When was the Terrible Towel Invented

The Terrible Towel was invented in 1975 and has since become an iconic symbol for Pittsburgh Steelers fans. With its bright gold color and black lettering, the Terrible Towel is waved proudly by fans at every home game, as well as at away games and even other sporting events.

The Towel was created by Myron Cope, who was a broadcaster for the Steelers and wanted to create a unique way for fans to show their support for the team. Cope’s idea caught on quickly and the Terrible Towel has become one of the most recognized symbols in all of sports.

Its popularity has even led to different versions, including pink ones for breast cancer awareness and camo ones for military appreciation. Whether it’s waving in the air at Heinz Field or being twirled in the stands, the Terrible Towel continues to unite Steelers fans and rally the team to victory.

A Brief History Of The Pittsburgh Steelers

The Terrible Towel, a beloved symbol of the Pittsburgh Steelers, was invented in 1975 by Myron Cope as a way to rally and support the team during games.

Since their inception, the Pittsburgh Steelers have carved a remarkable legacy in American football, with a rich history spanning decades. From their founding to notable successes and setbacks, as well as the rise of their iconic defense known as the Steel Curtain, each chapter contributed to shaping the allure and identity of this storied franchise.

Founding Of The Team:

  • In 1933, Art Rooney, a skilled entrepreneur, established the Pittsburgh Steelers as an inaugural member of the National Football League (NFL).
  • Originally named the Pittsburgh Pirates, the team was later renamed the Steelers in 1940, paying homage to the city’s proud steel industry heritage.
  • The Rooney family’s commitment and dedication have ensured the Steelers have remained under their ownership, fostering a strong sense of tradition and continuity.

Early Successes And Setbacks:

  • Following their formation, the Steelers experienced a mixed bag of triumphs and disappointments. This included three consecutive postseason berths from 1947 to 1949, demonstrating early signs of promise.
  • However, a period of struggles followed, lasting nearly four decades. The team faced formidable challenges, enduring multiple losing seasons, coaching changes, and financial difficulties.
  • Despite the setbacks, the Steelers were determined to turn their fortunes around, setting them on a path to becoming one of the most successful franchises in NFL history.

The Rise Of The Steel Curtain Defense:

  • The 1970s witnessed a monumental transformation for the Pittsburgh Steelers, particularly on the defensive side of the ball. Known as the Steel Curtain, their impenetrable defense became legendary.
  • Led by esteemed coach Chuck Noll, the Steel Curtain was anchored by a formidable defensive line featuring players like “Mean” Joe Greene, L.C. Greenwood, Dwight White, and Ernie Holmes.
  • From 1974 to 1979, the Steelers won an unprecedented four Super Bowl titles. The Steel Curtain defense played a vital role in this success, garnering respect and admiration across the league.

Embracing a legacy forged by innumerable memories, the Pittsburgh Steelers continue to captivate football fans with their rich history. From their humble beginnings to their rise to dominance, the Steelers’ story is etched in the annals of NFL lore, forever defining a franchise built on tradition, perseverance, and a relentless pursuit of excellence.

The Birth Of The Terrible Towel

The Terrible Towel was invented in 1975 and quickly became a symbol of Pittsburgh Steelers’ fans’ loyalty and support. Its creation by Myron Cope, a local Pittsburgh sportscaster, sparked a lasting tradition that continues to unite fans today.

Ever wondered when the iconic Terrible Towel came into existence? Let’s dive into the history of this beloved sports symbol and discover its origins. From the inspiration behind its creation to its early adoption by Steelers fans, we’ll uncover the story behind the Terrible Towel phenomenon.

The Inspiration Behind The Towel:

  • Myron Cope, a renowned Pittsburgh sportscaster, came up with the idea for the Terrible Towel.
  • Cope wanted to find a way to generate excitement and rally support for the Pittsburgh Steelers during their playoff run in 1975.
  • Inspired by colorful rally towels used by fans at previous sporting events, Cope aimed to create a unique, team-specific symbol that fans could wave proudly during games.
  • The towel would not only serve as a symbol of unity and support but also as a distraction for opposing teams.

Creation By Myron Cope In 1975:

  • Myron Cope worked closely with a local Pittsburgh company to produce the very first Terrible Towels.
  • The original design featured gold-colored towels with the words “The Terrible Towel” embroidered on them, representing the team’s colors.
  • After the initial success of the towels, Cope officially trademarked the Terrible Towel and partnered with the Allegheny Valley School, a nonprofit organization serving individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
  • The proceeds from the Terrible Towel sales have been donated to the Allegheny Valley School ever since, making it a powerful symbol of community and philanthropy.

