Who dat gonna chant dat Who Dey cheer?

Joined: 12:30 AM - Nov 25, 2007

5:26 AM - Oct 17, 2009 #1

Here we go. An exceedingly rare good year is being accompanied by the inevitable ubiquity of raucous Who Dey hoo hawing. Now we have Who Dey here and Who Dey there and Who Dey everywhere. And while I say hooray for all the hoopla that comes with winning, I must confess that all this Who Dey-ing makes me grumble a bit and groan, hoo-humbug!

What I really want to know is how this particular cheer came about for our Southern Ohio team. It's not at all like "who dat" in Louisiana, where the popularity of the slang expression goes back for more than a hundred years. It supposedly reflects real Cajun dialect, and it inspired a rallying cry in the late 1970's for a Louisiana high school football team. That one goes, "Who dat say dey gon' beat dem 'Jacks?"

In Cincinnati, Who Dey is said to have generated spontaneously in 1981. It happened way up in the cheap seats at Riverfront Stadium. One fine Sunday fans simply starting chanting as the Bengals started winning. And by some astounding coincidence, this new expression sounded remarkably like a cheer already used elsewhere.

Here's my main issue with Who Dey: It doesn't reflect the local culture, it doesn't draw from any local traditions, and it doesn't represent the way local people normally talk. Without that, why the hoo-heck should any Bengals fan celebrate bad grammar and awful pronunciation? I don't get it.

But so much for boo hoo hoo-ing over mumble-mouthed fan enthusiasm. Like it or not, Who Dey will be around for as long as the franchise survives. If possible, though, I would at least like to know the real story behind it's origin. Can anybody here help? Does anybody else remember the old beer hawkers at Riverfront pushing Hudepohl, and didn't they used to yell out "HUDY" or "HOOO DEEE"? Isn't it possible that one of those fellows migrated to Cincinnati from Louisiana?

Reference: http://fifthdown.blogs.nytimes.com/2006 ... s-who-dat/
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" Bell-cow quarterbacks are like queen bees. Only one can take you to the land of milk and honey."
~ What Mike Brown never quite said, but should have.
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Joined: 2:25 AM - Dec 08, 2008

9:46 AM - Oct 17, 2009 #2

Here's my feeble memory of the WHO DEY impetus...

The WHO DEY chant was started in the mid 1970's by a local Cincinnati sports reporter named Zip Rzeppa (I couldn't make this up if I tried.) I think he worked for channel 5. Anyway, after a couple of years he got fired. His next job was as a sports reporter in New Orleans, where he started their WHO DAT chant.
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Joined: 4:08 AM - Aug 08, 2007

12:07 PM - Oct 17, 2009 #3

Who-Dey is a Bengal thing.
The Saints were never good enough to chant Who-Dat in the late 70's.

They can claim whatever they want to claim, but climing a trophy the isn't yours, is never rewarding.

WHO DEY! B!TCHES.
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Joined: 10:49 PM - Aug 21, 2003

2:19 PM - Oct 17, 2009 #4

Does anyone still have the Who-Dey Beer encased on a trophy somewhere? I was lucky enough to get one can from my cousin a long time ago, but I'm wondering if anyone else has seen these in full six packs or do they still make it?
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Joined: 1:20 PM - Jul 31, 2001

2:29 PM - Oct 17, 2009 #5

....Murf is right in that the Saints were never good enough for such a cheer before 1981. THe origins of the cheer do go back to New Orleans, however. WEBN radio had a Cajun voodoo lady they called to cast a spell or chant for the Bengals and She repeated over and over WhoDey, WhoDey, WhoDey think gonna beat them Bengals. It was not exactly a cheer when she did it. It was more like a witches chant.

They played it over and over that week. Croud picked it up and voila, our own Cajun Cincy cheer was born. No Zip Rzepa. He did make up some song, but not WHoDey. Also, there was no portion of the cheer initially that had the NOOOOOOOBOODDDY part. That came a few years later. There are a lot of misreps about it, but trust the ole cow on this one. This is gospel.
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Joined: 4:08 AM - Aug 08, 2007

2:30 PM - Oct 17, 2009 #6

Does anyone still have the Who-Dey Beer encased on a trophy somewhere? I was lucky enough to get one can from my cousin a long time ago, but I'm wondering if anyone else has seen these in full six packs or do they still make it?
I have the orignal and the 88 version.

Every team has some type of local fan based deal that might have out lived the team, but the fans still embrace it.
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Joined: 10:22 PM - May 19, 2008

2:50 PM - Oct 17, 2009 #7

<p>Here is what I have found on the internet. Dont know how true it is but sounds good.</p><p style="margin:0in 0in 0pt;"><span>Rumors</span> (It came from the Saints, It came from Alcorn State University, It came from LSU.)

Today you learn how it got started, when it started and where it traveled once it became popular. It started in November of  1981. And following is the stepping stone to it's arrival.

