Bernstein: Shut Up About Your Brackets

By Dan Bernstein- Senior Columnist

(CBS) I know. Three of your Final Four teams are already out, your chances of winning blown up after two rounds. Or you have fourteen of the Sweet Sixteen. Great.

Can I just go in and get my coffee, and then walk back down the hall? Can I go, maybe, after you explain that you were sure some school was destined to win because your brother went there? I understand that you picked that upset. Congratulations. No, I did not remember that you almost won the pool last year. You have that “system” you use, right. I do not know when the updated points-standings will be posted by the copier. And yes, you hate Duke. You and everybody.

I’ll get the coffee later. I don’t think I want it anymore.

Every year around this time, some consulting firm or another releases its unscientific study that estimates the decline in American office productivity due to the attention paid to the NCAA Tournament. They attempt to quantify man-hours and dollars lost by businesses as employees track their teams, sneak peeks at games and linger in the break room.

What we need, really, is a study that can measure precisely how much of our lives are wasted listening to you talk about the current condition of your brackets. Time we will never get back, precious minutes shot to hell, our very existence lessened palpably by you saying things like, “I was going to take Missouri in that one, but I didn’t,” “I had them in the Elite Eight in my other pool,” or, “I need Syracuse to lose tonight.”

There are few conversations that switch the healthy human brain into standby mode faster than your descriptions of which games you have so far called correctly. Tales of your golf game, your miserable fantasy team and even your stupid dog all finish behind your brackets in making me want to get away from you as quickly as possible.

At least when I’m watching TV or listening to the radio I can change the channel or turn it off. No such luck this week when you’re standing in front of me outside the bathroom, and I’m forced to affect a polite expression of feigned interest while my mind drifts to the nearest safe harbor it can find.

Ideally, we could actually talk basketball. That’d be nice.

Perhaps there’s a kid on a team you’ve seen a few times who might be playing his way up the NBA draft board, and he has an interesting defensive matchup in the second round. I’d like to hear about that. Let’s discuss whether a given 2-3 zone is more vulnerable to high/low action or ball-reversal after a good skip pass. We can speculate which coach is leaving to go where, debate substitution patterns, compare cheerleading squads or make fun of the broadcasters.

And I’m happy to talk about the brackets – the real ones – the ones where the name of the winning team is advanced onto the next line after the buzzer. Either tonight after they come out, or any time as the festivities go on. Those matter.

Yours, however, do not.

Best of luck with the pretend tournament on your sheet, but leave the rest of us out of it. I can’t go weeks without coffee.

bernstein 90x130 Bernstein: Shut Up About Your Brackets
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. Read more of Bernstein’s columns here. Follow him on Twitter @dan_bernstein.
Listen to The Boers and Bernstein Show podcasts >>

More from Dan Bernstein
  • Filly

    Isn’t this material Public Domain by now?

    • joey two shoes

      ha, well put, I was surprised to read this since he rants on this every year… we get it.

  • John

    Bernstein Schtick: “Those things that you lowlifes enjoy? They are stupid. Enjoy your day feeling bad about yourself.”

    • Tony Stark

      I always find it funny how he and Terry both hate everything that the majority of fans enjoy. I often wonder if fans started enjoying the things they like, would they then hate the fans for doing so?

    • Ben Roberts

      You can’t take it personally, it’s what he does and sometimes it’s funny. He and Boers once spent ten minutes ridiculing me on air because I liked Bob Dylan. According to them I was a useless waste of life that should go back to my bong and die. It’s schtick, nothing more.

  • Peas

    lol, how ironic. This comes from a man who’s profession is killing minutes in peoples lives with meaningless selfish garbled monologues.

  • bp

    Writing about people talking about brackets is… kinda… worse. Isn’t it?

  • Larry Horse's Arse Horse's Arse

    Oh, the irony. Just give me my towel and get back down to the end of the bench, wannabernstein.

    • Larry Horse's Arse

      Oh, what about brackets in the T of B???

