The Green & White announced the newest editions to the team at Jets Fest on Monday evening: the 2009 New York Jets Flight Crew.
The Atlantic Health Training Center in Florham Park, N.J., was the venue for the unveiling of this year's cheerleading squad, which has expanded from 22 to 30 members to add to the excitement of gameday.
"Fifteen are veterans from last year and 15 are rookies," said Denise Garvey, the Flight Crew's director. "That was totally by accident. I didn't plan that. But it's split 50-50."
The girls were introduced by Joe Nolan, the "That's a Jets ... first down!" announcer from the Meadowlands and traffic correspondent for a slew of New York media outlets.
One by one, the ladies stepped to the front of the stage to introduce themselves, wearing Jets "09" jerseys with their first names on the backs. They said where they were from, what other jobs they had and why they were so excited to be a part of the Flight Crew.
Although the public has only just gotten to meet the young women, they have been sweating through weeks of rehearsals and tryouts and are preparing for a long season of dancing, charity events and more.
"You're working," said Mandisa, a third-year veteran of the Flight Crew. "Whether it seems that all we do is just dance and have fun, yeah, that's what we do, but we really do work hard."
As the Flight Crew's roster count increases, so do expectations.
"We're starting to become an established team," Mandisa said, "and that's all we wanted from the start. So the more the merrier, that's our attitude. Bring it on, you know?"
"It is already a bigger presence at rehearsals," said Garvey, whose own experience is seasoned by her stints as a New Jersey Nets and Dallas Cowboys cheerleader.
"It just looks like a lot more girls, so I can only imagine on the field, when we break them up into groups for the games, the presence, I think, will be a lot bigger on gameday, too. So we're really excited about the larger number."
The veterans on the team can testify for the rookies that all their hard work will indeed be worth it, and that they are in for a thrilling season of Jets football.
"The best part is just performing," said Mandisa. "Gosh, it's just such a rush. Words can't describe how awesome we feel when we go out on the field or when we're sitting in the tunnel. We're so excited to get out there and just show our routines, dance and have fun. We're really just doing what we love.
"Just knowing that there are only a few girls who are doing this, it's really an honor."