The Cincinnati Ben-Gals are the official cheerleaders for the NFL�s Cincinnati Bengals franchise. Made up of between 28 and 30 girls, they cheer on the team at home games and also act as a liaison between the community and the organization.
They are comprised of college students, full-time professionals and college graduates.
Cincinnati Ben-Gals History
Paul Brown, the founder and coach of the Cleveland Browns� franchise, decided in the mid-60s that he wanted to once again get involved in football. He formed an ownership group and was granted a franchise in the Cincinnati area. The team was named the Bengals as a tribute to a former pro football team in the city, as well as the rare white Bengal tiger on display at the local zoo.
The BenGals were around from the beginning, and they took the field at Nippert Stadium for the first time in 1968. Since then, they have become a fixture in the Cincinnati community and well-known around the globe.
Bengals Cheerleaders – Off-the-Field Commitments
Ben-Gals are expected to practice two to three times per week during the NFL season. In addition, they are also required to participate in charity work throughout the entire calendar year. Their season officially begins in April (team tryouts) and continues through the NFL season until January.
The average Ben-Gal works three to four events per week. They receive compensation for non-charity events, but everything else is done for free.
Cincinnati Ben-Gal Auditions
Squad auditions are broken up into two preliminaries, one semifinal and one final. Prospective candidates must demonstrate a talent for both dancing and interacting with the public. A highly-educated group, BenGal cheerleaders are made up of lawyers, teachers, artists and even doctors and scientists.
Cincinnati Bengals Cheerleaders – A Brush With Death
During a series of performances in South Egypt, the Ben-Gals were flown by six French pilots. During the flight, the girls learned all about the men and their families. Part of an organization known as the MFO, the men were there on a peace keeping mission.
The group became close during their time together, and the pilots expressed an interest in returning to see the Ben-Gals� show. The pilots headed for Israel, but were unable to see the performance due to it being moved. They never saw the men again.
Less than six weeks later, the Ben-Gals received word that the plane had crashed, killing all six pilots.
The director and coordinator for the BenGals is Charlotte Jacobs. While studying at Miami University, she commuted to cheer for both Miami and the Cincinnati Bengals. A Ben-Gal from 1978 until 1989, Charlotte was elected to the Pro Bowl and participated in two Super Bowls. She has held her current position with the team since 1994.
Being Part of the Show
One of the most memorable moments involving the Ben-Gals came courtesy of receiver Chad Johnson in 2005. After scoring a touchdown, Johnson, known for his flashy post-score celebrations, got down on one knee in front of Ben-Gal Daphne and proposed. Despite the fact that he didn�t know her name, Daphne happily accepted.