The Pittsburgh Steelers' "Renegade": a Brief History

John StepnickCorrespondent INovember 20, 2008

I realized that when I mention "Renegade" in my game recaps, some people might not know exactly what I'm talking about. Here, in relatively brief form, is the lore surrounding the Styx song "Renegade" and the Steelers.

The magic began January 5, 2002 during a playoff game against Cleveland. The Browns held a 17-7 halftime lead. By the beginning of the second half they stretched it out to 24-7.

The Steelers were lagging. Their offense was stagnant, as their only points came on an Antwaan Randle El punt return for a touchdown. Their offense stalled again and was forced to punt. During the commercial break, the crew at JumboTron control made a choice that forever changed Pittsburgh history.

As the slow, melodic intro echoed out across the depressed fans, everyone felt the sense of failure. Even the music controller gave up. 45 seconds later, the atmosphere changed. The screams of the song gave fans a needed wake up call, and the stadium became alive with excitement.

The crowd was back in the game, and the team responded. Their defense stopped the Browns. Tommy Maddox followed by leading a 66-yard drive to pay dirt to cut the lead to 24-14.

Pittsburgh ousted Cleveland 22-9 in the fourth quarter. The final quarter was capped off by Chris Fuamatu-Ma'afala’s touchdown run and Randle El’s pass to Jerame Tuman for the two-point conversion.

The Steelers would go on to get screwed out of a win in Tennessee the next week. However, the lore of "Renegade" was stuck.

Now, during the third quarter of every Steelers home game, a video compilation of defensive plays are shown with the utter rocking of "Renegade" in the background.

In a recent addition to the tradition, in a game against Baltimore earlier this season, with “Renegade” being played in the background James Harrison sacked Joe Flacco on the first play of scrimmage. Harrison stripped the ball from Flacco resulting in a forced fumble. LaMarr Woodley gave the Steelers possession and returned the fumble for a touchdown.

The song works. Teams have yet to score this year on a drive after "Renegade" is played.

In the latest evolution, the version from the Chargers game, which I must say is the best "Renegade" compilation to date: