NFL cheerleaders are considered the crème de la crème of professional cheerleading, making public appearances and posing for swimsuit calendars every year.
A cheerleader for a National Football League franchise may not receive that much monetary compensation, but she will be able to travel the world on behalf of her team and have the prestige of being one of the best and most glamorous cheerleaders in the world!
Cheerleaders are a popular attraction that gives a team more airtime, support and increased media image. The Baltimore Colts were the first team in the NFL to have cheerleaders in 1954. Currently the only teams without cheerleaders are the Chicago Bears, Cleveland Browns, New York Giants, Detroit Lions, Green Bay Packers, and the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Cheerleading is considered to be a part-time job that requires time for practice, training camp, games, appearances, photo shoots, and charity events. Most often, cheerleaders have completed or are attending a university, and continue on to other careers after cheering for an average of 1-4 seasons.
Apart from their main duties of cheering during the football games, the cheerleaders have many other responsibilities. Nearly every team member is available for appearances at schools, events, conferences, etc., for a set fee. A much anticipated annual event is the release of each squad’s calendar, featuring members for each month in swimsuits, lingerie, or uniforms. Not only are the cheerleaders a main attraction at football games, the cheerleaders are also one of the biggest entertainment groups to regularly perform for the U.S. Military overseas. All performances and tours are enlisted by the USO. The various teams perform a variety show. Each team consists of an elite group of their best members, to perform combination shows of dance, music, acrobatics, gymnastics and more. The Buffalo Bills even sent a team into the war zone of Iraq in February 2007!
The Sexy Uniforms
Cheerleaders exist, in theory, to help guide us fans into cheering on the team. But in reality, the uniforms are for our visual pleasure alone. Because of that, their uniform design is very important. The sport of football has perfected the art of dressing down their cheerleaders for maximum viewer pleasure. Particularly, that of the Dallas Cowboy cheerleaders as they are the most recognizable cheerleaders in the world. They set the bar for sexy cheerleaders everywhere. The Indianapolis Colts Cheerleaders managed to replicate the “sexy cowgirl” look the best, in our opinion, out of all of the Professional Cheerleading Teams of National Football League. Many NFL Cheerleading Squads have gone with this popular look. There is the short leather jacket and tassels that perfectly complement the bare midriff and the short shorts that show off legs that go for approximately 473 miles.
Speaking of Asian influence, internationally renowned designer, Vera Wang, created the Eagles Cheerleaders’ current uniforms which were unveiled at the Inaugural game at Lincoln Financial Field in 2003. The Eagles Cheerleaders became the first in the NFL to have uniforms created by an internationally renowned designer! The uniforms resemble sports bras and shorts, so they are functional as well as fashionable.
The Most Famous Cheerleaders of Them All
The most famous cheerleading squad in football, the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders are also known by the nickname of “America’s Sweethearts.” Making their debut in 1972, they replaced the CowBelles & Beaux, a group of coed high school cheerleaders. Their famous uniforms were designed by Dallas resident Paula Van Waggoner, and the costumes remain instantly recognizable around the globe.
While the high-profile experiences of being a Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader are unique, for many of the members of the squad the most rewarding of their activities are in somewhat less glamorous surroundings. In 1979, the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) requested their presence on a USO Christmas tour of installations in Korea. The ladies performances were so enthusiastically received by the thousands of American troops serving their country so very far from home that a tradition was born.
The Cheerleaders, the DOD and the USO have since teamed up an unprecedented 49 times to boost the morale of the men and women of our U.S. military at hundreds of bases and outposts around the world. If our country’s forces are stationed there, the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders stand ready to offer their own brand of thanks to these dedicated young Americans. The one-hour variety shows bring standing ovations and tears to the eyes of the audiences and the entertainers alike. The ladies have their meals in the mess halls and share in close conversations about the Cowboys, happenings in the States and loved ones at home.
