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What Does It Take To Be An NFL Cheerleader?

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(Photo by: Rick Stewart/ Getty Images)

(Photo by: Rick Stewart/ Getty Images)

If you’ve ever watched Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders: Making the Team on CMT, you’ve likely seen just how stringent the application process is. Once the squad is selected, the girls are expected to up the ante even more. Maybe it’s because I’m a lifelong DFW resident and I know Texas women are held to high standards, but I’ve never had a problem with the insistence that the team wears make-up at all times (during games, appearances in the community, when traveling and also during practice) nor the rigorous dieting and exercise the cheerleaders are expected to undergo. They have a  legacy to maintain as being the premier level of professional cheerleading, and that’s why little girls look up to them on an international scale.

The Buffalo Jills squad is currently on hiatus as the Bills team and cheerleader’s management company are in litigation with five former members. The ex-employees say they were publicly degraded and not paid for hours worked. Since the lawsuit came to light last week, Deadspin got ahold of the Jills Company Handbook and some of the rules are rather specific.

*Do not use slang in conversations. Never use words/phrases such as: “like”, “I seen it”, “You’s guys”, “dude”, “them guys” “pee” & “ain’t”.

*Use “Oh my goodness” rather than “Oh my GOD”.

*Watch other poor manners or nervous habits such as: Nail-biting, knuckle/neck cracking, excessive sniffling and too many arm movements.

*Always say “excuse me” when you burp, sneeze or cough. Even if you think there isn’t anyone around.

*Always avoid:  Sexual references, Strong opinions, Saying “I” or “me” too often.

*Wash your feet daily ! This will help control foot odor & keep fungus from developing in toenails.

*When trying to “capture” a small piece of food onto a utensil, it is acceptable to use another utensil for aiding it aboard. Never use your fingers.

*Bread. Should be torn to eat and/or butter, not cut with a knife. Do not overeat bread at a formal setting.

I have no problem with this. These are guidelines many of us are taught at a young age anyhow. The Jills are merely setting the bar for girls who might not otherwise know these tips. The women chosen to represent the squad are constantly in the public eye and are a direct reflection of the Buffalo Bills’ brand. When I judged the DCC tryouts in 2009, the girls are interviewed to insure they have intelligence and proper speaking skills. It’s not just based on big hair, a nice smile and dancing skills. Ultimately, the select few who actually make the team must encompass the whole package. That’s what makes them elite. Some might think these squads are too tough on their crew, but they just want to strive for excellence the same way your employer probably does with you. We all have room for improvement.

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