Photo courtesy of the Dallas Cowboys.

When the Dallas Cowboys hit the field Sunday, there will be no fans in the stadium for the first time in history.

The Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders will still perform at home games, though. The squad is prohibited by NFL rules from performing on the sidelines, but they will do their thing on the “touchdown decks,” between the end zones and the stands.

“Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders: Making the Team” has been on the air for 12 seasons, and the show has its own channel on Pluto TV. There must be 9,000 episodes, which means I’ve probably watched 9,001. It is mesmerizing!

Listen, there are 54 players on an NFL roster. The Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders have 34, which makes being a Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader more elite than being a Dallas Cowboys player.

These women also are highly trained athletes. They have to dance flawlessly, touch their shins to their noses in a kick line with a jump split, look absolutely perfect from teeth to toes, be very photogenic and maintain impossibly low body fat to wear the uniform. It’s a job that’s highly competitive — this year, 1,500 people tried out in a virtual audition.

Besides that, they’re held to a code of conduct in their personal lives, unlike NFL players, who have been allowed to cold cock their girlfriends and still play on Sunday. It’s astonishing that the players make millions of dollars while the cheerleaders are paid $12 an hour and $400 per game.

Don’t get me started.

When Jerry Jones bought the Cowboys in 1989, he fired Tom Landry. It is a wonder the team is not more cursed, eh?

Jones also upset the cheer staff. Director Suzanne Mitchell, “who replaced a squad of high school bobby-soxers with a scantily clad chorus line that became a choreographed global brand,” resigned.

America’s Sweethearts heard rumors that Jones wanted their squad to appear in alcohol advertisements, somehow make the uniforms even skimpier and — clutches pearls — allow fraternization between the players and cheerleaders.

None of that happened, but 14 of the squad’s veterans quit that season. Watch this WFAA story from 2017 that includes an interview with one of the women who gave up her spot that year.