Why Bengals Yell “Who Dey” and its History are Explained?

Bengals fans will be asking the same tired question to anybody within earshot on Sunday, when their team, the Cincinnati Bengals, takes on the Baltimore Ravens in the AFC wild-card round.

“Who Dey?”

In any case, what does that imply? It’s part of a chant that fans of the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium are known to burst out into following touchdowns. This chant has its roots in the 1980s, and it all started with a local brewery. Is anybody interested in learning more about “Who Dey?” See it more clearly in this closer inspection:

What is the ‘Who Dey?’ chant? 

The Bengals Growl is the fight song used at home games whenever the Bengals score a touchdown. The crowd in Cincinnati chants the entire question in unison between choruses and towards the end of the song:

“Who Dey? Who Dey? Who Dey think they gonna beat dem Bengals?” 

“Who Dey? Who Dey? Who Dey think they gonna beat dem Bengals?” 


Who Dey origin, explained How Bengals' chant started and what it means
Who Dey origin, explained How Bengals’ chant started and what it means

When did ‘Who Dey?’ Chant Start? 

Ken Anderson started all 16 games at quarterback for the Bengals in 1981. The regular season record for the Bengals was 12-4. As Anderson explained to Sporting News, the phenomena emerged at that time.

For the playoffs, “we were the No. 1 seed and so we had a bye week and had both games at home,” Anderson told SN. “The “Who Dey?” shout originated in the venerable old Riverfront Stadium. People began donning bright orange and black wigs and face paint at that time.

Signs appeared in the stadium. Absolutely riveting.” The Bengals were defeated 26-21 in Super Bowl 16, but seven years later, the chant began again, with a few tweaks.  The 1988 Cincinnati Bengals, led by quarterback Boomer Esiason, went 12-4.

The hit tune “Welcome to the Jungle” by Guns N’ Roses was released around the same time and has since been a mainstay at Riverfront Stadium home games for the Cincinnati Bengals.

The 1988 Cincinnati Reds season was the only one in which they did not suffer a single home defeat. Even though the 49ers defeated the Bengals 20-16 in Super Bowl 23, the chant was still a part of the homecoming celebration. Who Dey is the team mascot’s moniker.

Absolutely; however, where’s the beer?

‘Who Dey?’ Origins 

Most people believe it all started with a Hudepohl Brewing Company beer in Cincinnati. Commercials from the 1980s are great, for what it’s worth.As “Hudy!” was the cry of beer merchants at the old Riverfront Stadium, “Who Dey?” was the cry of spectators looking to buy a beer.

Last week, Hudepohl Beers unveiled their limited-edition “Hu-Dey” cans. But what about the rest of the chant? A similar claim was made in a prominent television commercial for the defunct Red Frazier Ford of Cincinnati, which was quoted by the Cincinnati Enquirer as saying, “Who’s going to give you a better deal than Red Frazier… nobody!”

An area radio station has taken credit for starting the chant, according to City Beat. According to City Beat, after WEBN Program Director Denton Marr rounded up some staff and recorded a version of the Who Dey song, its popularity soared.

So the “Who Dey?” shout required a victorious football team, alcohol, and either a car advertising or radio station. The Bengals might have just stolen it from the Saints, though.

Who Dey origin, explained How Bengals' chant started and what it means
Who Dey origin, explained How Bengals’ chant started and what it means

‘Who Dey?’ Vs. ‘Who Dat?’ 

As reported on February 3 by the Wall Street Journal, “the ‘Who Dat’ expression has roots in vernacular poetry of the 19th century and was popularised by Black comedians.” New Orleans Saints fans have taken offense to the “Who Dey?” chant, which is similar but has become a source of controversy.

The Advocate (Baton Rouge, Louisiana) wrote in an editorial on January 25 that the Bengals’ chant, “Who dey, who dey, who dey believe going to beat dem Bengals?,” sounded like a “poor knock-off” of their own “more intelligent” and “grammatically accurate” “Who Dat” shout.

Is that chant original with the Bengals? Most likely not, but both states can join in the chanting in honor of Joe Burrow, who guided LSU to a national title and the Bengals to Super Bowl LVI last year.

It’s probably safe to assume that’s true of everyone in Cincinnati. After last year’s AFC title game win over Kansas City, the Bengals adopted that chant in their postgame team huddle.

Ending thoughts

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