There’s a thread that just went up this morning on the forums, talking about how many Terrible Towels the Steeler Nation has. It got me thinking about the power of this piece of cloth created by Myron Cope in 1975. I’m sure most of us know, but for those that don’t, the towel was created by Cope to help rally fan involvement in a playoff game against the Baltimore Colts that year. It caught on and now there is not a self respecting Steeler fan anywhere in the world that doesn’t have atleast one. Hell, most of us have 5, 10, or more. The trademark rights to the Terrible Towel were given to the Allegheny County School in 1996 by Cope. Since then all proceeds for “terrible” anything related to the towel (towels, mugs, earrings, hats, bags, etc. ) go directly to the school.
The power of the towel has proved itself time and time again over the decades. Three Rivers Stadium was filled with them every game and now of course Heinz Field is a see of yellow on Sunday afternoons. It’s not just a means to help rally the team, fans know there is something special about this unique creation. Doubters and naysayers will say it’s just a piece of cloth, nothing special, the same as any other “rally rag” a team could come up with. True believers know the towel carries with it the Myron Cope legacy, the one of a true Steeler fan, a great personality, and fellow who believed in community & charity as a way of life. The Terrible Towel over the years has been one to dry tears after a heartbreaking loss, to throw against the wall after a bad play, and to inspire the team to rise to the occasion when the Super Bowl is on the line.
Players believe in it, they wave them during introductions and on the sidelines during the game. The organization as a whole knows that the Terrible Towel is as much a part of Steeler history as the logo itself, and all the players & coaches that have worn the black n gold on game day. Opposing teams who disrespect the towel by stomping on it, wiping their feet with it, or spitting on it have felt the wrath by coming up on the losing end of many of game vs the Steelers. Disrespecting the towel is disrespecting a legacy that a city, a team, and it’s legions of fans all over the world stand by year in and year out.
The Towel has been seen literally all over the world, with a fan base like the Steeler Nation you can go anywhere and see a towel being displayed. A simple Google search for “terrible towel” will yield you image after image of fans displaying their loyalty to the black n gold.
Now in 2010, the Steelers find themselves in the thick of the playoffs. Heinz Field will be nothing short of amazing this coming Saturday afternoon, and the Towel will take center stage among the fans once again. Here We Go!
Photo’s courtesy of the Post Gazette , sportspheres.net , and