  • Bill T

    Boilerplate. “I hate what you like”. Change a few of the nouns and verbs. Add water. Stir.

    • Tony Stark

      Seriously, this is the same thing as last year, and the year before that, and the year before that…

    • Harry's Phlegm

      Bill T that is perfect. I laughed for 5 minutes straight.

  • Dan Bernstein

    You guys are all idiots. I’m better than you.




  • Aunt Terry

    Wasn’t last year’s headline “nobody cares,” this year is “shut up,” next year will be “I wish death on people with their brackets.” Hahaha…

  • Aunt Terry

    Great point by Bernstein, I think most hate bracket conversations in general

  • Deadspin talking points

    When did Jim Plascke start writing for CBS? Talk about mailing it in…

  • Lil' Bycracke

    Your STILL Gay Bern-Stein!

  • Kev Youkilis

    It guy by the coffee pot could be worse, he could be the guy want to talk about MLB two months before the start of the 162 game watching grass grow season begins just so he can show off he is able to fill his mind full of meaningless minutia

  • I'm Not Here To Argue, I'm Here To Abuse

    Red teams! Pick the red teams! The crazier the better! Wisco! Alabammy! NC State! (Your Reds may vary.) And please Tweet every nuanced step of thought process along the way!

  • been banned

    Ah the script and shtick has been set for the next weeks—Matty the producer, the interns, and Terry all will now have the shows marching orders—brackets bad, very bad, especially talk of them.

    Oh for the days 20 years ago when the SCORE wasnt trying to entertain and berate us, and just spoke of, and allowed others to, speak of Sports, including brackets. Now we get Dan’s cooking recipes and talk of how much hot sauce his son puts on a pretzel.

    Pity the poor caller who didnt get the shows script memo of the week, who starts talking about their brackets. Instant Caller of the Day candidate.

  • The Internet


  • been banned

    Bernsie be sure to get hold of Laurence Holmes–he’s doing Sports Sunday tonight on Ch5 and just said the twitter question of the night is “how do you pick bracket winners for your office pool”?…then the fans twit in and he and Adamele comment on the different approaches. Apparently Laurence has not been indoctrinated yet–maybe get to him if he’s sitting in for McNeil tomorrow or something or an upcoming transition. Lord knows we cant have him out there pushing bracket methods and also discussing them with others.

  • Jim Nantz' 4-week erection

    Regardless of whether or not Bernstein is being repetitive from previous years’ columns, at least he is still accurate. Who really wants to sit there and listen to someone else ramble about the 12-seed upset that they “nailed” or how they are thinking about tearing up their bracket on the second day?

    I will disagree with Dan on one point: I would take listening to bracket picks over the details of how great/awful someone’s fantasy team is. At least it’s slightly closer to reality.

  • mike in davenport

    I agree with the sentiment because I think taking college sports seriously is stupid, but this is pretty much the same blog as last year.

    Oh, well, it’s still better than Ten Foot Midget’s blog. I swear to god he has to get topic approval from Dan.

  • Kruk's Missing Ball

    I can’t turn the dial faster when you talk about your annoying kid or how you made some awful slop that people were forced to eat. It annoys me as well when people talk about their brackets, but I hate hypocrytes. You also have at least ten topics that you use every freaking year. Stop writing and give Baffoe your awful column.

  • The Husky Muskie

    This post is a joke. An old joke at that. Bernsie loves writing and saying the words “palpable” or “palpably”. He uses it as often as his other favorite phrase, when he gets serious and irritated with callers, demanding them to specify if they’re referring to “winning WITH x player” or “winning BECAUSE OF x player”. He makes sure it’s engrained in people’s heads that there’s a palpable difference between the two.

    It’s BECAUSE OF you, Dan, that I dislike Duke.

  • Dan's Hairline

    Dan…there is a reason you were the last one picked on the playground. You were “smarmy” then…”oh..who really wants to be an athlete..losers!” Your getting revenge little man…congrats!

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