Cheerleading has been an integral part of American sports culture for decades, and the National Football League (NFL) is no exception. NFL cheerleaders have become a staple of the game, providing entertainment and support to fans and players alike. In this blog, we’ll take a closer look at the history of NFL cheerleading, what they do, famous cheerleaders, NFL cheerleader scandals, and controversy.
History of NFL Cheerleading
Cheerleading has been around since the late 1800s, but it wasn’t until the 1950s and 1960s that cheerleading became an essential part of football games. In 1954, the Baltimore Colts became the first NFL team to have cheerleaders on their sidelines. Other NFL teams followed suit, and by the 1960s, most NFL teams had their own cheerleading squads.
What Do NFL Cheerleaders Do?
NFL cheerleaders perform a variety of tasks during games, including leading cheers, dances, and chants. They also interact with fans, promote the team, and participate in community events. Additionally, they perform during halftime shows and other special events. NFL cheerleaders are also involved in charitable activities, such as visiting hospitals and schools, and working with local non-profit organizations.
Famous NFL Cheerleaders:
There have been many famous NFL cheerleaders over the years, including some who went on to achieve fame outside of cheerleading. Some of the most notable NFL cheerleaders include:
- Teri Hatcher – Before becoming an actress, Teri Hatcher was an NFL cheerleader for the San Francisco 49ers.
- Phyllis Smith – Phyllis Smith, who played Phyllis Vance on the television show “The Office,” was an NFL cheerleader for the St. Louis Cardinals.
- Christy Oglevee – Christy Oglevee was an NFL cheerleader for the Washington Redskins and appeared on the reality show “The Amazing Race.”
- Bonnie-Jill Laflin – Bonnie-Jill Laflin was the first and only female scout for the Los Angeles Lakers and an NFL cheerleader for the Dallas Cowboys.
Which NFL Teams Have No Cheerleaders?
Currently, there are five NFL teams that do not have cheerleaders:
- Green Bay Packers
- Chicago Bears
- Cleveland Browns
- New York Giants
- Pittsburgh Steelers
These teams do not have official cheerleading squads, although some may have other performance groups or spirit squads that support the team.
NFL Cheerleader Scandals:
While NFL cheerleaders are supposed to represent the team in a positive light, there have been some scandals involving cheerleaders over the years. One of the most significant scandals occurred in 2018 when several NFL cheerleaders came forward with allegations of mistreatment and discrimination. These allegations included being forced to participate in a calendar shoot while topless, being told not to speak to players, and being paid very little compared to what players earned.
Another scandal involved the Buffalo Bills cheerleading squad, known as the “Jills.” In 2014, five former cheerleaders sued the team, alleging that they were not paid minimum wage and were subjected to humiliating treatment, such as being forced to do jumping jacks while wearing only a sports bra. The lawsuit was settled in 2018, with the cheerleaders receiving a total of $825,000 in damages.
NFL Cheerleader Controversy
In recent years, there has been controversy surrounding the NFL’s treatment of cheerleaders. Some argue that cheerleaders are exploited and treated unfairly, with low pay, long hours, and little job security. Others argue that cheerleading is a voluntary activity, and cheerleaders should be grateful for the opportunity to be part of an NFL team.
In 2018, the New York Times published an article detailing the experiences of several NFL cheerleaders who said they were treated poorly and subjected to unreasonable demands. These demands included being required to maintain a specific weight,
Do NFL Cheerleaders Get Paid?
Yes, NFL cheerleaders do get paid, but the amount varies widely between teams and the specific contract. According to a 2014 report by Time magazine, the typical NFL cheerleader earns between $150 to $200 per game, which amounts to about $2,500 to $3,400 per season.
Generally, NFL cheerleaders are considered part-time employees and are paid for their performances at games, as well as for practices, rehearsals, and other team events.
However, some teams pay their cheerleaders significantly more than this, and some also provide additional compensation for appearances at corporate events, charity functions, and other promotional activities. It’s worth noting that some NFL cheerleaders have filed lawsuits in recent years over alleged unfair pay practices, which has led to some teams changing their compensation policies.
Are NFL Cheerleaders Allowed To Date Players?
