Making the Squad coverBuy it at Amazon: Click here!
Studio: Warner Brothers
MSRP: $14.96
Rated: Not Rated
Running Time:
151 – 164 minutes
Special Features:

- Dolphins “No Name” Defense featurette
- Dolphins Spoil Bears Perfect Season featurette
- Shula’s Greatest Season featurette
- promotional spots

The Pitch

Satan’s Cheerleaders meets Gimme An ‘F’ meets Cheerleader Camp.

The Humans

1,000+ cheerleader hopefuls and their would-be employers.

The French judge’s score angers the crowd.

The Lowdown

In the world of the National Football league, cheerleaders are as much a part of the landscape as touchdowns, interceptions, failed drug tests, and the Arizona Cardinals missing the playoffs. Cheerleading is often viewed as nothing more than a frivolous distraction from the on-field competition, and cheerleaders themselves are usually categorized as being dumb, catty, shallow, mean tarts, just begging to be taken down a notch or two; who hasn’t laughed at a teen comedy where the bitchy, back-stabbing captain of the cheerleading squad gets her comeuppance when she falls face-first into a pile of dog poop? The NFL seeks to change the perceptions of one of its hottest commodities with Cheerleaders: Making The Squad.

Ebay scalpers start lining up for the PlayStation 4.

Since each Cheerleaders DVD follows the exact same format and have similiar special features as the others in the series (running times are similar as well), this review will look at the three discs as a whole, instead of each one individually. takes a look at the trials and tribulations of hundreds of hopeful young (and a few not-so-young) women as they try to catch on with the cheerleading squads of the National Football League’s Miami Dolphins, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and the San Diego Chargers. The first of these three-part miniseries (Miami) aired in 2005, with the Tampa Bay and San Diego chronicles being broadcast during the summer of 2006. Each team’s series is available as a separate DVD release.

The pain is excruciating, but Alyssa resists Jeannie’s powerful mind-meld; the location of Robin Curtis’ career still remains a mystery.

Each Cheerleaders: Making The Squad DVD is made up of three individual episodes of about 45 minutes apiece, and takes a documentary-style look at the whole NFL cheerleading tryout process, starting with open auditions and culminating with swimsuit modeling for calendars after the final squads have been decided. Interspersed with the tryout and cheesecake footage are interviews with some of the hopefuls, as well as with the people who will decide their fates. We also get to go behind the scenes and take a look at how cheerleading talent is evaluated and how some of the decisions are made.

With around 350 women trying out for each squad, NFL Films lets us watch as candidates sign up for auditions (which last for about 3 – 4 days), perform for the judges, do job interviews with team officials and coordinators, and nervously sweat their way through each round of cuts as the final rosters slowly take shape. Each large group is filled with determined dreamers, plucky underdogs, returning veterans (who aren’t guaranteed a spot), and others who have no chance, but are giving their all anyways.

"I wonder what the teacher’s gonna look like this year!"

From this disparate array of hopefuls, each show follows several candidates of varying skill and experience, developing their stories and and delving into their personal lives a little bit, helping us get to know them. Some compelling personalities and stories come through here, and you’ll probably find yourself pulling for a handful of these ladies. But with only a limited number of roster spots available (28 – 40, depending on the team), you know that some of these stories won’t have a happy ending.

In the early rounds of the tryouts, the panels of talent coordinators and judges go about separating the wheat from the chaff, as the candidates perform group routines in front of them. While some of the women are very talented and attractive, others really have no business being there, but at the same time you admire them for getting up the nerve to even try out. Still, you’ll cringe at some of their awkward dance moves. The talented ones advance, and judges are urged to look for diamonds in the rough as well. Talent usually wins out, but not always: in San Diego, a couple of quite attractive – but not very gifted – girls advance to the second round primarily because of their Hispanic heritage (Charger cheerleaders do lots of promotional appearances in Mexico, and women who are Hispanic and/or speak Spanish are good to have on the squad).

With the help of well-hidden tire iron, Rachel ices the competition.

In between each round, judges and coordinators will tabulate scores, lobby for their favorites, talk about who did – or didn’t – impress them, discuss their decisions, and ultimately decide who advances to the next round and who goes home. These “fly on the wall” sessions are entertaining to eavesdrop on, and provide some insight as well.

Every once in a while, Cheerleaders: Making The Squad takes us away from the tryouts and gives us a look at what some of the cheerleaders do when they’re not shaking their pom-poms: one is a loan officer, another works for her family’s construction business, one teaches elementary school, others are pursuing post-secondary degrees, this one’s a biologist, that one’s registered as a police officer, another one’s a single mother attending university, etc. These bits are enjoyable and do a good job of making these women seem real, not just adolescent pin-up fantasies.

Crystal puts one of Madonna’s old bras to good use.

But when it comes down to it, being an object of desire is part-and-parcel of being a cheerleader. Cheerleaders: Making The Squad knows this: there are tons of long legs, gyrating hips, buns of steel, taut tummies, heaving bosoms, big hair, short shorts, and flashy smiles on display; lots of women with names like Ashley, Amber, Brieana, Crystal, Lauren, Sahara, Summer, and Tiffany. You’ll probably wonder why they didn’t just hold cheerleader tryouts at a strip club. Sex sells (sorry feminists), and many of these women are very very sexy. Nine out of ten health experts agree: Cheerleaders: Making The Squad is an excellent source of Vitamin I (Candy). The women are beautiful no doubt, especially after a cadre of hairstylists, makeup artists, fashion designers, professional photographers and air-brushers have had a go at some of them, making even the average-looking girls look like something out of a men’s magazine.

