null

{Click on Any Image to View It Full Size in a New Window}    

 

As National Cheerleading Week spills over …

null

… all eyes are on the opening of free agency and the upcoming National Football League College Draft.  

But Sleuth’s attention is focused on the evolution of the athletic activity: from school spirit to pro sport.  

Professional cheerleaders put a new perspective on American cheerleading,” observes Wikipedia. “Women were selected for two reasons {no, not those! – fronting the Chargers and the Bucs} …

null

… namely, visual sex appeal and the ability to dance” {and definitely in that order!}.  

For even at ‘The Big Dance’ for the NFL—Super Bowl 51—the on field battle this year was not just the thrilling quarterback duel between Atlanta’s Matt Ryan and New England’s Tom Brady, but also the down and dirty dancing of the Falcons cheerleaders …

null

versus the Patriot dames!

null

And like that overtime outcome, it came right down to the end.

null

It was another such contest—the aptly named Super Bowl X—four decades before that was literally a game changer: “Time was when cheerleaders were wholesome little girls in baggy sweaters and bobby socks,” observed People magazine in late ’78. “But ever since the 1976 Super Bowl when the Dallas Cowgirls came shimmying into 29 million American living rooms, pro football cheerleaders have become spangled, sexy and a cause célèbre.”

As well as a cause for celebration!

null

“The surge in status for cheerleaders has come at a time when women’s liberation groups have denounced them as sexist tools,” no less than the New York Times commented for a featured article in December 1977.

null  “It’s a sex-oriented thing now,” former Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader {DCC} Linda Dillard was quoted in the piece. Added fellow former member Pam Seal: “If you’ve got a real big bust, you’ve got it made.”  

Nice to know some things haven’t changed!

null

But the gals still on the squad fought back: “We’re real people,” insisted Jill Waggoner, “we’re not sexpots. Some people have warped ideas or dirty minds. If I thought what I was doing was in any way dirty, I wouldn’t be here. I don’t think any of us would.”  

Which is why the official Cowboys cheerleading book was titled A Touch of Class (below left) … though most football fans dropped the ‘c’ and ‘l’:

null

An erotic image reinforced by a book the following year, Deep in the Heart of Texas (below left), an exposé by the only trio of sisters ever to kick for the team—Suzette, Stephanie and Sheri Scholz.

null

“Of course, the Cheerleaders were bursting out of their hot pants with sexuality,” smirked Stephanie Scholz (above right), the eldest sibling. “But as long as they maintained the image, everyone could accept the overflowing C cups and the pants cut up to Jerusalem.” Hallelujah!

null

“The demand for ‘go-go dancers on the sidelines’ swept the National Football League,” wrote Dr. Mary Ellen Hanson in Go! Fight! Win! (below left), one of several scholarly books that sprung up on the subject. Added another (below right): “Many would argue today that cheerleaders are nothing more than half-naked girls jumping senselessly up and down for the sole purpose of worshipping male athletes.

null

“Often when people think about cheerleading, this image comes to mind: the cleavage-revealing Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders in hot pants.”  

And most often, the probing question on their minds was whether or not panties were beneath those pants!  

“Do the Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders wear underwear under their uniforms?” remains a recurring query at Yahoo Answers (below left) …

null

… with the selected Best Answer being: “The shorts, like the tops, look like they are going to show something, but guys have been wishing for many years, and have never seen anything at a game”—though fan favorite Ashton Torres (above right) gave more than a hint recently. “Most of the things surrounding the group are secret, and what they wear under their shorts is officially unknown.”  

Though five years ago one member of the squad told her best friend that they “wear a very thin piece of black spandex and it is like a thong, but the front holds tight around the waist so nothing shows.”  

Except when it does

null

… and the inverted ‘V’ below left kicks off even more speculation that while bras are mandatory for the DCC, panties aren’t:

null

Indeed, these spreading and squatting shots from last season should finally “answer the age-old question,” posed on CarolinaHuddle.com: “Do the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders Wear Underwear?”

null

Something we should no from the very beginning! The face of the franchise was tiny Tami Barber—whom the Scholz sisters referred to in their book by the pseudonym “Nanette Atler, the strawberry blonde with the pigtails and the freckled Norman Rockwell little girl face” (below left).

null

“Being a cheerleader has given me the chance to open my eyes and see what God has given me,” the Pentecostal pixie purred … and fans also got to see when she and saucy Suzette Russell made the All-Binocular Team in ’77 (above right)!  

“Every girl on the squad hated those high kicks,” confided Stephanie Scholz. “Sometimes a boot came off, or a top came untied, or worse. But we kept right on kicking.”

No one was kicking in the broadcast booth, that’s for sure: “It was very helpful for the telecasts,” winked ABC’s Monday Night Football producer Don Ohlmeyer. “I mean, they were so fucking good-looking!”  

And the newly-instituted “isolated camera” for instant replay help spread the word: “With the introduction of sexy dance troupes on the sidelines,” notes the Go! Fight! Win! study, “television directors had a ready source of appealing visuals during the numerous breaks in game action. The ‘honey shot’ became a staple of TV sports broadcasting, with ABC sports director Andy Sidaris one of its most avid proponents.”  

The future director of mid-’80s sexploitation B-movies like Hard Ticket to Hawaii and Malibu Express, Sidaris was described by Los Angeles magazine in the ’70s as “the man who brings T&A {Tits and Ass} from the gridiron to your home” and “is to cheerleaders what Hugh Hefner has been to centerfolds.”

null

To the unapologetic Andy—a friend of Sleuth’s up until his death in 2007—it was simply a matter of X’s and Ohs! “Once you’ve seen one huddle you’ve seen them all. So you either look at the popcorn, the guys or the ladies. The choice is clear for me.”  