Early Adoption By Steelers Fans:

  • Following the creation of the Terrible Towel, Steelers fans quickly embraced it as a symbol of their undying support for the team.
  • The towel became a common sight during home games at Three Rivers Stadium, with fans waving it proudly and creating a sea of swirling yellow in the stands.
  • The tradition of waving the Terrible Towel grew even stronger during pivotal moments in games, encouraging players on the field and intimidating opponents.
  • As the Steelers continued to excel on the field, the Terrible Towel became increasingly associated with the team’s success, further fueling its popularity among Steelers Nation.

The birth of the Terrible Towel marks a significant milestone in the history of fan culture and team loyalty. From its humble beginnings in 1975 to becoming a symbol of unity, support, and philanthropy, the Terrible Towel represents the unwavering spirit of Steelers fans and their passion for their team.

So, the next time you see a wave of yellow in the stands, remember the story behind the iconic Terrible Towel.

The Impact Of The Terrible Towel

The Terrible Towel, an iconic symbol of Pittsburgh Steelers fandom, was invented in 1975 by broadcaster Myron Cope. Its impact has been profound, uniting fans in their support for the team and generating millions in charitable donations.

The Terrible Towel, a symbol of Pittsburgh Steelers’ pride and unity, has had a profound impact on both the team and its fanbase. This iconic yellow towel, invented by a die-hard Steelers fan named Myron Cope, represents more than just a piece of cloth waved by enthusiastic fans during games.

Let’s explore the various ways in which the Terrible Towel has made its mark in the football world and beyond.

Symbolism For The Team And Its Fanbase

  • Uniting the fanbase: The Terrible Towel serves as a powerful symbol that brings Steelers fans together, fostering a sense of camaraderie and shared passion for the team.
  • Instant recognition: Waving the Terrible Towel has become synonymous with Steelers fandom, instantly identifying supporters of the team both in and out of the stadium.
  • Spirit and pride: The towel embodies the spirit and pride of the Steelers and their fans, serving as a visible representation of their unwavering support.

Raising Awareness And Funds For Charitable Causes

  • Philanthropic impact: The Terrible Towel has been instrumental in the team’s efforts to raise awareness and funds for charitable causes. The Steelers organization has used the towel as a tool to support various initiatives over the years.
  • Towel-waving moments: During crucial moments in games, fans raise their Terrible Towels in unison, creating a captivating visual spectacle that amplifies the team’s mission to make a positive impact off the field.
  • Community outreach: The Terrible Towel has extended its reach beyond football games, becoming a symbol of support and hope for the Pittsburgh community. Its presence at charitable events and fundraisers is a testament to its significance in giving back to those in need.

The Towel’S Presence In Stadiums And Beyond

  • Stadium tradition: The sight of thousands of Terrible Towels waving in unison at Heinz Field is a sight to behold. This beloved tradition not only energizes the team but also electrifies the atmosphere, creating an unforgettable game-day experience.
  • Worldwide phenomenon: The Terrible Towel has transcended boundaries and reached fans across the globe. Its popularity extends well beyond the city of Pittsburgh, with supporters proudly waving their towels in living rooms, sports bars, and stadiums worldwide.
  • Pop culture icon: The Terrible Towel has made appearances in movies, TV shows, and commercials, cementing its status as a pop culture icon. This widespread recognition has further solidified its impact and representation of Steelers’ fandom.

The Terrible Towel’s impact reaches far beyond the football field. It symbolizes unity, spirit, and philanthropy for the Steelers organization and its devoted fanbase. Through its presence at games, charitable events, and its global recognition, the Terrible Towel continues to inspire and unite fans worldwide.

Controversies And Challenges

The invention of the Terrible Towel has sparked controversies and faced challenges throughout its history. However, the exact date of its creation remains a topic of debate.

The Terrible Towel is not only a symbol of unity and pride for Pittsburgh Steelers fans, but it has also faced its fair share of controversies and challenges over the years. From attempts to replicate or replace the iconic towel to unauthorized use and copyright issues, the Terrible Towel has overcome various obstacles to maintain its status as a revered sports accessory.

Additionally, in the digital age, the towel faces new challenges, including competition from digital replicas and copyright infringement in online platforms. Let’s explore these controversies and challenges further.

Attempts To Replicate Or Replace The Terrible Towel:

  • Several sports teams have tried to replicate the success of the Terrible Towel by introducing their own versions, but none have achieved the same level of popularity and significance.
  • The Terrible Towel’s distinctive design and connection to the Pittsburgh Steelers franchise make it difficult for imitations to capture the same emotional attachment and fan loyalty.
  • Any attempts to replace the original Terrible Towel are met with resistance from devoted Steelers fans, who view the towel as an irreplaceable symbol of their team’s legacy.

