Ever wonder about the history of the thong on the football field?

Now don’t get your fannies all in a bunch, I’m talking about cheerleaders. You’ve seen them scamper around in your local high school gym or flex those seven-minute abs on the salty gridiron of the NFL.

Gentlemen, you’ve caught yourself more than once gawking at those scantily clad, buxom beauties who dance shimmies near the end zone and show more bust than Ryan Leaf in a fan promotion while flashing more bum than Warren Moon.

Cheerleaders have intrigued me for so long, but who’s the lucky Joe who came up with this stroke of genius?

The first cheerleader was actually a dude. University of Minnesota football fan Jack Campbell came up to the plate and started leading the crowds’ cheers in a game in 1898. The Golden Gophers’ also used gymnastics and tumbling in their cheers. Other schools and institutions created now famous cheering devices but women didn’t actively participate until the 1920s.

So booty and brawn didn’t come together until much later. If you’re sitting in another boring lecture, get up and pick that sweaty crease that’s lodged in the most uncomfortable and forbidden of all places. You’ll be glad you did, and you’ll be glad to hear that men didn’t take over everything about football.

Men dominated cheerleading until World War II, when women started taking over the sidelines. The Baltimore Colts in the 1960s became the first professional team to hire cheerleaders. But the big hit arrived during Super Bowl X in 1976 when the Dallas Cowboys’ cheerleaders dropped jaws everywhere by dancing in their skimpy blue and white outfits. Pro sports teams caught on like Peyton Manning to Marvin Harrison. Because of the Dallas Cowboys’ cheerleaders, remote hogs, coach fiends and field goal kickers are all, if not better, surely happier men.

So when you watch the AFC Conference Championship game this weekend, and you can’t be riveted watching Eddie George of the Tennessee Titans huff and puff his way to two and a half yards, find out how many Raiderettes you can spot on the tube before the next commercial.

If you’re irritated of witnessing Tampa Bay Bucs coach Jon Gruden’s smirking mug next to Chucky’s, then scan the field for lunatic Eagles fan Birdman egging on a female streaker at Philadelphia’s Vet in the NFC contest.

And if you’re like me, you’ll wonder how so much can be made of so little.