Travels of the Terrible Towel
In case you are wondering what the splashy yellow dish towel at the top of my sidebar is, let me elaborate. Anyone from Pittsburgh would recognize it in an instant, and maybe even fans of other football teams besides the Steelers would know it's Myron Cope's Terrible Towel.
First let me tell you about Myron Cope. Cope was an American sportscaster and journalist who is best known as “the voice of the Pittsburgh Steelers”. According to Wikipedia, “Cope was a color commentator for the Steelers’ radio broadcasts for 35 years. With his distinctive, nasally voice and an identifiable Pittsburgh accent...he celebrated a level of excitement rarely exhibited in the broadcast booth.”
He is much beloved by Pittsburghers, who mourned his death in 2008. In 1987, he was named by the Hearst Corporation as a noted literary achiever, along with Mark Twain, Jack London, Frederic Remington, Walter Winchell, and Sidney Sheldon. At its 50th Anniversary, Sports Illustrated selected Cope’s profile of Howard Cosell as one of the 50 best written works ever published in the magazine.
So what's with the Terrible Towel?
Before a playoff game in 1975, Myron was looking for something to excite the fans. In his own words:
“I said, what we need is something that everybody already has, so it doesn't cost a dime. So I says, ‘We'll urge people to bring out to the game gold or black towels,’ then I’ll tell people if you don't have a yellow, black or gold towel, buy one. And if you don't want to buy one, dye one. We'll call this the Terrible Towel.”
And so the Terrible Towel was born.
It became possibly the best-known fan symbol
of any major pro sports team.
In 1996, Cope gave the rights to The Terrible Towel to the Allegheny Valley School in Coraopolis, Pennsylvania. The school provides care for more than 900 people with mental retardation and physical disabilities, including Cope's autistic son. Proceeds from the Terrible Towel have helped raise $3 million for the school.
When the Steelers won the playoff game against the Jets on Sunday night, thus advancing to the Super Bowl, plenty of people give credit to the thousands of fans in the stadium waving their Terrible Towels.
And it didn't hurt that January 23, the day the game was played,
was Myron's birthday.
was Myron's birthday.
Alright, on to the travels of the Terrible Towel.
Steelers fans are everywhere.
See you in Dallas!