Buffalo Bills Cheerleaders
Buffalo Bills Cheerleading Program
The Buffalo Jills are a professional cheerleading squad who represent the Buffalo Bills of the National Football League.
Besides cheering at home games, they also make personal appearances throughout the year and have routinely visited U.S. military troops stationed abroad.
Member of their squad have appeared in such magazines as Maxim, Pro Football Weekly, FHM and The Wall Street Journal Online.
They have also been featured on The NFL Network, ESPN 2, Beauties on the Beach and The NFL Cheerleader Playoffs.
Buffalo Jills – Formation and Early Days
The first squad for the Bills was formed in 1960 and was simply known as the Buffalo Bills Cheerleaders. They were made up of eight to ten cheerleaders from the nearby Buffalo State College. This group was formed by the team’s original manager, Dick Gallagher, and they performed during home games at War Memorial Stadium.
This group was in operation until 1965. During the 1966 season, the Bills were without a cheerleading squad. That would change in 1967, however, as the Buffalo Jills were introduced under the guidance of Joanne Gaulin. The new squad consisted of 28 to 30 young women, and the original uniforms featured wool sweaters, sneakers and knee-length skirts.
Since those early days, the size of the squad has increased, and the outfits have gotten much more revealing. The modern costume for the Jills consists of Go-Go style boots, a short skirt and a top with a bare midriff.
Buffalo Jills Cheerleading – Continue Evolution
From 1983 until 1986, the Jills also included two male cheerleaders on their squad. However, this didn’t sit well with the fans, and the male counterparts were discontinued before the start of the 1987 season.
Prior to 1986, the Jills were managed by the Bills franchise. This changed when the Mighty Taco chain became their first sponsor and assumed management responsibilities. Other squad sponsors have included Salvatore’s Restaurant and Bradford Travel. Today, their primary sponsor is Citadel Broadcasting, while many other sponsors participate on a year-by-year basis.
Since the 2000-2001 season, the squad has generated revenue by selling an annual swimsuit calendar. As one might imagine, this has been an extremely popular item in the New York area.
An Ambassador Squad was added in 2002. These eight to 12 young women are full members of the Jills, but they do not participate in on-field dance routines. Instead, they specialize in mingling with the fans and representing the Bills in social settings.
The addition of these young women has allowed the Jills to better meet the increasing demand for public appearances. It has also allowed talented women to join the team who otherwise might lack the necessary dance skills or the time to commit to such elaborate routines.
Jills are not paid for their game appearances, but they are allowed one complimentary ticket each game to give to a friend. Personal appearances pay $35 per hour, and Jills appearing in the annual swimsuit calendar receive a commission on sales. Many complimentary items are also provided by sponsors, including tanning, hair and nails, limousine service and dental & plastic surgery.
Beginning with the 2008 season, the Buffalo Jills will be the first multi-national NFL cheerleading squad. They will perform at homes games in Orchard Park, New York and Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Buffalo Bills Cheerleading Requirements
In the early days of the squad, a cheerleader was required to be married in order to make the team. This requirement was dropped in 1978.
Currently, there is a minimum age requirement of 18 (there is no upper age limit). Members of the Dance squad must practice twice a week for a total of seven hours, while Ambassador squad members meet once per week for 3 ½ hours. Jills must also be available to participate in all ten regular-season home game, as well as various charity events and public appearances.
45 Buffalo Jills are selected each year (35 Dance and 10 Ambassador). A normal audition is comprised of anywhere from 150 to 200 young women.