And it became clearer when the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders released “the hottest selling poster since Farrah Fawcett’s” earlier hit in 1977—with “over three quarters of a million copies bought before Christmas.” Sniffed Merry Sales, who described herself as “not flat and pretty sexy” and who’d been with the squad two years before: “That doesn’t look like cheerleading. That’s sex. Their shirts are open and you see a lot. My mother saw that poster (below left) and said, ‘Dear, I’m sure glad you’re not a cheerleader now.”

null

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, so five former Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders decided to parody the poster … while fit to be (un)tied, above right. The then-current Cowboys Cheerleaders—the first troupe to be incorporated—promptly sued, detailing that: “In the Texas Cowgirls version of the poster, the tops of the cheerleading uniforms are unbuttoned, leaving the women with exposed breasts.” Sadly, the court called a halt(er) to future sales.  

The topless troupers had left the squad just the year before … with Sleuth able to positively identify the quintet, as they appeared from left to right in the poster: Debbie Kepley, Charyl Russell, Linda Kellum {the tan-lined blonde front and center}, Janice Garner and Meg Rossi.

null

And to show they belonged, here are the feisty five in the official DCC team photo in 1977 (numbered as above).

null

“They keep trying to make me look like a little girl,” declared Debbie Kepley, “but when I go out on that field, I’m going to go out looking like the woman I am!”  

Recalled Esquire magazine of the time: “Other pro cheerleading squads follow in the footsteps of the Cowboys cheerleaders, incorporating crop tops and short shorts into their uniforms and suggestive dance moves into their routines. Among the first to make this shift are the Los Angeles Rams’ Embraceable Ewes.”  

The brainchild of agent-turned-producer David Mirisch, who not so coincidentally discovered Farrah Fawcett {the high-haired prototype for the ‘new cheerleader’}, 805 women showed up at the L.A. Coliseum on April 21, 1978 “to audition for the Rams cheer team—many in see-through blouses and hot pants or skimpy string bikinis.”

null

“It was an amazing sight,” remembers Mirisch (above center on that fateful day}. “The first 50 rows of the Coliseum filled with these beautiful creatures.”  

Cautioned Carroll Rosenbloom, the team owner: “We don’t want them to all be hookers.” Not likely … but less assured considering the attire of 2016’s applicants (below) for the Rams’ return to Los Angeles.

null

Today, every team includes a “morality clause” in contracts for its cheerleaders—forbidding any to pose provocatively—as epitomized by this current Baltimore Ravens' rule:

null

But the whole concept was too new to know back in 1978: “It is quite possible that the people running the NFL franchises are the puritans,” columnist David Israel wrote in the Chicago Tribune when the league tried to cover up a few nude poses by pom-pom performers. “They probably think this is some kind of Communist conspiracy to undermine the nation’s morals through football. Can you imagine how corrupted some 12-year-old Pop Warner League halfback from Winnetka is going to be when he discovers that there really is skin under that Honey Bears uniform?”  

The Bear who bared was Chicago cheerleader Jacquelyn Rohrs (below), whose pose sans clothes quickly woke the organization out of hibernation.

null

“When they took our pictures for a poster shot,” Jackie fired back when fired, “the Bears office told us to wear pushup bras, show lots of cleavage, really schmaltz it up. When they heard I’d posed nude, they called that distasteful.” Yet the only cleavage Rohrs showed was from the rear!

null“She knew when she shot the thing she was going to get fired,” stated a team spokeswoman. “When we found out Jacquelyn didn’t keep her clothes on, we had no alternative. It's too bad, too."

As a follow-up by the Tribune ten years later noted, “The cheerleader appears to have dropped from sight after being dropped by the Bears” … but Rohrs may have the last laugh: Ever since deceased team founder George Halas’ daughter disbanded the squad for being “sex objects” after winning the title in 1986, the team has not won another Super Bowl and has a 30% lower winning percentage since abolishing the cheerleaders! Thus, according to Wikipedia: “Many fans claim that their team lingers under ‘The Curse of the Honey Bears.’”  

Similarly, the San Diego Chargers have never won a Super Bowl … perhaps payback for dismissing their entire cheerleading squad when just one disrobed! “What San Diego did is unfair, horrible,” jettisoned Jackie Rohrs remarked. “How can they punish the whole team for what one girl did!”

Maybe because that girl was erotic Elizabeth Caleca, the pouting pom-pom (below left) who just happened to also be the reigning Miss Nude California!

null

“Although I enjoy being appreciated by men,” she said of her skimpy sequined uniform (below right), “it doesn’t do anything for me sexually to know men are probably getting off looking at me” during the games. “I always thought being a professional cheerleader would open some doors. And it did.”

null

But when she was shown the door by San Diego for posing nude (above left)—despite no clause in her contract prohibiting it—the oldest and boldest of the group groused: “I was stabbed in the back by almost every Chargette on the squad. Well, they’re all a bunch of kids and maybe when they grow up a little they won’t be so uptight about nudity.” And maybe honor their fallen comrade by relinquishing their razors

null

A fitting END to the first of our 3-part tribute in honor of National Cheerleading Month: Professionally speaking.

null

Next Up: “Unsportsmanlike Conduct” …