CHICAGO – His era spanned seven coaches, hundreds of players, along with the good and bad times of Chicago’s professional football team.
Now a familiar voice at Soldier Field has decided that the 2019 season will be his last behind the microphone.
Jim Riebandt will retire as the public address announcer for the team at the end of the year, with his last regular season game coming against the Chiefs on December 22nd. The Bears said they will honor him leading up to and during that Sunday night contest.
Riebandt has been the team’s full-time public address announcer since the 1982 season, stepping behind the mic for games at Soldier Field ever since. He also was on the PA for the 2002 season when the Bears played their home games at Memorial Stadium in Champaign.
“Being the public address announcer of the Chicago Bears since 1982 has been a great thrill for me,” said Riebandt in a statement released by the team. “The reaction of the fans to my urging to bring the noise on defense and chant a Bears first down is especially fun. Every game I have worked in my 38 seasons has been very exciting for me.”
A lawyer by trade, Riebandt filled in as the public address announcer for a few Bears games from 1979-1981 in a backup role. He has also been on the mic for DePaul men’s basketball games since 1977 for games at Alumni Hall, Rosemont Horizon-Allstate Arena, and Wintrust Arena.
“For most of the time that the Bears have been at Soldier Field, Jim has been there for Bears fans,” said Bears chairman George H. McCaskey on Riebandt in a statement released by the team. “He has expertly conveyed the excitement of the in-stadium experience with professionalism, and, of course, great pipes. Few others could take his signature statement – ‘There’s a timeout …’ – and deliver it with Jim’s style and timing. He’ll be missed both off and ‘… on the field.’”
It certainly will be different as a longtime voice will go away from Soldier Field at the end fo the season.