The Terrible Towel comes out at every game, and is found
in every home of a diehard Pittsburgh Steelers fan.
The Terrible Towel has become the good luck "towel" of
the Pittsburgh black and gold football team.
Invented during the 1975 playoffs by colorful Pittsburgh sportscaster Myron Cope, the Terrible Towel soon brought good luck to the Steeler players and franchise. Appearing on the 11 o'clock news, Cope implored Steeler fans to bring their yellow dish towels to the stadium as a way of giving encouragement to the team. That Sunday, 30,000 fans showed up with yellow towels in hand, twirling and waving the towels to a Steeler victory over the Baltimore Colts 28 - 10. In that game, wide receiver Frank Lewis wiped his hands on a Terrible Towel, then made an unbelievable one-handed catch. In the same game, linebacker Andy Russell returned a fumble 93 yards for a touchdown which gave rise in the morning papers to this poem: He ran ninety-three Like a bat out of hell, And no one could see How he rambled so well. "It was easy," said Andy, And he flashed a cooked smile, "I was snapped on the fanny By the Terrible Towel!" There was no looking back now, The Terrible Towel had been born. The Steelers soon had yellow towels printed with the phrase "Myron Cope's Terrible Towel" just in time for Super Bowl X, where the Steelers faced the Dallas Cowboys. With the help of the Terrible Towel, the Steelers became the first ever NFL team to win back to back Super Bowls defeating Dallas 21 - 17. Since the introduction of The Terrible Towel, the Steelers have won 279 regular season games, 20 playoff games and have appeared in 5 Super Bowls. "Is not an instrument of witchcraft…It is not a hex upon the enemy. The Towel is a positive force that lifts the Steelers to magnificent heights – and poses mysterious difficulties for the Steelers’ opponents only if need be. Many have told me that The Terrible Towel brought them good fortune, but I can’t guarantee that sort of thing because the Steelers, after all, are The Terrible Towel's primary concern. Still, at the least, the symbol of The Terrible Towel will serve as a memento of your having been part of the Steelers’ Dynasty and if it causes good things to happen to you, so much the better." ~ Myron Cope ~ Due to its popularity, the Terrible Towel has been printed in various forms over the years. A new black Terrible Towel was created, as well as Terrible golfTowels, Terrible beachTowels and Terrible Towels featuring the Steelers logo. Also, a special edition Terrible Towel was created in 2004, following Myron Cope's retirement. There is even a Terrible Towel enshrined in the Pro Football hall of Fame. There is no doubt the Terrible Towel has helped the Steelers be a winning football team and has helped the Steeler fans to feel they are a big part of each and every victory. But before the advent of The Terrible Towel to Pittsburgh sports, in 1966 Pittsburgh Pirates announcer, Bob Prince came up the idea for the Green Weenie. The Green Weenie was a rubber, then plastic rattle in the shape of a frankfurter which when waved at opposing players supposedly put a jinx on them, and when waved at Pirate players gave them good luck. That year, Roberto Clemente won the MVP award, Matty Alou led the league in batting average, Bill Mazeroski led the league in double plays, Willie Stargell had his best year to date in batting, all in all the Pirates scored 759 runs and had a team batting average of .279. In 1972 when the Pirates moved to Three Rivers Stadium, Prince came up with Babushka Power, where the ladies would wave their Babushkas which would have the same effect as the Green Weenie, and which perhaps gave Cope the idea for The Terrible Towel. The Green Weenie was resurrected several times during later years, but didn't seem to have the same power it had in 1966. Now, as you watch football games across the country, both professional and college you will see many fans have borrowed the idea and have their own version of The Terrible Towel with fans waving towels with their favorite team's colors on them. But, no matter what color towels they have, there is and will continue to remain only one great, Terrible Towel. Dave Cole Copyright ©