The NFL does not have a specific policy prohibiting cheerleaders from dating players. However, many teams have their own rules and guidelines that prohibit such relationships. These rules are in place to avoid conflicts of interest, maintain professionalism, and protect the integrity of the team. For instance, the Dallas Cowboys’ cheerleaders are not allowed to fraternize with players, while the Baltimore Ravens’ cheerleaders are allowed to date players, but not during the season.
Why Do NFL Cheerleaders Make So Little?
NFL cheerleaders are typically paid low wages, with many earning just minimum wage or slightly more. The reason for this is that NFL teams classify their cheerleaders as independent contractors, which allows them to avoid paying them benefits and overtime. Additionally, cheerleading is not recognized as a sport by the NCAA, which means that cheerleaders do not receive the same level of funding and recognition as other sports. Many cheerleaders also incur significant expenses, such as travel and uniform costs, which further reduce their take-home pay.
Do Cheerleaders Get Super Bowl Rings?
Super Bowl rings are typically awarded to players, coaches, and other staff members who directly contribute to a team’s victory in the Super Bowl. While cheerleaders may play a supportive role, they are generally not considered to be part of the team’s official roster. As a result, they do not receive Super Bowl rings. However, some teams may choose to award their cheerleaders with other types of recognition, such as championship jackets or pins.
How Old is the Oldest NFL Cheerleader?
The age of NFL cheerleaders varies depending on the team, but the oldest cheerleader on record was Laura Vikmanis, who cheered for the Cincinnati Bengals at the age of 42 in 2011. However, it is worth noting that most NFL cheerleaders are in their 20s or early 30s, and the physical demands of the job can be challenging for older performers.
How Tall is the Average NFL cheerleader?
There is no specific height requirement to become an NFL cheerleader, but most teams look for candidates who are between 5’2″ and 5’8″ tall. However, it is important to note that height is not the only factor that teams consider when selecting cheerleaders. Other important criteria include dance ability, athleticism, personality, and overall fitness.
Do You Have To Be in Shape To Be a Cheerleader?
Yes, being in good physical shape is essential for becoming an NFL cheerleader. Cheerleading requires a high level of fitness, strength, and flexibility, as well as the ability to perform complex dance routines and stunts. Cheerleaders typically undergo rigorous training and conditioning programs to build and maintain their physical abilities throughout the season. Additionally, many teams have specific requirements for cheerleader fitness, such as maintaining a certain body fat percentage or passing fitness tests. Overall, cheerleading is a demanding physical activity that requires a significant amount of dedication and hard work to excel at.
Do NFL Cheerleaders Have Real Jobs?
Many NFL cheerleaders do have full-time or part-time jobs outside of their cheerleading duties. Some work in fields such as education, healthcare, finance, or marketing, while others pursue careers in dance, modeling, or entertainment. Cheerleading is typically considered a part-time job, and while it can be demanding during the season, most cheerleaders balance their cheerleading responsibilities with their other work and personal commitments.
Do NFL Cheerleaders Travel to Away Games?
Yes, NFL cheerleaders do travel to away games with their teams. Cheerleaders play an important role in creating a lively and supportive atmosphere for the team and its fans, both at home and on the road. Cheerleaders typically travel with the team on charter flights, staying in team hotels, and participating in various promotional and community events during their trip. However, it’s important to note that the specific travel arrangements and requirements may vary depending on the team and the cheerleading squad.
In conclusion, NFL cheerleaders play an important role in creating a vibrant and exciting atmosphere for fans and players alike. Cheerleading is a physically demanding and highly competitive activity that requires a great deal of hard work, dedication, and skill. While cheerleading is often seen as a glamorous profession, the reality is that it can be a challenging and rewarding job that requires a significant amount of time and effort.
Despite the challenges, many women (and men) continue to pursue their dreams of becoming an NFL cheerleader. From the rigorous auditions to the demanding training programs and long hours, NFL cheerleaders are true athletes and performers who deserve respect and admiration for their hard work and dedication. Whether you’re a die-hard football fan or simply appreciate the art of dance and athleticism, NFL cheerleaders are an integral part of the game and a testament to the power of perseverance and passion.