memories of the ’70s – Dallas Cowboys’ Cheerleaders

Dallas Cowboys’ Cheerleader Barbie by Mattel 


I was watching the hockey game with my parents and saw that the Carolina Hurricanes have cheerleaders – The Ice Girls. The male commentators kept slipping in references to the cheerleaders and one of the main hosts started the hosting of the game flanked by the cheerleaders. Maybe one day they’ll be as recognizable as the ladies who are on top of the pyramid:  football’s queens of the field: The Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders.

In the 1970s, the Dallas Cowboys decided they needed to find a way to lure more spectactors to the stands. Then team manager Tex Schramm thought that he wanted to hire professional models as the team cheerleaders, but realized they wouldn’t be able to handle the routines to tantalize the crowd. So he turned to choreographer Texie Waterman to create a unique sideline show with professional dancers cum cheerleaders that became an instant favourite of on-air personalities and fans.

Debuting in the 1972-73 football season, the Dallas Cowboy cheerleaders rivalled the team for the audience attention. The sexy blue and silver-clad girls led the crowd to cheer on their Cowboys with a mix of cheerleader standards and dance cues from the discos. Their outfits, based on team colours, were designed as an homage to the cowboy culture of Texas with the silver stars and vest, and a nod to club style with white go go boots.

As a young girl seeing the images of the cheerleaders, I wanted to copy the dance moves as I played in my basement rec room. I thought that the cheerleaders were pretty, like the dolls that sat on my shelf in my bedroom, with their long hair, cute outfits and permanent smiles.  I didn’t understand  they were every male fan’s fantasy, as if they were cheering for every man watching the game.

In the heyday of three American networks and two Canadian channels, Monday Night Football  owned their night and was happy to showcase NFL’s latest favourite obsession – the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders. As the team’s successes began to pile up with increasing wins and two Superbowls, so did the cheerleaders. Their iconic presence got so popular, dolls, lunchboxes and pom poms were created for collectors. By the end of the 70s, The Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders TV movie, starring Jane Seymour, aired in late 1979, gaining 48 per cent of the viewing audience. These ladies were celebs, even though only die-hard fans even knew their first names.

I never have truly understood the cheerleader. I’ll always remember my highschool trying to convince girls to become cheerleaders, and it failed to happen because of lack of interest. Cheerleaders are integral part of many sports, amateur and professional. I guess its something that men want and women don’t quite understand. But then again, in Texas, they understood and made their cheerleaders number one.

About Waheeda Harris

A pop culture junkie with a penchant for exploring our planet.
This entry was posted in Pop culture and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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