44 years ago, the iconic Terrible Towel was invented

PITTSBURGH, PA - JANUARY 23: Pittsburgh Steelers fans wave terrible towels during their 2011 AFC Championship game against the New York Jets at Heinz Field on January 23, 2011 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

PITTSBURGH — One of the most iconic items in sports today, the Terrible Towel was born 44 years ago on Dec. 27, 1975 by Myron Cope while working as sportscaster at a local radio station.

Officials with the Steelers said the account was chronicled in the late Cope’s book, “Double Yoi!”

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Cope, an icon himself in local sports history, wrote he was called into the station general manager’s office and was told he had better come up with some sort of gimmick. He only had a few months left on his contract.

Nearing kickoff for the next game on a rainy, cold day, Cope wrote, tens of thousands of Terrible Towels were waving in the air around the stadium and the legend of the towel was born.

Today, the Terrible Towel can be found in the standard gold with black lettering, in a camouflage edition, in special editions for various holidays, in pink for Breast Cancer Awareness, as a full-length beach towel and printed in various languages. It’s been taken to the peak of Mount Everest and blasted into space to the International Space Station.