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**ch44
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Postby chiefhog44 » Sun Mar 09, 2008 12:57 pm

Great Article about Myron Cope and the Terrible Towel. Man, I wish we could get this going at home games...


Yes, Myron Cope really was universally described in the papers and over the air as the creator of the Terrible Towel, a little piece of yellow terry cloth he asked listeners to bring out to the stadium as the Steelers -- actually, in Cope-ese, they were called the "Still-ers" -- were about to begin a playoff run in 1975.

It all began when executives at the team's flagship radio station decided they wanted to do something out of the ordinary to get Steeler fans more involved on game day. A meeting was called, and among the initial suggestions thrown out was the stadium give-away of a black mask embossed with Hall of Fame head coach Chick Noll's inspirational motto that year, "whatever it takes."

Great idea, until they learned the masks were going to cost 50 cents each. Whatever it takes did not include a $25,000 expenditure the station was not willing to bankroll.

"Then someone says 'we need something that everybody already has,'" Cope recalled the last time I interviewed him in 2005. "One guy says 'how about a towel?' I say 'that's it. We'll ask them to bring a yellow or gold towel to the game.' Then I really hit on it. I'll say 'the terrible towel is poised to strike.' The boss sent out for champagne."

Still, on game day, Cope had some anxious moments. During pre-game warmups, he had focused his binoculars on the crowd, and he couldn't spot any towels. "But when the Steelers come out of the tunnel," he said, "all of a sudden, I see 30,000 terrible towels. Bee-u-ti-ful. They've been there ever since.'"

The towels, eventually an NFL-licensed product sold all over the region, have been waving for 33 years. In 1996, Cope donated the Terrible Towel trademark to the Allegheny School for adults with intellectual development disabilities, where he'd sent his own son for many years. That gesture eventually raised more than $2.2 million for an organization that runs programs for hundreds of children and adults in nine Pennsylvania counties.

The terrible towels have shown up in soldiers' duffel bags in Iraq, in hospital maternity wards next to newborns, in caskets at funerals, attached to cumber buns at weddings. Cincinnati wide receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh once used a towel to wipe off his shoes during a game, a very bad move that, as usual, resulted in a loss by a team Cope loved to call "the Bungles" every chance he got.
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