Bernstein: Bears Fans Need To Shut Up

By Dan Bernstein–

Feel free to be as crazy as you want at Soldier Field on Sunday. Fortify yourself with your drink of choice, wave a sign with whatever risqué taunt you can create, wear your superfan-finest or be that shirtless guy, but promise one thing:

When the Bears have the ball, be quiet.

Lost amid the buildup to Sunday’s playoff game was a bizarre fact from their Friday preparation at Halas Hall. Instead of practicing outside in gamelike weather conditions, the Bears felt it necessary to work in the confines of the Walter Payton Center, so they could blast in crowd noise. Like they do before a trip to the Metrodome, they were trying to simulate the difficulty their offense would have. At home.

Apparently, too many Bears fans fail to realize what is actually happening out there. First, Jay Cutler has to cover his earholes to hear the play being radioed into his helmet. The system has been balky on occasion this year, and he often needs a secondary signal from the sideline that takes up play-clock time.

He relays the play in the huddle. They break and line up in their initial positions, then most often respond with a shift of backs/receivers to create a mismatch — a staple of the Martz system. Then, there are numerous protection calls that have to make their way down the offensive line quickly upon assessing the defensive formation and its own shifts (location of the “Mike” ‘backer, depth and deployment of safeties, man/zone, etc.).

Let them do their jobs, people. There are messages on the JumboTrons telling you to pipe down, so heed them. Watch when offensive players come out of the huddle signaling you to stop yelling.

I find it astonishing that one of the NFL’s founding franchises has to deal with this.

It will never be more important than Sunday, and not just because of the significance of the game itself. Packers’ defensive coordinator Dom Capers may be the best in the league at disguising pressures and coverages, having linebacker Clay Matthews and others make subtle pre-snap moves into advantageous gaps from their base 3-4 scheme. He places nickel-corner Charles Woodson all over the field as a free-range disruptor.

So the Bears will have more to say to each other than ever, with it all meaning more than we can remember.

How many of you failing to understand this principle are the same people who ridiculed Steve Bartman for interfering with his team’s chance to reach its sport’s biggest stage? I’d go so far as to argue that actively handicapping your team’s communication before the fact is far worse than reacting reflexively to a ball headed your way.

The skyrocketing price of tickets to the game may help take care of this. I have observed a general correlation in all sports between cheaper tickets and louder fans, if not drunker and dumber. Those with the ability to afford insanely-expensive seats are often less inclined to bellow like walruses and/or pack the hip-flask that emboldens leather lungs while decreasing awareness and judgement.

The Bears like to refer to their home-field fans as the “4th Phase,” a bit of clever pandering that gives the crowd some ownership of the outcomes alongside offense, defense and special teams.

If they practice inside again this week, getting ready for anticipated problems because they can’t hear each other in the biggest home game in franchise history, we’ll know what they really think.

bernstein 90x130 Bernstein: Bears Fans Need To Shut Up
Dan Bernstein has been the co-host of “Boers and Bernstein” since 1999. He joined the station as a reporter/anchor in 1995. The Boers and Bernstein Show airs every weekday from 1PM to 6PM on The Score, 670AM.
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More from Dan Bernstein
  • Larry Horse's Arse

    OK Dan, we’ll pretend we are at the Public Library.

    • Chazbo

      This CBS website really sucks, but that’s corporate radio… Anyway, will someone please tell Les that Don Hutson was indeed on the field vs da Bears on 12/14/1941 – He got it wrong last night/this morning.

  • WillKill

    LoL Larry you crazy.. But no I feel Dan whn the Bears are on offense, lets pipe dwn just a lil to get our calls in as well as blocking assignments etc!! We need to be loud whneva the packers are on offense, disrupt their whole play calling to where the offensive coordinatior is getting confused!!! Lets go Bears Fans, quiet dwn on offense during presnap and play calling!!! ONE CITY ONE TEAM!! BEARS BABY!!!!

  • Larry Horse's Arse

    I totally agree with WillKill.
    When Cutler motions for quiet, the crowd should pipe-down.
    When GB has the ball, make the Field shake!!!

  • Larry Horse

    Wrong on that one Arse. Bears fans are noticeably louder than other teams fans are when they have the ball. Why, I don’t know, but it seems they don’t know any better. It’s surprising, considering this isn’t Jacksonville or Carolina but one of the oldest franchises in the NFL. It’s just common sense to quiet down when your team has the ball, especially in the red-zone. Dan’s right on this one.

    • JR

      All I can say is bears fans make sure you make lots of noise on Sunday when your team has the ball, Atlanta tried to get the pack off their game but didnt work, Cutler will easily get shaken and throw to Tramon Williams. Bears should learn stadium etiquette.

