The Terrible Towel flies at half-mast today. Myron Cope, the legendary Pittsburgh Steelers radio broadcaster, died in Pittsburgh Wednesday. He was 74.
Cope was the voice of the Steeler Nation — through five Super Bowl championships beginning in the early 1970s. He helped raise millions of dollars for charities through licensing and other promotions involving the Terrible Towel. And he did more to create community pride than any economic development organization ever could.
I really haven’t lived in Pittsburgh for 40 years. I visit my parents and my brothers and their families occassionally. But I’ve maintained a fond link to the Steel City mostly by way of the Steelers. I can’t name more than five players on the team these days. But I remember going with my friend and Kent State roommate, Tom Kollar, to the last pro football game at Pitt Stadium (1969), the first at Three Rivers Stadium (1970) and many more in the years following. I remember the Immaculate Reception. And I remember many pre-game visits to the Shamrock Inn on Pittsburgh’s North Side.
I also still have the original Terrible Towel. I used to bring it out for playoff games. But it gave the Steelers too much of an advantage. So in fairness to the people who really care about professional football these days I quit doing that. I’ll bring it out of the closet this weekend; I don’t think it will have any effect on the presidential primary in Ohio. But if it does, well…
So Myron Cope — thank you for all the great memories. And if there is a press box in heaven (or even in Northeast Idaho which is pretty close to heaven) I’m sure you’ll be sitting there today next to Bob Prince. The voice of the Pittsburgh Pirates — and the voice of the Pittsburgh Steelers. Couldn’t get much better than that.