In 1991 the Cheerleaders received the USO’s prestigious “50th Anniversary Award” and in 1997 their many years of distinguished service to the men, women and families of America’s Armed Forces was recognized with the presentation of the USO’s first ever “Spirit of Hope” Award. The Dallas Cowboys organization is held in such high regard by this nation for the Cheerleaders and for the distinction they have earned in having performed for more troops overseas than any other entertainer…ever!
Like most of the Cheerleading Teams of the NFL, the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders non-game appearances are done for charity. They have lent their support to the Susan G. Komen Foundation, the Salvation Army, the Jerry Lewis Labor Day Telethon, the George Lindsey Celebrity Golf Tournament for Special Olympics, the Association for Hearing Impaired Children, Veterans Administration Hospitals , the March of Dimes, American Heart Association, Arthritis Foundation, Cancer Society, United Way, Variety Club Telethons, and the Make A Wish Foundation – in addition to their annual visits to numerous nursing homes and children’s hospitals.
Making the Cut
Almost every phase of the American woman is represented: teachers, secretaries, company executives, homemakers, nurses, students, medical technicians, fashion coordinators, accountants, sales and advertising representatives, file clerks, receptionists, cashiers, dental hygienists, flight attendants, etc. Some are single, some are married – several have children. Typically they range in age from 18 to 36, although there is no upper age limit. They are from small towns and big cities. Some have been performing for years with extensive dance backgrounds and some come to the Squad with no training at all, but have the gift of showmanship and the ability to learn.
What they all have in common is the dedication to responsibility and commitment to excellence that being a professional cheerleader for the NFL requires. They subject themselves to rigorous physical conditioning, an exhaustive year round rehearsal schedule and stringent rules and regulations that govern their part-time life.
THE TOP TEN MOST FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS FOR THE AUDITION:
1. What are the dates / times for the 2010 auditions?
2. Will there be workshops or prep classes before auditions?
3. If I make the squad, what is the commitment?
4. What are the age requirements?
You must turn 18 by April 15, 2011 and graduate from high school by June 30, 2011. There is no maximum age requirement.
5. Are there any height and weight requirements?
No, but fitness is very important. You must be in good physical condition and proportioned for your height. We recommend that you maintain a regular exercise program and a healthy diet.
6. What should I wear / bring to auditions?
You should wear dance or workout attire that shows your legs and midriff, cropped well supported top and fitted shorts. No loose shirts or baggy clothing. You will also need dance shoes such as dance sneakers or jazz shoes. You may also bring water and a light snack, if needed.
7. How should I wear my hair and make-up for auditions?
You should wear your hair and make-up in a way that flatters you best. Long hair should be worn down but not in your face. Think glamorous rather than sporty cheerleaders. We recommend you call a reputable salon for a hair and make-up consultation.
8. What will the judges be looking for?
The judges will be looking at appearance, dance skills, showmanship and personality.
9. Is being a (NFL Team) cheerleader a full-time job?
No. The cheerleaders either work a full-time job outside the home, are a full-time student or a full-time mom.
10. Do current squad members have to re-audition?
Yes. Everyone must go through the audition process each season and no one is guaranteed a place on the squad.
The Bountiful Benefits
There are many benefits to becoming a professional NFL cheerleader that are not highlighted in the forthcoming interviews. Sometime back, the New York Times published a story that told how Big Pharmaceutical Companies are hiring the representatives who market its drugs to physicians based not on medical knowledge — but purely (and cynically) on sex appeal. As the Times explained, “Stories abound about doctors who mistook a sales pitch as an invitation to more.” Which is why pharmaceutical companies are systematically recruiting from cheerleading squads — even spawning a cheerleader employment firm. As an update on the Times’ story, the eDrugSearch Blog decided to do a quick scan of pro sports Web sites to see the occupations listed by the current roster of NFL and NBA cheerleaders. Needless to say, many of them were listed as Pharmaceuticals Sales Representatives. The skills necessary to become a professional cheerleader and the skills that you learn and hone during your tenure in this profession are very desirable in the workforce.