Sometimes accidents happen. Getting an unfortunate run in your tights would generally be considered one of those accidents, but not in the NFL.
When you’re cheerleading and constantly moving and kicking your legs in tights, runs are a distinct possibility. Unfortunately, NFL teams don’t take too kindly to accidents. Some girls have been benched for an entire season because of a simple run in their tights, proving once again that their bosses aren’t the most understanding people.
They Should Be Seen and Not Heard
The phrase “be seen and not heard” is generally considered to be outdated. Unfortunately, that mindset doesn’t apply to the NFL. While this phrase is often used to keep children in line, some NFL teams applied it to their cheerleaders.
Cheerleaders are expected to look nice, but to refrain from saying much of anything. They can’t express their opinions and generally should focus on looking good, rather than anything that might be going on inside their heads.
They Must Monitor Their Body Language
While cheerleaders are worrying about what comes out of their mouths, they also have to be concerned with what they’re not saying. On the Raiderettes and other NFL cheer squads, the girls were coached in body language. If they didn’t follow the rules of appropriate body language, they could get in serious trouble.
The women are essentially required to monitor every movement and action to ensure that it aligns with NFL guidelines. They can’t even rest without worrying about what their body language might be communicating.
They Can’t Chew Gum
The Seattle Seahawks cheerleading handbook included a section on chewing gum. The women weren’t allowed to chew gum unless the Sea Gal director said it was okay.
In comparison to some of the other rules on this list, this guideline is sensible. You don’t exactly want the women chewing gum while they’re yelling out cheers and flipping their heads around. However, the same rule also stated that the director could control when the women ate or drank, making the guideline much more about control rather than practicality.
They Can’t Eat Sweets
In addition to the mandatory weigh-ins, the leaders of the cheer team could also control what their women ate. Some choreographers were known for restricting the women’s diets based on their weight and then testing them on their ability to resist.
One cheerleader recounted a story where a choreographer restricted cookies from her diet, and the next day offered her a cookie just to ensure that she would say no. The move added insult to injury since the girl had already been reprimanded for her rising weight.