    • Larry Horse's Arse

      I agree with WillKill and with Dan…just think he was over the top in how he put it (I couldn’t quite out my finger on it…but Meatless Meatball did….Dan-O asserts that the wine and brie crowd would be better behaved…which just strikes me as a personal projection)

    • Jay's Insulin Pump

      How did you not get that? Get a job, or go back to bed. Dumb and Arse-less is no way to go through life, my friend.

  • Larry Horse's Arse

    The classic at this sort of crowd control is Peyton Manning in Indy.
    They have played in domes (RCA and Lucas Oil) and yet when they are on Offense, he gets the crowd to be so quiet that you can hear him yell his signals on tv.
    But when the other team has the ball, LOUD.

  • Meatless Meatball

    I’m with you on the noise, Dan, as well as on the stupidity of loud, boorish, obnoxious Bears fans. However, this sentence kind of seemed a little class-warfare-y to me: ” I have observed a general correlation in all sports between cheaper tickets and louder fans, if not drunker and dumber.”

    I think that’s absolutely ridiculous. What this sentence essentially says is that richer people are less stupid and drink less than poor people. The truth is, ALL drunk people act stupid, especially en masse, and ESPECIALLY especially at a sporting event. I don’t know what exactly you’ve “observed,” but until you bring some hard data to back up that pretty bold statement, I’m going to chalk this up to your brain just having had a huge fart. Otherwise, unless you provide us with non-anecdotal data, that statement sounds pretty patently ignorant to me.

    • Beverly Brewmaster

      I liked the next sentence: “Those with the ability to afford insanely-expensive seats are often less inclined to bellow like walruses and/or pack the hip-flask that emboldens leather lungs while decreasing awareness and judgement.” The irony here is that just an hour ago I was talking with the managing partner of my firm (who makes at least seven figures a year) talking about how his flask got confiscated at the Eagles-Packers game a couple weeks ago.

    • Jay's Insulin Pump

      Great point, Meatball. In many cases, the people with less money but are still willing to blow it all on Bears tickets indicates they are REAL FANS. Thus they SHOULD know when to yell and when to shut up. That is just a thought, not claiming to have solved the riddle. Bernstein just chooses to generalize only due to a lack of a clear answer to his own questions.

  • ggarr

    This is getting just a little bit to analytical and technical. Asking fans to keep it down… yeah right. OK. And you know, when we go to the beach, we should all try to stay out of the water, right?
    Sounds more like a personal irritation that bothers you, explained in a pseudo-techy way.

    • Spoon

      Are you too stupid to get what he’s saying, or are you one of the idiot fans that yells while we’re on offense?

    • Mile Long Beard

      If “be quiet when your team has the ball” is too technical for you, you probably should give up on football.

      • Larry Horse's Arse

        By cracky!

    • Glockster

      It shouldn’t have to be analytical or technical. It should be common sense.

  • Section 332

    I couldn’t agree more. For a city that has the “greatest” football fans, we are pretty dumb as a group. Also, shame on the season ticket holders for selling their tickets to Green Bay fans. I hope they get rowdy, get kicked out, and you lose your season tickets for being a “great” Bears fan. My family have been STH for 52 years and we would never sell our tickets because we are true fans.

    • CharlesMartins P. O.

      I have found Bear fans to be just as obnoxious and annoying despite their social class or amount they have had to drink. They are just sub-standard intellectually, and that’s the reason their own team, especially their head coach, generally hates them.

  • Chris in Scottsdale

    Mully and Hanley brought up an interesting point this morning…

    If Green Bay wins this game, does the Super Bowl broadcast lose a huge chunk of the #3 market in terms of viewership?

    Do caterers and grocers take it in the shorts if the Packers beat the Bears, or does everyone still watch because it’s tradition?

    • Larry Horse's Arse

      Good question…I hope we don’t need to find out the answer.
      Yes, I do think there would be fewer local eyeballs with a GB SB, unless something about the AFC team was really compelling.

    • Mile Long Beard

      It’s a cultural event more than a game between two teams. Saints/Colts was the most watched broadcast ever with a 45.0 rating. The year before with Pittsburgh/Arizona it was a 42.0. I don’t think we’re talking about a HUGE swing between Chicago or GB being in. Chicago would bring higher ratings but not to the point that I think anyone would be hurting should Green Bay make it.

      • Larry Horse's Arse

        Good analysis MLB.
        I think that ratings would be down somewhat in Chicago but if Fox was lucky enough to get the NY Jets in the SB, they’d have huge numbers in NY.

        Otherwise, the SB is cultural with the commercials having more importance than the contest.

  • mike in davenport

    One thing may help – bring back Chicago Cheerleaders. I instinctively look at beautiful women. If they are waving flags that say “Quiet,” I’ll pay attention.

