The data analysis is in and researchers say the Pittsburgh Steelers have experienced a statistical advantage in the 4th quarter of home games after the 1978 Styx hit son “Renegade” is played throughout Heinz Field.
Students from Pittsburgh’s Point Park University studied the song played to pump up the Steelers defense and the Terrible Towel-waving fans and found some interesting results over 54 home games from 2014-2021.
“The statistical tests we used are pretty simple and within reach of students in my Elementary Statistics courses, so it was natural to have our undergraduates assist in the collection and processing,” Matt Pascal, professor and chair of the Point Park Natural Sciences, Engineering, & Technology (NSET) department, said.
Can a song played during a TV timeout really affect the outcome of a game? Point Park students and staff say the proof is in the numbers when Styx lead singer Tommy Shaw and the boys launch into their power ballad.
Oh mama, I’m in fear for my life from the long arm of the law
Lawman has put an end to my runnin’, and I’m so far from my home
Oh mama, I can hear you a’cryin, you’re so scared and all alone
Hangman is comin’ down from the gallows, and I don’t have very long
Steelers fans go nuts with their towels. TJ Watt’s veins start popping. Cam Heyward starts wanting a piece of an overmatched center. Hammered Steelers fans start chugging $10 beers to help them cheer harder.
And then it happens, according to the researchers, AFTER “Renegade” plays:
- The Steelers maintained a lead in 33 games (61.1%) and came from behind to win or tie in six games (11.1%); they lost the lead in eight games (14.8%) and continued losing in seven games (13.0%).
- Opposing teams were seven times more likely to fumble on the very next play, or 7% of the time.
In other words, if you’re live betting the Steelers at home in the 4th quarter, you might want to throw a few bucks on “Fumble” the play AFTER “Renegade.”
The history of Heinz Field playing “Renegade” goes all the way back to 2002 when the Steelers were down 24-7 against the Browns and things were looking bad. The production team played the hit song and the Steelers made a stop, the offense responded with a touchdown and Pittsburgh went on to beat the Browns 36-33.
And the legend of Renegade was born. In fact, it was played twice during that game.
The rest is history.