Cheering on the Bengals Sans Pompoms

She’s 5’5, 120 lbs., blonde hair, blue eyes, loves long walks on the beach and enjoys a glass or two of wine. Oh, and she’s a former NFL cheerleader, which yes, means she’s hot.

She may not still have pompoms in her hands, but the memories she holds near and dear to her heart are still there. Meet Toney, former Ben-Gals cheerleader for two years. Here’s a look at Toney’s life post-NFL cheerleader, the things she misses most about being on the sidelines and the things she’s happier to have parted her spirit finger ways with.

Is this...this is Heaven, right?

Is this…this is Heaven, right?

Toney works in sales and after a long day, sits down in her sweats to spill the beans. She says she’ll never regret joining the Ben-Gals, but in an effort to further her career, plan her elaborate wedding and some unmentionable “issues,” she realized after two great years, it was time to move on. Just because she’s not on the sidelines anymore doesn’t mean she isn’t in the stands or on her couch still cheering on the Bengals. She even boldly predicts they’ll easily win the AFC North.

During her two-year span, the Maryland native had quite a few accomplishments on her rhinestone belt as she was voted top NFL cheerleader to follow on Twitter and ranked in the Top 10 hottest NFL cheerleaders in the AFC North.

Pretty in pink. Or any color, really.

Pretty in pink. Or any color, really.

While she sadly can’t rack up any more of those accolades, the thing she doesn’t miss very much: WEIGHT REQUIREMENTS.

Now that she’s no longer a Ben-Gal, Toney takes immense pride in eating on weigh-in days, something she couldn’t do for the past two years. And good thing, because the 5’5” blonde is “obsessed with Chick-fil-A.”

I asked Toney to dish on the “weirdest” rules she had to follow as a cheerleader and here’s what she had to say (quoted):

  1. 3 lb. weight rule (you only had 3 lbs. within your “goal weight” you could fluctuate)
  2. Hair and makeup full out every practice
  3. We had to dress up to go into the stadium at 8 a.m when nobody was there to see us on game days (silly!!!!)
More like Cincinnati Bang...guns...or something. Look, not every pun is a winner.

More like Cincinnati Bang…guns…or something. Look, not every pun is a winner.

Weird rules aside, she says hands-down the best part of the whole experience was the fact that everyone looks up to you. “Whether it be on the field, people, especially children, see you as a mentor or role model,” Toney says. Plus she loved being a part of such a dynamic group of girls, which ranged in age from 21-46. (Yes, the oldest NFL cheerleader is 46 and she too is a Ben-Gal.)

Next: Find out the secret behind the Ben-Gals’ sexy calendar shoot. 

While other squads get to fly away to exotic beaches to provide you the sexiest calendar imaginable, Toney ‘fesses up that her shoots weren’t quite so glamorous. “We never go anywhere fun for our calendars, so my first year I was inside someone’s house shooting outside and on the stairs. My second year I shot inside an interior decorator’s store on a pink couch.” I guess it doesn’t matter where they shoot, because those 12 Ben-Gals looked amazing every single month and take my word – plenty of people in and out of Cincinnati purchased it.

Probably the only time we'd rather be in a department store than a tropical beach.

Probably the only time we’d rather be at home instead of a tropical beach.

Although she doesn’t have to keep up with her past workout and weight regime anymore, Toney still finds the time to keep herself toned. “I love weight training. My trainer is a beast and puts us to work. I love throwing around weights like a meathead,” she laughs.

Three cheers for Toney.

Three cheers for Toney.

And like most girls, when she’s not working out or spending time with friends and family, she finds herself glued to the TV catching up on the trashiest of reality TV. “I DVR all the Housewives shows, Here Comes Honey Boo Boo, Duck Dynasty, and Teen Mom.” But her semi-embarrassing admissions don’t stop there as she tells me that the most embarrassing thing on her iPod is Spice Girls, saying “I was totally ‘Baby Spice’ when I was younger.”

Come on, ABC, get your act together and do something smart for once.

Come on, ABC, get your act together and do something smart for once.

For now, Toney is loving the time that has freed up since her former days as a hair-flipping and high-kicking cheerleader, however, she does have one more dream she is desperately trying to accomplish: “I have applied to be on ABC’s Wipeout over FIVE times, but I don’t ever get a reply. HELP! I think I would do better than most people would expect. I am extremely competitive and enjoy doing things that involve athleticism.”

Keep on with the weight training Toney and we’ll make some calls for you.

selina Cheering on the Bengals Sans Pompoms

Tiger Blood = Winning

For a contemporary look at the Ben-Gals, read our interviews with two current squad members, Selina & Emily.


She'll marry you...to your true love.

She’ll marry you…to your true love.

Jayme Lamm is a freelance sports and travel writer based in Houston and is currently in a full-court press writing her hugely opinionated sports column, The Blonde Side. Follow her travels for sporting events and check her out on Twitter.

(Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)

Everybody loves a winner…almost.

Jayme took you to the great northwest in Thank Heaven for Sea Gal Stephanie and took up devil’s advocacy in I Like Johnny Football.

More from Jayme Lamm | The Blonde Side
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