History of the Terrible Towel

Discover the history of The Terrible Towel of the Pittsburgh Steelers which began with Myron Cope and lives on today.

The History of the Luckiest Towel in Sports

The Terrible Towel was created by the late Myron Cope, the Pittsburgh Steelers broadcaster who needed a way to excite the team's fans during a 1975 playoff football game against the Baltimore Colts. Cope urged fans to take yellow dish towels to the game and wave them throughout. The stands were filled that day and the Steelers always seemed to complete terrific plays when the towels were waving. The Steelers won, 28-10. The team moved on in the playoffs and for Super Bowl X in January 1976, the Steelers introduced gold towels with the words "Myron Cope's Terrible Towel" printed in black. The Steelers went on to beat the Dallas Cowboys, 21-17, many claiming, "thanks to the Towel."

In 1996 Mr. Cope gave the rights to "Myron Cope's Official Terrible Towel" to the Allegheny Valley School in the Pittsburgh suburb of Coraopolis. The school provides care for more than 900 children, adults and senior citizens with mental retardation and physical disabilities. Proceeds from the Terrible Towel have helped raise almost $1.1 million for the school. On Jan. 15, 2005, during the Steelers playoff run at Acrisure Stadium, VisitPittsburgh sponsored the "World's Largest Terrible Towel Wave," reaching millions of Steelers fans around the world, known amongst themselves as "Steelers Nation." The team came back from what appeared to be a sure loss against the New York Jets, winning the game in overtime, 20-17. It appeared that the Towel had done it again.

The Steelers went on to host another home game the following week, Jan. 23, 2005, vs. the Patriots. Another massive Terrible Towel Wave was organized but this time the Steelers lost, 41-27. The victors that day went on to win Super Bowl XXXIX in Jacksonville. But the Steelers didn't give up on the Terrible Towel. On Halloween, Oct. 31, 2005, a special Terrible Towel was created to honor the retired Cope for his 35 years as a Steelers broadcaster and was waved prior to the Monday Night Football game between the Steelers and the Baltimore Ravens at Heinz Field (now named Acrisure Stadium). A limited edition of 35,000 were made, all with familiar "Cope-isms" like "Yoi!" By the way, that night, the Steelers won, 20-19.

For Super Bowl XL, played on Feb. 5, 2006 in Detroit, a special edition Terrible Towel was created for fans around Steelers Nation to help the team to victory. It worked! The Steelers beat the Seattle Seahawks, 21-10. Sadly, Myron passed away on Feb. 27, 2008 but his legend lives on. For Super Bowl XLIII, Feb. 1, 2009 in Tampa, another towel was produced to mark the occasion. The outcome? Steelers over Arizona, 27-23, to give them an unprecedented six Super Bowl Championships.

On Sunday, Jan. 23, 2011, the Steelers not only beat the New York Jets in the AFC Championship to advance to their third Super Bowl in six years, the game was played on what would have been Myron's 82nd birthday. Somehow that just seems so right. Those who knew and loved Myron, friends and fans alike, know he’s somewhere smiling and cheering, "Here We Go Steelers, Here We Go!"

The Terrible Towels will be out in force Christmas weekend 2022. The Immaculate Reception, the greatest play in NFL history, fittingly celebrates its (black and) golden 50th anniversary with festivities reuniting Steelers legends from that era during a rematch against the Raiders at Acisure Stadium on Dec. 24, 2022.