The Bengals were going up against the Steelers in the middle of October. Both had records of 4-2. The Steelers lost their first two games and then went on to win 4 in a row. It was the lowly Bengals playing the Super Bowl Champs of 1979 who was 9-7 in 1980. It was a big deal beating the Steelers because the Bengals already were defeated by co division leaders Houston and Cleveland who were 11-5 the year before.
At that time Pittsburgh was the big game of the year. That and Buffalo who was 11-5 also in 1980. The Buffalo Bills game didn't mean as much because the Bengals only beat teams that had worse records than them in 1981 before that game. The first two games were against the Jets and Seahawks who had records of 4-12 in 1980. And Baltimore who won 1 more games than the Bengals in 1980.
The Pittsburgh game meant more than all other games at the time. The Bengals Superbowl at the time. They won their Superbowl beating the Steelers 34-7. But the Bengals had a let down game following that game going against the Saints or (Ain'ts at that time). Losing 17-7.

The future didn't look bright. Because next on the schedule every team had a winning record the year before. And the next 3 team were 11-5 after the 1980 season. First Houston who already beat us, then the Chargers and Rams. All three were in the playoffs the prior two years,The Rams and Oilers prior 3 years. San Diego was picked to win the Superbowl in 1981. Plus we had Cleveland again, who were 11-5 and Atlanta who finish 1980 at 12-4. Five of the teams had a total of 24 loses in 1980

Cincinnati went on a great run. After starting out 5-3. They beat Houston by 13, San Diego by 23 and Los Angeles by 14. The chant started after the San Diego game. Second game of November. The Bengals had 5 games in November and won all 5. Beating every team by more than 2 TD's. The Bengals only lost one more game all the way up to the Superbowl. That game was against the 49'ers who they also played and lost to in the Superbowl.

The chant started,  Who They think is going to beat them Bengals. ( Cincinnati was on a roll.they were 7-3 a season after they finished 6-10 and prior two seasons 4-12) When some hollered, "Who They think is going to beat them Bengals" Other fans would reply with  "Nobody"
A week or two later. The whole chant started to grow, and the nobody was stretched out to Noooo Boooooooody. Coming from an old car commericial  of (Red Frazier Ford ) who was out of business at the time. But had a very popular commercial, Who's going to give you a better deal than Red Frazier? Nooo Boooody.

Following that,  the chant put was on a 45 record. Recorded by  Cincinnati's WLW weatherman  Who's  first name was Zip.



From the banks of the Ohio comes that orange and black machine
They're the Cincinnati Bengals The finest ever seen
With stripes upon their helmets and fire in their eyes
They'll take the field they will not yield
They're strong and tough and wise
Who Dey.Who Dey, Who Dey think gonna beat them Bengals
Who Dey, Who Dey, Who Dey think gonna beat them Bengals
Who Dey, Who Dey, Who Dey think gonna beat them Bengals
Who Dey, Who Dey, Who Dey think gonna beat them Bengals<span>
</span>
Hear that Bengal growling, mean and angry
See that Bengal prowling, lean and hungry
An offensive brute, run, pass, or boot
And defensively, he's rough errrr tough errrr
Cincinnati Bengals that's the team were gonna cheer to victory
Touchdown Bengals!!
Put some points up on the board and win a game for Cincinnati!

Who Dey, Who Dey, Who Dey think gonna beat them Bengals
Who Dey, Who Dey, Who Dey think gonna beat them Bengals
Who Dey, Who Dey, Who Dey think gonna beat them Bengals
Who Dey, Who Dey, Who Dey think gonna beat them Bengals

Noooooobodyyyyy</p><p>
 </p>
Last edited by Fulcher-the-Vulture on 2:50 PM - Oct 17, 2009, edited 1 time in total.
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Joined: 12:30 AM - Nov 25, 2007

5:07 PM - Oct 17, 2009 #8

Fulcher, I remember seeing that before. It's a nice narrative that provides context and perspective on how the Who Dey cheer caught on. Here's the link:

http://bengalsjungle.com/whodeyorigin.html

Good information there, except that it doesn't explain how the expression actually originated. If people in Southern Ohio and Northern Kentucky had a prior history of using "who dey" for "who are they", then there would be no reason to wonder. Anybody could have thought of it. But the affected drawl doesn't have an affinity for the locale.

Somebody had to come up with the wording initially, and that's why I like Dacow's story about the "Cajun voodoo radio lady". It's a new one to me, but it makes a lot of sense. Many people would have heard it on the radio, liked the way it sounded, and picked up on it. And it makes the presumed connection with Louisiana slang.

Very interesting. Dacow, can you provide more details on the radio show? Can anyone corroborate?
_______________________________________
" Bell-cow quarterbacks are like queen bees. Only one can take you to the land of milk and honey."
~ What Mike Brown never quite said, but should have.
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Joined: 1:27 AM - Oct 08, 2005

7:41 PM - Oct 17, 2009 #9

I have his 45 RPM record from 81-82. But I don't think he came up with the chant. My understanding, even in 1981, was that it was a variation of The Saints "who dat" chant that we somehow co-opted. I don't think its goin' away...until, er, unless we start losing again...
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Joined: 1:27 AM - Oct 08, 2005

7:45 PM - Oct 17, 2009 #10

I also have two or three "Hu-Dey" beers unopened still in the fridge. It was distributed by Hudepohl Beer in Cincinnati. I don't know if its from '81 or '89, and I don't even know if Hudepohl is still in business.
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