The NFL Cheerleaders enjoy a fair amount of notoriety as professional dancers, models and actresses. They have interesting lives off the field as well!
What's It Like to be a NFL Cheerleader?
The most important thing to understand about being a cheerleader for a NFL organization is that cheerleaders represent the company organization and the image it wants to convey. While there is a great deal of money in sports, cheerleading can often be viewed as a community service organization. Cheerleaders appear all across their state at charity events representing the team organization's charities. In fact, this has been such an important part of cheerleading that some squads even have a non-performing cheerleading squad that goes around to make appearances on behalf of the organization.
Cheerleaders cheer at home games, but rarely travel with their team. However, some of the more famous cheerleading squads like the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders, travel all over the world making appearances.
Cheerleading, in most cases, does not pay very much if at all. However, for many young women wanting to break into acting or dancing, it is good exposure. Some women do it because they enjoy it.
The other important thing to know about cheerleading is that it takes a huge time commitment. It is considered a part-time job, and all the NFL squads require that their cheerleaders have other jobs, be that mothering, being a student or another full-time career.
Requirements for Being a Cheerleader on an NFL Squad
Surprisingly, there is not a rigid set of requirements to be a NFL cheerleader. Cheerleaders are chosen based on their persona when entertaining. A few squads have cheerleaders who act and sing in addition to dancing, and these cheerleaders go around to various venues and perform. Prior dance experience is unnecessary and there is no age requirement and/or height or weight requirement for most teams.
With that said, here are a few consistent prerequisites for women to become NFL cheerleaders:
- Geography: While any girl from anywhere may try out, you have to be willing to relocate to the local area. The Carolinas are the exception, but regardless of where you're from, you have to get to practice.
- Time: Being an NFL cheerleader is a huge time commitment.
- Full-time job elsewhere: All squads require that you have a full time job elsewhere.
- Age: For most squads, the minimum age is 18. Ages range from 18 to 42. The average age of a NFL cheerleader is 25.
- Education: All squads require that you have a GED or high school diploma.
- Dance: Formal dance training is actually not a prerequisite. However, since most of the squads are dancing squads, you have to learn a routine and perform it.
- Height/Weight: There are no height and weight requirements. However, you must be in excellent physical shape. Rehearsals are three to four hours long, two to four times per week, and cheering through an entire football game takes a lot of stamina. Some teams do have a height to weight ratio requirement, but this was implemented to ensure cheerleaders were not becoming too skinny.
Examples of Popular Squads
Sometimes the NFL cheerleading squads are as popular as the team itself. Just a few popular squads include:
- The Atlanta Falcons Cheerleaders are a performing dance squad. Besides the cheerleaders who perform at home games, there is also an Atlanta Falcons show troupe that travels to perform at various venues. The Atlanta Falcons audition potential cheerleaders every spring in April. The audition is a lengthy three to four day process during which the perspective cheerleaders must learn new dances, take part in a fifteen minute interview and show their stuff in front of both professional and fan judges. The cheerleaders are expected to perform at ten home games and attend two rehearsals per week; they also do volunteer work and appearances at events.
- The TopCats are the cheerleading squad for the Carolina Panthers. They focus on a variety of dance styles for home games and selected charity and corporate events. The TopCats have been a part of the Carolina Panthers organization from the beginning in 1995. The audition process includes four rounds and 26 women are ultimately selected.
- The Houston Texans Cheerleaders are a dance squad that perform at home games. Not only do these girls perform at all Texans football games, but they also play a role in marketing the team, and strive to maintain themselves as role models for younger aspiring cheerleaders. Practice times are typically three days a week, resulting in 15 hours of training each week. An additional ten hours is added for games, totaling on average 25 hours of cheer-related time for team members. Even experienced members have to audition each year, same as the average rookie, to defend their place in the squad.
- The Philadelphia Eagles Cheerleaders are a performing squad. In addition to performances, putting out their own calendar each year is just one of many philanthropic endeavors this cheerleading powerhouse performs. Members of the squad have also toured some of the military bases in Iraq and Kuwait, visiting with United States soldiers and spreading some good old Eagles pep. They offer cheer clinics for young girls to help the next generation pursue the dream of one day becoming an Eagles cheerleader.
The Tennessee Titan Cheerleaders are a dance and community service squad. Titans Cheerleaders comprise of 26 young ladies. These dedicated women are often the first ones to enter the stadium before a game and some of the last to leave. They participate in media appearances and community service work. As long as you have a high school diploma and are at least 18 years old, you can try out for the squad.
Additional NFL Squads
Here is a comprehensive listing of additional NFL Cheerleader squads and pertinent facts.
- The Baltimore Ravens are a precision dance team and stunt team. The squad is made of both male and female cheerleaders.
- The Cincinnati Ben-Gals are a precision dance team.
- The Buffalo Jills cheerleaders are a precision dance squad. They also have Ambassador Jills who are non-performing cheerleaders that help answer the numerous requests for professional appearances.
- The Minnesota Viking Cheerleaders are a volunteer squad that dances at home games as well as appears at events on behalf of the Minnesota Vikings organization.
- The Indianapolis Colts Cheerleaders are a dancing and community activist squad.
- The Jacksonville Jaguar ROAR are both a dance squad and community service organization that participates in charity events throughout Florida.
- The Saintsations are the professional cheerleading squad for the New Orleans Saints.
- The Tampa Bay Buccaneer Cheerleaders perform during home games and community events. They are one of the elite squads among the NFL squads.
- The Miami Dolphin Cheerleaders are a show team that dances and performs for home games and various events.
- The New England Patriots Cheerleaders are a performance squad.
- The Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders are perhaps the best known NFL cheerleading squad.
- The Washington Redskins Cheerleading squad is the longest running cheerleading squad in the NFL.
- The Denver Broncos Cheerleaders are a dance team and community service organization.
- The Kansas City Chiefs Cheerleaders cheer on the sidelines, perform dance routines and perform a variety show for area events.
- The Oakland Raiderettes are also known as an elite squad.
- Arizona Cardinal Girls cheer and perform during games. In addition, some of the girls from the cheerleading squad comprise a show team available for corporate events.
- The San Francisco Gold Rush is the cheerleading squad for the San Francisco 49ers and is an internationally acclaimed team.
- The Seattle Seahawks Sea Gals perform dance routines and have a variety show.
- The St. Louis Rams Cheerleaders are a performance dance group that performs during games.