Unauthorized Use And Copyright Issues:

  • Over the years, the Terrible Towel has faced issues with unauthorized use and copyright infringement. Individuals and organizations have reproduced and sold counterfeit towels without permission.
  • The Pittsburgh Steelers organization actively guards against such unauthorized use, taking legal action to protect the integrity and exclusivity of the Terrible Towel.
  • Despite these challenges, the Steelers continue to assert their copyright ownership and work to ensure that only authentic Terrible Towels are sold.

Challenges Faced By The Terrible Towel In The Digital Age:

  • In the digital age, the Terrible Towel faces new challenges brought about by advanced technology and widespread internet usage.
  • Digital replicas of the Terrible Towel can be easily created and disseminated, diluting the original’s uniqueness and commercial value.
  • The accessibility of online platforms increases the risk of unauthorized use and copyright infringement, as the towel’s image can be easily replicated and shared without permission.

The Terrible Towel has overcome numerous controversies and challenges throughout its existence. Despite attempts to replicate or replace it, the towel’s distinct connection to the Pittsburgh Steelers franchise and its loyal fanbase have kept it unrivaled. Unauthorized use and copyright issues have also been addressed assertively by the Steelers organization.

However, in the digital age, the towel faces new challenges due to digital replicas and copyright infringement online. Nonetheless, the iconic Terrible Towel continues to unite and inspire Steelers fans, and its significance remains unparalleled in the world of sports accessories.


The Terrible Towel’S Legacy

The Terrible Towel, a legendary symbol in Pittsburgh sports, was invented in the 1970s by radio broadcaster Myron Cope.

The Terrible Towel has become an iconic symbol that resonates with Pittsburgh Steelers fans worldwide. Its enduring popularity can be attributed to its cultural significance and recognition, as well as its influence on other fan traditions in sports.

The Towel’S Enduring Popularity Among Steelers Fans:

  • The Terrible Towel was first introduced in 1975 by the late Steelers radio broadcaster, Myron Cope. Since then, it has gained a loyal following among Steelers fans and has become an essential part of game day rituals.
  • Steelers fans wave their Terrible Towels proudly at games, creating a sea of black and gold in the stands. This collective display of support has helped create a sense of unity and pride among the fan base.
  • The towel’s popularity extends beyond the football field. It has become a symbol of Pittsburgh and is often seen waved at various local events and even around the world by die-hard Steelers fans.
  • Steelers fans have embraced the Terrible Towel as a way to demonstrate their unwavering support for the team. It has become a symbol of passion and loyalty, connecting fans to each other and to the Steelers organization.

Cultural Significance And Recognition:

  • The Terrible Towel has transcended the world of sports, becoming a recognized symbol of Pittsburgh’s blue-collar roots and the city’s resilience.
  • In 1996, the Terrible Towel was featured in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. This recognition solidified its place in football history and highlighted its cultural significance.
  • The towel has been embraced by celebrities, politicians, and even astronauts, who have taken it into space aboard the Space Shuttle Discovery. Its widespread recognition has further cemented its status as an iconic symbol of the Steelers and the city of Pittsburgh.

Influence On Other Fan Traditions In Sports:

  • The waving of towels by fans has become a common sight in various sports leagues, thanks to the influence of the Terrible Towel. It has inspired other teams and their fans to create their own versions of rally towels to rally their teams and show their support.
  • The impact of the Terrible Towel can be seen in the widespread use of similar fan traditions in sports such as basketball, hockey, and baseball. The towel-waving phenomenon has become a symbol of fan engagement and unity across different sports.

The Terrible Towel’s legacy is undeniable. It has achieved enduring popularity among Steelers fans, gained cultural significance and recognition, and influenced fan traditions in various sports. The towel’s impact goes beyond football, symbolizing unity, passion, and loyalty both on and off the field.

When was the Terrible Towel Invented

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Frequently Asked Questions Of When Was The Terrible Towel Invented

When Was The Terrible Towel Invented?

The Terrible Towel was invented in 1975 by late Steelers broadcaster Myron Cope, who wanted to create a symbol of unity and support for the Pittsburgh Steelers. It quickly became a beloved tradition amongst Steelers fans and is still waved proudly at games today.


The invention of the Terrible Towel is a testament to the powerful connection that a sports team can have with its fan base. Created by Myron Cope in 1975, the towel quickly became an iconic symbol for Pittsburgh Steelers fans.

Its significance has only grown over the years, as fans continue to rally behind their team by waving the towel with pride. The Terrible Towel embodies the passion and unity that sports can inspire, transcending the boundaries of the game itself.

Its impact extends far beyond the football field, serving as a positive force in the Pittsburgh community and even raising funds for charitable causes. Whether you’re a Steelers fan or not, the Terrible Towel serves as a reminder of the unwavering dedication that fans can have for their beloved team.

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