New York Flight Crew
New York Jets Cheerleaders
The New York Jets Flight Crew are flag girls who cheer on the NFL’s Jets franchise at each home game.
Created in 2007, the New York Jets Cheerleaders are the first official group of cheerleaders in the team’s history. They also make public appearances in New York City and the New Jersey area. The New York Flight Crew members also participate in charity events throughout the same region.
New York Flight Crew – A Forty-Seven Year Drought
Founded in 1960, the Jets were originally known as the New York Titans. Members of the AFL, they would not be known by their current name until ownership changed hands in 1963.
It was believed that cheerleaders didn’t fit well with the team’s old-school attitude, so the Jets wouldn’t officially sponsor a team of girls for 47 years. Cheerleading squads from local colleges or high schools could occasionally be found on the sidelines of home games, but these were never more than temporary appearances.
Enter the Flag Girls
As the years passed, the team started using a group of men to act as flag carriers. After touchdowns and other important events, the men would run across the field carrying a series of oversized flags with the team’s logo.
In 2006, this squad was replaced with a group of all-female flag carriers. They made their debut during the October 2006 home game against the Miami Dolphins. Known as the Jets Flag Crew or Flag Girls, the team insisted that these young ladies were not cheerleaders. However, as the season went on, they were seen cheering on the sidelines with green and white pom-poms, in addition to their flag duties.
Creation of the Flight Crew
During the summer of 2007, it was announced that a 10-member flag crew would be created to cheer for the Jets at all home games. Once again, the word “cheerleader” was downplayed, and the phrase “flag carrier” was emphasized.
Denise Garvey, a former cheerleader for the Dallas Cowboys, was selected as the Flight Crew’s choreographer. She held a closed tryout for 46 girls in the early summer months and selected 10 members to officially represent the Jets for the first time in franchise history.
The inaugural roster of the Flight Crew consisted of: Gina C., Meredith, Gina G., Ryann, Jennifer, Mandisa, Courtney, Kate, Laura and Linda. They made their debut on August 10th, 2007, during a preseason game between the Jets and the Atlanta Falcons.
Besides performing choreographed dance routines on the sidelines, the New York Jets cheerleaders also ran flags across the field following touchdowns, field goals and during player introductions.
The group was limited to 10 during their first year in order to gauge reaction from the fans, but according to Garvey, the only complaint received all season was that there weren’t more girls.
Bigger is Better
During the spring of 2008, it was announced the Flight Crew squad for the upcoming year would be expanded from 10 women to 22. For the first time ever, open auditions would be held, and one member of the squad would be selected by fan voting on the Jets’ website. Over 250 girls auditioned for the squad.
A partnership was also announced with Marc Ecko Enterprises. Ecko, a famous New York fashion designer, will create the team’s 2008 uniforms, as well as personally direct hair, make-up and photography. The new outfits will be unveiled during the team’s home opener against the Patriots on September 14th, 2008.