welter met some NFL cheerleaders who were entertaining troops, and picked their brains about what it takes to be an pro cheerleader. Egged on by her friends, she eventually tried out for the Cardinals in 2011, and made the team on her first attempt.