10 Insane NFL Rules Every Cheerleader Must Follow

The glamour of being an NFL cheerleader just received a major hit in popular culture. The New York Times revealed several rules that have been in multiple franchise’s cheerleader code-of-conduct guides. These rules range from how early they arrive at work, to hygiene techniques like proper tampon use.

Take a look at the 10 NFL rules cheerleaders are required to follow depending on what franchise they’re in.

10. They have to arrive 5 hours prior to game time

Game prep starts five hours before kickoff for cheerleaders. | Scott Halleran/Getty Images

Being early is pretty much a good show of solid work ethic. In the NFL, most people operate on Lombardi time where you are on time when you are five minutes early. But for some franchises cheerleaders, they are required to be five hours early.

Not to diminish the job of cheerleaders, but the players who are paid millions of dollars aren’t even required to be there that early.

Next: Don’t you dare have a unique affectation. 

9. The beauty standards are pretty archaic

Standards haven’t changed much since this photo was taken in 1993. | Rick Stewart /Allsport

Certain types of piercings have to be removed before any event. That includes events that are not games. If you have any tattoos, they have to either be removed or completely covered up. In today’s society, there are so many women with tattoos and piercings, it’s a wonder that these rulebooks haven’t been updated.

Next: You can have a water break when we say so.

8. Water breaks are regulated

Sometimes, rain is the best water break they can hope for. | Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images

Some franchises dictate that a cheerleader can only take a water break when their team has the ball. Thank God the Browns don’t have a cheerleading squad, otherwise, they’d die of thirst. For anyone else in society, you can get up and walk away from your job and get a drink of water when you’re thirsty without the threat of your job being taken away. Even the players on the field have people running around with water bottles to refresh them whenever they need.

Next: The players get a whole locker room. The cheerleaders … get something else.

7. No changing at the stadium

Would you want to drive to and from work like this? | Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

In any job that requires you wear a uniform, you are usually provided a place to change into that uniform. For some cheerleaders, the circumstances are wildly different. In fact, some cheerleaders aren’t allowed to change at the stadium at all. They have to arrive in uniform and leave in uniform. Imagine sitting on the highway and seeing Blitz the Seahawk mascot driving his car to and from work. It’s a laughable requirement at best.

Next: There are fitness requirements, and then there’s this.

6. There’s no room for error

Cheerleaders can’t gain more than three pounds between games. | Jamie Squire/Getty Images

For most cheerleaders, there is some sort of weight requirement. That requirement usually conforms to your body mass index but can range. The Cincinnati Bengals, for example, had a little more stringent of a rule: Cheerleaders were required to be within three pounds.

Next: They’re required to be places that they don’t receive any benefit from.

5. Cheerleaders are required to appear anywhere

Cheerleaders need to go represent the team all over the place. | Allsport /Allsport

Some cheerleaders are required to appear at different social events outside of the game itself. they can be charity events, fundraisers, raffles, golf tournaments, or anything that the franchise or cheerleader management has signed them up for. When they are these events, they are paid little more than minimum wage and do not share in any of the revenue. Their NFL counterparts get a very different deal when it comes to these types of events.

Next: Could you imagine if a football player was required to do this?

4. Their uniforms aren’t cheap

Believe it or not, they have to buy their own uniforms. | Jeff Gross/Getty Images

Some jobs require that you purchase your own uniform. An officer is usually required to do this, some maintenance jobs, and some other niche areas. But for a cheerleader, that outfit typically costs hundreds of dollars. For the amount they are paid, this is a very high price to pay to do a job.

Next: The rules don’t stop once you’re off the field.

3. No sweatpants in public

Sweatpants are strictly prohibited. | Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images

Could you imagine coming into work one day and being called into your bosses office then being reamed for wearing your sweatpants to go get coffee on your day off? Well, that is what could happen if you’re a cheerleader for some teams. They have strict codes of appearance, even on your days off.

Next: If it’s not your real life, they go after your digital one.

2. Cheerleaders’ social media are policed

This ex-New Orleans Saints cheerleader brought some of the hypocrisy to light. | Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Your social media presence can affect your work. Some states don’t allow employers to use your social media against you, but that doesn’t mean you aren’t being watched. In the case of Bailey Davis, she was fired from the New Orleans Saints for posting an “inappropriate” photo to her private Instagram account. If you think this is fair, you probably aren’t a fan of the first amendment. Employers shouldn’t be allowed to infringe upon your constitutional rights.

Next: When it comes to hygiene standards, this is going way too far.

1. They have to follow strict hygiene rules

Some guidelines make sense. Others completely overstep boundaries. | Adrian Dennis/AFP/Getty Images

There are obvious hygiene requirements: Come clean, paint your nails, style your hair, and wear decent makeup. Those requirements are relatively warranted. But in an extreme case of overstepping your bounds as an employer, some rulebooks included how to deal with menstruation and the proper application of a tampon.

Next: Here’s why these rules are unlikely to change.

There is way too much supply

Cheerleading candidates parade on stage during the Los Angeles Rams Cheerleading Final auditions at the Forum in Los Angeles, California on April 17, 2016.| MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images

Cheerleaders have to try out every single year to be apart of the group. Whenever tryouts are held, hundreds of potential cheerleaders show up. That makes each one of them extremely replaceable. When you are that replaceable, you have very little power and all the leverage stays with the franchise.

Next: Here’s why they can’t unionize.

Cheerleaders couldn’t unionize

It would be virtually impossible for cheerleaders to unionize today. | TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images

NFL players are unionized and can negotiate how they promote themselves and receive compensation based on that fact. Cheerleaders, on the other hand, would have a hard time forming a union. They are technically part-time workers, they lack substantial enough numbers to fund a union, and the employers can easily replace them.

Next: Some cheerleaders have brought legal action to a franchise and won.

The courts may be the only route to go

The Raiderettes have had some small victories in court. | Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images

Both the Flight Crew and Raiderettes who cheerlead for the Jets and the Raiders, respectively, have won legal cases for back pay and unfair treatment. Baily Davis sued the Saints for unfair treatment, as well.

Leslie Levy, the lawyer who presided over the Raiders and Jets cases, told the New York Times “You see a disparate treatment between the cheerleaders, and the mascots and anyone else who works for the team. I can’t think of another arena where employers exert this level of control, even when they are not at work.”

Next: Some teams don’t even bother with having cheerleaders.

Not all teams have cheerleaders

Quarterback Kevin Hogan of the Cleveland Browns runs for several yards.

The Cleveland Browns are notably cheerleader-less. | Brian Blanco/Getty Images

It’s true that not every team in the NFL has a cheer squad. Those teams include Browns, Steelers, Bears, Giants, Packers, and Bills. Which really begs the question: Why have cheerleaders in the first place? Unless you’re a fan of those teams, you probably never even realized that there weren’t cheerleaders for those teams.

Next: People are unlikely to change these because of this very simple reason.

Status quo

The Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.| Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Maintaining the status quo is paramount to the business model of cheerleaders. If they don’t share the money generated from calendars, public appearances, and memorabilia, the organizations make a lot more money. This is only echoed by our societies fixation on misogyny that is ingrained since at least high school. What are your thoughts? Tell us in the comments.

Check out The Cheat Sheet on Facebook!