As It Happens

This Bengals fan vowed to live on his roof until his team wins. 6 weeks later, he's still there

Cincinnati Bengals fan Jeff Lanham vowed to live on the roof of his restaurant until his football team won a game. But the Bengals are still stuck in a winless streak — so Lanham is now into his second month up there.

The Cincinnati Bengals keep losing, so Jeff Lanham keeps living on the roof of his restaurant

Jeff Lanham pledged to live on the roof of his restaurant until the Cincinnati Bengals win a game. He's weeks into his stunt and his team still hasn't won a game. (Submitted by Chrissy Lanham)
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The Cincinnati Bengals aren't having a good year. 

The NFL team hasn't won a regular season game yet. That's bad news for all Bengals fans. But it's especially bad news for Jeff Lanham. Because it means he can't go home. 

Six weeks ago, Lanham made a vow that he would live on the roof of his restaurant until the Bengals won.

As It Happens host Carol Off spoke to Lanham and his wife, Chrissy Lanham. Here is part of their conversation.

Jeff, I want to start the interview with you. How long have you been living on the roof of your bar?

Tonight will make the 44th night.

And how's that going for you?

Boring, very boring.

I mean, do you have anyone else to blame but yourself?

No. I don't want to blame anybody. But my wife played a little part of it.

Jeff Lanham says that, two months into his stunt, life is "very boring" on the roof. (Submitted by Chrissy Lanham)

Just before we ask your wife about the part she played, tell people why you're up on the roof.

I just made a comment one night in the bar of our restaurant.

We were watching a football game and my wife got the idea to, you know, Facebook message a couple of our friends and tell them what I said.

And then, she got the other idea to tell Channel 12 News live at the tailgate what I said. And here I am.

Chrissy, what did you tell the news?

So we ended up losing that night. So, the following Sunday, when we went down to the game against the Cardinals, Channel 12 came and I basically just told them that Jeff had made this pledge that, if we lost that day, he was going to stay on the roof of our restaurant until we won a game.

Did you think he was actually going to do it?

I mean, I thought he would do it. But I think both of us thought we were going to win the game that day because that was one of the teams that we were favoured to win against.

So, when we lost, it was kind of a shock. And then, of course, we didn't think that since then that we would not win a game this whole entire time either.

Jeff's partner, Chrissy Lanham, says it's getting a bit lonely without her husband home, but luckily their dog Cash is good company. (Submitted by Chrissy Lanham)

So Jeff, what are you doing up there? Are you pondering the meaning of life?

Nah ... I just hang out, watch Netflix, watch sports all day, if there's any game on, and basically nothing, really — just watching TV and hanging out, waiting for the next Sunday, so we get a chance to win.

But you're outdoors, right? The roof is not covered. You're exposed to the elements, are you not?

Yes. I mean, I'm in a tent.

It gets cold in here. I mean, just picture living in a 10' by 12' tent out in the middle of the open weather.

You're in the tent. Just describe what you've got there in the tent with you.

I have two heaters. I have like a camp organizer.

I took some milk crates from our restaurant and made an entertainment stand out of it. That's where I have the picture of my wife and I, and a Bengals' helmet and some decorations in there.

I have a flat screen TV. I started with a little one because I didn't think I was going to be here for all these weeks. And now, I have a big one.

Two coolers. One cooler that I keep like my food in, which, you know, like lunch meat, salsa, and then I have another cooler that has like my drinks and water, you know, soft drinks and beer. And I have a cot and a recliner.

Lanham used milk crates to build an entertainment unit in his tent to hold his supplies. (Submitted by Jeff Lanham)

Chrissy, what's it been like having your husband live on the roof for all these weeks?

It gets kind of lonely at home. Luckily, we have a dog. We have a golden doodle named Cash and he stays here with me at home and keeps me company. But, I mean, I go and visit him. But then, of course, I come home at night. I don't sleep there.

So, kind of different. Unfortunately, I'm starting to get used to it.

But Jeff, you're up there, you're watching TV, you're watching the games, I guess. Does anyone join you? 

Oh yeah. I mean, all day long, when the Bengals are playing, there's, you know, different friends stop and in and out.

Usually Wildman Walker, he'll come up and hang out with me. He's one of the guys that did this back in 1991 that made me say that comment.

Ickey Woods, a former player from the Cincinnati Bengals when they went to the Super Bowl, he came up here one time and watched a game with me.

You know, just people that come here to see if it's true.

What did Wildman Walker do?

Wildman Walker, in 1991, he worked for a radio station, WEBN, and the producer from WEBN, and another producer from a sister channel, I think, they had a bet between themselves at the beginning of the season. And whichever team, it was Denver and Cincinnati, whichever team lost, one of their radio guys from either station had to go and stay on a billboard until their team won the next game.

Well, Cincinnati ended up going 0 and 8 that year and he was up there for 61 days.

Lanham says he drew inspiration for his stunt from "Wildman" Walker — a Cincinnati radio personality who had to spend 61 days on a billboard after losing a similar bet. (Submitted by Chrissy Lanham)

Oh dear. Well, we can't top that. But there is a Canadian football fan, Chris Matthew, who has not worn pants in 18 years. He's been wearing shorts and he will wear them until his team the Winnipeg Blue Bombers win the Grey Cup. I mean, it could be worse, Chrissy, 18 years.

That's pretty bad.

What do you think of that, Jeff?

Wow. He definitely has everybody beat, I would say.

But now, is it possible, though, that the Bengals won't win at all. I hate to raise that as an issue. But, I mean, that's a possibility, right?

Yeah. I mean, it's definitely possible. I hope it doesn't happen.

And Chrissy, what are you planning for when Jeff finally comes down off the roof?

We were hoping it was going to happen yesterday because we originally had plans to go to Vegas this week. I don't know. We'll probably take a little trip somewhere just to celebrate.

If you can.

If we can.

Good luck to you. Good luck to the Bengals. It sounds like you guys need it.

Yeah, we definitely need it.


Written by Katie Geleff and John McGill. Interview produced by Katie Geleff. Q&A has been edited for length and clarity. 

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