It’s hard to remember now, but Pittsburgh Steelers fans were not very happy with Justin Bieber. That’s because on that Sunday the Steelers were defeated, 20-13, by a Jets team that had lost eight games in a row. And, coincidentally or not so coincidentally, the pop singing sensation stopped by to visit on Saturday night for the team’s chapel service. Although rational minds might say that a Bieber cameo the night before a professional football game doesn’t really have anything to do with the outcome of said game, don’t tell that to the many diehards tweeting #BlameBieber, “Curse of Bieber,” and other such sentiments. (After all, when have sports fans ever been accused of being rational?)
The outcry against Bieber was loud enough that Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was forced to weigh in on the controversy, telling a Pittsburgh radio station that Bieber showing up Saturday night was “not a big deal at all” after former Steelers great Terry Bradshaw said he “wouldn’t have had him there.” And for that reason alone, we decided the Bieber debate was worth looking into a little further. After all, Bieber also attended the Cavaliers’ home opener last month, when LeBron James, Kevin Love, and Kyrie Irving lost their first game at Quicken Loans Arena as a “Big Three.”
Is there any truth to the so-called “Justin Bieber curse”? Bieber is obviously a huge sports fan and turns up on a semi-regular basis at professional sporting events around the continent. Does that have serious ramifications for the home team? Should sports franchises ban Bieber? The serious answer, obviously, is no — of course not. But with tongue firmly planted in cheek, we feel it’s time to examine the facts of the issue. What effect does Justin Bieber’s presence have on the team hosting him?
Putting our “investigative journalist” hats on, we dove into several different photo wire service archives to try and gather a woefully incomplete list of pro sports events in North America that Bieber has definitively attended over the past several years. Again, while we’re nearly positive Bieber has been to many more games than these, at least it gives us a sample size to test out the Bieber curse. Here, then, is a list of 15 sporting events Bieber was photographed at over the last five years (listed in chronological order), along with whether the home team won or lost.
- December 7, 2009: Blazers at Knicks – New York won, 93-84
- May 3, 2010: Royals at White Sox – Chicago won, 5-1
- October 26, 2010: Rockets at Lakers – Los Angeles won, 112-110
- January 21, 2011: Hornets at Hawks – Atlanta lost, 100-59
- February 2, 2011: Mavericks at Knicks – New York lost, 113-97
- February 20, 2011: East at West (NBA All-Star Game at Staples Center) – West won, 148-143
- June 7, 2011: Heat at Mavericks – Dallas won, 86-83
- December 28, 2011: Pacers at Raptors – Toronto lost, 90-85
- April 17, 2012: Spurs at Lakers – Los Angeles lost, 112-91
- December 7, 2012: Celtics at Clippers – Los Angeles won, 106-77
- May 28, 2013: Sharks at Kings (Game 7) – Los Angeles won, 2-1
- June 3, 2013: Pacers at Heat (Game 7) – Miami won, 99-76
- December 29, 2013: Hurricanes at Maple Leafs – Toronto won, 5-2
- May 11, 2014: Thunder at Clippers (Game 4) – Los Angeles won, 101-99
- October 30, 2014: Knicks at Cavaliers – Cleveland lost, 95-90
Shock of shocks, the home team actually won two-thirds of its games when Bieber was in attendance. Why are we talking about a Bieber curse? Teams should be clamoring to have Bieber courtside as often as possible. Just think: Even the 2014-2015 Lakers might win a few home games if Bieber showed up more often! Imagine what the Raiders would give to have Bieber roaming the sidelines every Sunday in Oakland?
Obviously, you might point out that Bieber wasn’t always cheering for the home team when he attended these events, and you may very well be correct. But with Bieber’s noted bandwagon tendencies, it would be nearly impossible for us to quantify which team he may or may not have been supporting on a given night.
Therefore, we declare the verdict to be official, final, and downright unappealable. There is no Justin Bieber curse. There never was. However — and this is an important disclaimer — if you wish Bieber would show up at less sporting events simply because you’re sick of him, you may very well have a case. So just be honest about it and quit blaming Bieber for ruining the Steelers. It’s not like Roethlisberger was going to throw six touchdown passes every game for the rest of his life.
Or was he? We’ll never know.