    • Larry Horse's Arse

      That will have to wait until Virginia shuffles off this mortal coil.

  • Larry Horse's Arse

    Slight change of topic.
    The Clippers are the worst-run franchise in the world, but they really lucked out in their pick of Blake Griffin.
    Anyone see highlights of what he did to the Indiana Whiteys last night???

  • Gaudi380

    What happened to the players on offense waving their arms to signal the crowd to quiet down?

    • Spoon

      They do, all the time, and no one pays attention to them.

  • Chris in Scottsdale

    One more-

    A caller to the station talked about how he hates Facebook, Twitter, how Aaron Rogers and Jay Cutler are friends, that the players should hate eachother… Forrest Gregg/Mike Ditka, etc…

    Mully & Hanley proceeded to call the guy “Old School”.

    I would think “No School” would be more appropriate.

  • RickingBall

    Definitely the wine and cheese crowd can be just as offensive. Especially the ones that drive their Escalades from Deerfield

  • Ry

    How dare Bernstein write an article like this in the middle of Meatball Week!

    Did the ’85 Bears need the ability to hear in order to win the Super Bowl? Hell no they didn’t!!! That was back when the players played with pride and passion, and not just for a paycheck!!!! Ditka, Payton, and Mongo woulda gladly cottonballed their ears and they still would’ve beat up any team they faced. That’s just da way it is! These sissies today with their “microphones” and “playbooks” don’t hold a candle to the warriors of the frozen tundra from past generations.

    • AT3374


    • Chris in Scottsdale


      • Larry Horse's Arse


        Bernsie tries, but he’s a ground-turkey 1/2 meatball at best.

    • Glockster

      Who wanted to listen to McMahon anyway?

  • Denver Smeghead

    While I agree with Dan’s sentiment, it’s just not likely to happen. And by no means is this merely an affliction with Bears fans, or, as Dan was stupid enough to try and claim, the “cheaper” and “drunker and dumber”. Fans are there to be part of the atmosphere, and that means making noise whether it’s wanted or not.

    FWIW, I have season tickets to one team, at the second most expensive level of ticket, and I’m the loudest SOB in my section. Drunk? Never. Dumb? Whatever.

    • Jay's Insulin Pump

      Next time I call, I’m asking for someone else. No hard feelings.

    • Jay's Insulin Pump

      OK, let’s put this in a situation you can understand. You’re at work on the phone with one of your “customers”. You’re telling him what you’re wearing and all the dirty little things you’re going to do to his man stuff or whatever it is you people do. He is about to explode in delight, but right before, one of your co-workers yells something like “DUDE, HAD A GREAT TIME LAST NIGHT BULLYING LITTLE KIDS AND TOUCHING GUYS INAPPROPRIATELY. WE SHOULD TOTALLY BURN DOWN AN OLD FOLKS HOME LATER. DERRR DER DER DER.” The guy on the phone is all upset and you lose a repeat customer. Not your fault but it is your problem.

      Get it now?

      • Denver Smeghead

        We really didn’t need that insight into your personal life.

    • Mile Long Beard

      “Fans are there to be part of the atmosphere, and that means making noise whether it’s wanted or not.”

      Then they’re not really fans. I hate the hell out of debating what a “true fan” is. But being an active hindrance to the team means that you don’t care about the team’s success. And that = not a fan.

      • Denver Smeghead

        “Then they’re not really fans. I hate the hell out of debating what a “true fan” is.”

        Nice bit of hypocrisy there. “You’re not a fan, but I really shouldn’t tell you you’re not a fan. But I’ll do it anyways.”


        Sorry, but it doesn’t need to be said: most people who go to games do not do so to sit there with their thumbs shoved up their backside. Those that do are yuppies; you know, the kind of people that Cubs-nation is always accused of being filled with.

        People are going to make noise. Get over it.

    • Jay's Insulin Pump

      Your double hypocrisy is less amusing and more shameful. You’re the one saying you’re a fan and follow that up by saying you yell when you want.

      “But being an active hindrance to the team means that you don’t care about the team’s success.” – TRUTH

      Then you call MLB a hypocrite for calling you out on your hypocrisy.


      • Denver Smeghead

        You guys are so full of it, I bet I could squeeze your heads and it would come pouring out your ears.

        If you think whether fans make noise or not in this game is going to decide the outcome of this game, then by all means go become a Seahawks fan, join their “12th Man” and enjoy the losing record this year.

        Bernsie was right: it IS meatball week, and he’s willingly jumped into the fray.

    • Jay's Insulin Pump

      No one said it was “going to decide the outcome of this game” but there are plenty of things that could happen as a result of hindered communication during the limited time given to an offense to run a play. Possibilities:

      1. Delay of game/5-yard penalty
      2. Blown blocking assignment
      3. Wasted timeout
      4. Wrong play called

      Do you want to be responsible for any of these in your team’s championship game? Well do you? YOU DO?

