Known as the highest level of professional football in the world, NFL stands for the National Football League. It is a professional American football league that is composed of 32 teams.
The NFL basically runs a 17-week season starting from Labor Day to the week after Christmas, with each team playing one game per week. Out of the 32 teams, only six teams from each conference make it to the NFL play-offs, which culminate to the Super Bowl.
The Super Bowl is the annual championship game of the NFL. Since football is considered America’s national sport, the NFL is very popular in the States. In fact, many Americans consider Super Bowl Sunday as a national holiday. Not only is it the most well attended sporting event in America, it is also the most watched American television broadcast of the year. That is why a number of companies pay big sums of money to break their television commercials on the Super Bowl. In addition, many popular singers and musicians have performed during the half-time ceremonies.
What is the big deal about NFL cheerleaders?
Back in 1954, Baltimore introduced cheerleaders on their team to boost ticket sales. They were the first NFL team to have a cheerleading squad, which was part of the Baltimore Colts Marching Band.
Ever since, cheerleaders have become a popular attraction at games. Not only do they give a team more coverage and airtime, they also increase fan base, gain popular local support and increase media image.
As such, almost all of the NFL teams have a professional cheerleading squad in their franchise. In fact, as of today, only six out of the 32 NFL teams do not have cheerleaders in their roster. These teams include the Chicago Bears, Cleveland Browns, Detroit Lions, Green Bay Packers, New York Giants and the Pittsburgh Steelers.
What does it take to be an NFL cheerleader?
The NFL Cheerleaders enjoy a fair amount of notoriety as professional dancers, models and actresses. That is the main reason why many aspire to become part of these squads.
While one would expect cheerleading squads to have very strict requirements, truth is: very little qualification is required to be an NFL cheerleader. Here are the basic requirements across all teams:
- Age. At least 18 years of age.
- Location. Must be willing to relocate to the team’s home court.
- Education. Must have a GED or high school diploma.
- Height/Weight. No height and weight requirements. However, must to be in excellent physical shape. This is because rehearsals run three to four hours long for up to two to four times per week, and cheering through an entire football game takes a lot of stamina.
- Employment. Must have a full-time job elsewhere
- Dancing Skills. No previous dance training is required. However, must be able to follow and perform basic dance routines and stunts.
NFL cheerleading may be considered a part-time job, but in reality, it requires a huge time commitment. As such, NFL cheerleaders must be able to commit time and effort to participate in practice, attend training camp and show up in games, appearances, photo shoots, and charity events.
What is the average salary of NFL cheerleaders?
NFL cheerleaders are generally paid up to only about $50 to $75 per game. As such, after two preseason games and eight regular-season games, most cheerleaders only earn about $500 to $750 per season, depending on the team they’re cheering for.
More so, if the cheerleading squad coordinator approves, an NFL cheerleader can make extra money by participating in paid public appearances.
Compared to the time and effort they’ve put into training and charity appearances, they barely get paid anything. However, there is definitely an advantage to working for free, as some popular celebrities have been discovered through their NFL cheerleading appearances. This is the main reason why many young women who want to get a break into acting or dancing start out in the NFL cheerleading teams. It is good exposure, after all. Cheerleaders can use the social network provided by being an NFL cheerleader and doing appearances, to find higher paying jobs outside of cheerleading.
Who are some of the most famous NFL cheerleaders?
Sarah Shahi (Dallas Cowboys). After her gig with the Cowboys, Sarah appeared on The L Word, Dawson’s Creek, Alias, Rush Hour 3 and Old School. She’s also a staple in Maxim’s Hot 100 lists.
Teri Hatcher (San Francisco 49ers).
Prior to being Lois Lane and a Desperate Housewife, Teri was cheering on Joe Montana and the 49ers in 1984.
Charisma Carpenter (San Diego Chargers). The former Buffy The Vampire Slayer star and Baywatch babe started her career by supercharging the San Diego Chargers cheerleading squad. Now, she has more than 40 credits on her IMDB page, making her one of the busiest ex-cheerleaders in the industry.
Kristin Adams (Dallas Cowboys). The former Cowgirl joined America Idol in its first season. She also hosted G4TV’s Cheat and Poker Night on the Game Show Network.
Melissa Rycroft (Dallas Cowboys). Before joining the 13th season of The Bachelorette, where she became the chosen bride, Melissa spent one season as a Cowboys cheerleader. Since then, she’s appeared on Dancing With The Stars and named one of People Magazine’s “World’s Most Beautiful People.”
Bonnie-Jill Laflin (Dallas Cowboys). Now a Lakers executive, she started out her rise to stardom with the Cowboys. She also went on to roles on Baywatch, Ally McBeal and Deal or No Deal.
Abigail Klein (Dallas Cowboys). Considered in the industry as the newest NFL cheerleader turned actress, Klein has recent credits from 90210 and Adam Sandler‘s new film, That’s My Boy.
Amber Lancaster (Seattle Seahawks). Before moving to Los Angeles where she landed spots on The Price Is Right and in a Bo Bice music video, Amber spent some time in Seattle to cheer for the Seahawks.
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