Elvis has left the pocket.

Cheerleaders: Making The Squad takes a pretty good look at what goes into becoming a cheerleader in the National Football League, but at the same time it doesn’t have as much insight as one might like. The “dark side” of cheerleading – eating disorders, cosmetic surgery, drug abuse, infighting, age discrimination, stalkers, bizarre murder-for-hire plots, sordid off-field sexcapades – is never discussed. Sexism is brought up once, but is quickly and deftly spun into a positive, and then never mentioned again. Everyone gets along just swell too: nobody hates anyone else, there are no displays of anger or bitterness after being cut, no temper tantrums, no meltdowns, no Survivor-style attempts at undermining the competition, no cattiness, lots of “Everyone’s a winner!” speeches (usually given just before another round of cuts), and so on. Cheerleaders: Making The Squad isn’t a searing expose, but it’s not trying to be; this official product of the National Football League is like one of those “authorized” biographies where the participants only say nice things. If you want some cheerleading “dirt” you’ll have to look elsewhere, although the oftentimes blunt criticism from the two talent coordinators in Miami gives that disc a bit of zing.

Aubrey goes for it during the talent portion of the Yahoo Serious Look-alike Contest.

We never even find out how much money NFL cheerleaders actually make, either. That sort of information would have been nice to know.

Even though Cheerleaders: Making The Squad might not tell you all you want to know about the profession or even give more insight into why some of these women want to be cheerleaders, there’s some good drama: as the final cut looms in San Diego and we’re shown a shot of Charger Girl hopefuls tightly squeezing each other’s hands as they kneel in a prayer circle, you can feel the tension and at that moment you realize how much this means to them; after all, everyone knows what it’s like to have a dream. When the final cuts are announced, the winners/survivors are overjoyed, and we’re happy for them; some of the “feel good” storylines end the way we hoped they would. The suspense probably won’t have you on the edge of your seat, but you’ll probably be leaning forward a little bit.

On the morning of August 29th, the spleen of Chris Simms exploded in the Central Florida sky; among the 500,000 casualties are the playoff hopes of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

But for every winner there’s a loser too, and it’s hard not to feel bad for the ones who didn’t make it: they gave it everything they had, only to see their dream laying in tatters at their feet when the dust had settled. And while the girls who came thisclose put on brave faces for the cameras, you can tell they just had their hearts broken.

With the suspense out of the way and the final rosters set, the final 45-minute episode of each Cheerleaders: Making The Squad DVD is a bit of an anticlimax, as we get to look in on calendar photo shoots in various exotic locations and watch as the women romp around doing various things, like making cardboard boats and undergoing G-rated initiation rites. This is fairly fluffy stuff, although you can never spend too much time looking at hot women in bikinis. The San Diego disc squeezes an amusing scavenger hunt into its last episode; this sequence generates a big laugh, as one of the cheerleaders thinks New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady is “the black guy from The Drew Carey Show.” The boyfriend of one of the Charger Girls springs a surprise marriage proposal on his girlfriend in this episode as well; it’s a sweet moment.

"Hey, McFly! Make like a tree, and fade from existence!"

The Cheerleaders: Making The Squad DVDs manage to entertain, despite their glossing-over – or outright ignoring – of some things you may have wanted to know. Of the three discs, which one should you get? If you’re a fan of one the teams covered, then your choice is obvious. If you’re just curious, the San Diego edition is the one to buy: it has the most effective drama, and some engaging personalities. The Tampa Bay disc probably has the best-looking women (although that’s subjective), so the voyeurs would probably go for that one.

Number 262 in your program, but Number One in our hearts.

The Package

Cheerleaders: Making The Squad is presented in a full-frame format, and the picture quality is pretty good; since the source material is quite recent it looks about as good as a new TV show can look.

Each disc is presented in Dolby Surround Stereo (there are no other sound options available), and it sounds okay, but since the episodes are mostly dialog-driven your home theater won’t be tested very much. The audio quality and sound levels are fine; everything is clear and easy to understand. English subtitles are also available.

When Hiram Lodge’s bid to buy the Buccaneers fell through, daughter Veronica’s guaranteed spot on the cheerleading squad was no longer etched in stone.

Bonus features consist of several promotional videos for Tampa Bay and San Diego, with each one showcasing a different cheerleader hopeful. Each video is a few minutes long and you probably won’t watch them more than once.

By making herself appear bigger than she actually is, Lauren frightens off yet another mountain lion.

The Miami disc doesn’t have promo spots, but rather three short featurettes from the NFL Films archives: Dolphins “No Name” Defense, Dolphins Spoil Bears Perfect Season, and Shula’s Greatest Season. Each of these are about five minutes long. They’re nothing special, but it’s a real treat to hear “The Voice Of God,” the late NFL Films narrator John Facenda, just one more time.

Packaging for each Cheerleaders: Making the Squad DVD is the same: a standard slipcase, featuring a big picture of one of the respective team’s cheerleaders on the left, and a crowd shot and team logo on the right. The color scheme for each package incorporates each team’s official colors. Inside each case is a glossy double-sided promo insert for other NFL Films DVDs.

The role of Captain Jack Sparrow is re-cast when producers refuse to give in to Johnny Depp’s outrageous salary demands.

7.0 out of 10