      It is common knowledge that you shut up when your team is on offense. The fact that you’re the only one arguing against this notion should tell you that you’re wrong. If it doesn’t, let me take the opportunity.


      • Denver Smeghead

        “Do you want to be responsible for any of these in your team’s championship game?”

        I didn’t realize that the fans are the ones on the field. I’m glad you have corrected everybody on that.

        “YOU’RE WRONG”

        You can post under your own name, Bernsie. No need to hide.

  • Chris in Scottsdale

    Anyone waiting for the inevitable story that will come about the moron that missed a mortgage payment and got foreclosed because he bought tickets on the secondary narket for two grand a pop?

    • Larry Horse's Arse

      Because that guy HAD to be there.

  • BEARS 1

    HE’S right we all have to keep it down when the offense is out there. But when our defense is out there lets get loud, so greenbay will have the problem calling here plays! GO BEARS !!!!!

    • Larry Horse's Arse

      I agree, but I think Cutler will be “herding cats”.
      Best at quieting the home crowd is Peytn Manning.
      In the old days, Dan Marino was also great at getting home cooperation.

      • Denver Smeghead

        Marino never won a Super Bowl. Peyton Manning only has one.

        Which just goes to show how ‘valuable’ a quiet crowd for the home team is when on offense.

  • Larry Horse's Arse

    When Plaxico gets out of the can, the Ravens say they will give him a shot.

    • Jay's Insulin Pump

      Sounds like they’re a little quick on the draw.


  • brett

    Shouldn’t the defense practice in those conditions as they will need to adjust coverages based on formation ??

    Is the practice squad big enough to show 11 players on an offense to give the defense an accurate look during the week of practice, if not, wouldn’t that necessitate the entire team practicing together ??

    The offense could have trouble acclimating to cold weather, but it certainly didn’t look like they struggled this past weekend in the cold… why the sudden concern.

    I agree the meatballs need to learn to shut up when the Bears are on offense, but insisting the coaches made a mistake by having the defense practice inside doesn’t seem to hold much logic in my eyes…

    love your show and love your suit


    As someone who worked 4 years as an Usher at Soldier Field for Bears’ home games, I know what Bernsy is referring in regards to a sign urging “Quiet” on the JumboTrons at both ends of Soldier Field. I’m not so sure that’s going to work, especially if Bear fans feel something really, really good is about to happen on the field and in the Red Zone. I know that Tom Thayer, the Bears’ Radio analyst up the dial on WBBM Newsradio 780, encourages that “4th Phase” to make some noise. Here’s hoping Bear fans have a lot to cheer about, and that goes for all the celebrities that I think will be in attendance for a game too important to miss.

  • Ground Gay

    Honestly, a Bartman reference? If it weren’t for Meatball Week, I’d be worried that Bernsie was turning into Mariotti.

  • jim

    Does not matter much da bears are in for a severe whooping!

    • AT3374

      Bears 46

      Packers 10

      Ditka…sausages …Ditka

  • Denver Smeghead

    Catching up on yesterday’s show, and I can only scratch my head.

    Bernstein openly refers to this as “go ahead and be a meatball week”. Yet, somebody calls in to talk about how bad the Falcons fans were for leaving, and the caller instantly gets a response of “Why do you care?”

    FFS, B&B, make up your mind. Is the week for meatballs and all the worthless things they care about or not?

  • Mongo's Champagne Room

    Part of the problem is that the Bears announcer gets the crowd pumped up for first downs, 3rd and shorts, etc., and all the morons start screaming.

    On Sunday, when the Bears had 4th and 1 near the goal line it was shockingly loud. I don’t miss many games and have to say that its an epidemic…

    • Denver Smeghead

      “Part of the problem is that the Bears announcer gets the crowd pumped up”

      And the exact same thing happens with the PA at the team I have season tickets for. Management cares far more about the atmosphere and the fans having a good team and getting into the game than whether or not it affects the team on the field.

      It’s SPORTS, not a dance recital.

      So if Bernsie wants to have a fit about this, maybe he should take it up with the Bears themselves? And then he can tell us how wrong everybody is and he’s right, regardless of what the Bears say.

      And why in the bloody blue blazes was the same stupid garbage being defended AGAIN yesterday by Zaidman regarding the Bears trying to trade Olsen? Cripes, I thought I had downloaded a podcast from last September!

      Zaidman: you’re wrong, quit being an idiot.

      • Larr Horse

        You really think the offense has just as good a chance when they can’t hear a thing as when it’s somewhat quiet and they can communicate with one another?

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