What is the meaning of 'Who Dey' and why do Bengals fans chant it?

Joshua Rogers January 22, 2022
What is the meaning of ‘Who Dey’ and why do Bengals fans chant it?
Photo by Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Cincinnati Bengals beat the Raiders to set up a Divisional Round matchup against the Titans. Ahead of the game, fans wondered where the Bengals’ chant Who Dey comes from, and what it means.

The Cincinnati Bengals clinched the AFC North in Week 18, and are heading to the post-season. The Bengals finished 10-7 overall for the season and were beaten by the Browns in the last week of the regular season.

They were the AFC’s fourth seed and beat the Las Vegas Raiders on Super Wild Card Weekend last week. The Bengals beat the Raiders 26-19, and now face the Tennessee Titans in the Divisional Round.

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What is ‘Who Dey Bengals’?

Who Dey is a synonymous chant with the Bengals that encapsulates a whole city and fanbase. It is a calling card and victory yell that brings people together and gives Bengals fans a sense of shared identity.

Fans often sing the chant to rile opponents while simultaneously lifting the morale and spirit of their own team.

The entire chant actually goes: “Who dey, who dey, who dey think gonna beat dem Bengals?”

The answer “nobody” is then screamed in unison.

Who Dey is very much part of the fabric of the organisation – so much so the team’s mascot, a Bengal tiger, is called Who Dey.

Photo by Michael Allio/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Where does Who Dey come from?

There is some controversy about the origins of Who Dey.

The New Orleans Saints started the Who Dat chant in the late 1960s and early 1970s, and some believe the Bengals copied and tweaked it.

However, Bengals fans say one of the sources of Who Dey was a commercial from 1980.

The commercial, from Red Frazier Ford of Cincinnati, used this tagline: “Who’s going to give you a better deal than Red Frazier?…Nobody!”

Others think the Who Dey chant originates from Hudy, a beer from the Hudepohl Brewing Company in the late 1980s.

“Hudy” was often called out by beer vendors carrying the ale, and Bengals fans would sometimes chant back to them.

This reportedly evolved from ‘Hudy’ to Who Dey over time.

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Joshua is a senior sports writer with over four years' experience in online writing. He graduated with a BA in Ancient History from The University of Manchester before receiving an MA in Sports Journalism from The University of Central Lancashire. He became a trending writer for a leading social publisher and later spent time covering the 2018 World Cup for The Mirror Online. He then moved to a social marketing agency where he acted as website editor. His specialties on The Focus include F1, tennis, NBA, NFL and combat sports.