A TV movie, "The Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders," aired in 1979 and scored a 48 percent share of the national television audience.
A Dallas Cowboys cheerleader performs during the game between the Dallas Cowboys and the Detroit Lions on November 20, 2005 at Texas Stadium in Irving, Texas. Ronald Martinez/Getty Images Not surprisingly, making the squad is no easy feat.
Mitchell recalled early complaints about the cheerleaders, who many saw as scantily clad distractions from the game.
"I would call after I’d get a letter and ask what the letter writer had been doing on Christmas Eve,” she was quoted as saying in ' The Dallas Cowboys: The Outrageous History of the Biggest, Loudest, Most Hated, Best Loved Football Team in America' by Joe Nick Patoski.“Then I would tell them there were 12 girls who were in the DMZ in Korea performing in minus-20-degree weather serving their country.” The cheerleaders were in the demilitarized zone separating North and South Korea during the holiday to entertain American troops.
The cheerleaders hold annual auditions -- but don't think you can just show up.
"Master Instructors and DCC Group Leaders introduce you to the choreography and techniques taught to the Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders in the Audition Prep Classes," notes the Dallas Cowboys website.
Before that time, local high school students made up the Cowboys cheerleading squad.
Sports Day notes that the cheerleaders made 0 per home game during the 2013 season -- "if they make it out of training camp." Most Dallas cheerleaders have full-time jobs in addition to their cheer responsibilities, says "USA Today." It's a struggle for most.
Indeed, fans turn out the see the smiling mascot as much as the cheerleaders at community and charity events, as well as autograph-signing days, as Sports Day noted.
Rowdy seems to enjoy playing to the fans as much as the cheerleaders do -- maybe more so.
“I was leaving work every day and going straight to practice and not getting home until 11 or 12 at night,” Sunni West, who was a Dallas cheerleader from 2008 to 2011 told the newspaper. No quiet time for me." By comparison, NFL mascots make between ,000 and ,000 per year, according to "Upstart Business Journal." "The Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders, the most iconic and recognizable squad of dancers in the NFL (in the world, actually), are used to the spotlight," Jay Betsill writes on
And, the cheerleaders, themselves, are very happy to play to the crowd, which often includes their friends and family: "We work so hard for this uniform, and being able to look up in the crowd and see my family and being able to share this game-day experience with them is very special," Angela Rena, a veteran cheerleader who had moved all the way from Australia to join the squad, told DFW in 2013.