At Heinz Field — the Pittsburgh Steelers' stadium — one thing is consistent whether the Steelers are winning or losing: the presence of gold Terrible Towels. There's literally a sea of towels in the stands and many fans believe that these fans have magical powers. That's why players from other teams should never, ever disrespect the Terrible Towel, as the Cincinnati Bengals did the year the Steelers beat them and advanced to the Super Bowl and the Tennessee Titans did earlier this year.
Other teams have taken the coveted towel and made it their own. Just look at the playoff game between the Tennessee Titans and the Baltimore Ravens. Ironically, all the Titans fans have these blue (fake) towels (which they got for free, unlike Steelers fans that actually buy theirs). I've seen the Seattle Seahawks' green ones at Super bowl XL. I've even seen teams from other sports have towels, specifically the Anaheim Angels baseball team. The vendor was not happy when I tried to tell him that the Angels were a bunch of copiers and I had no respect for them stealing the Pittsburgh pride. Let them hold their rally monkeys instead.
The towel was created by Myron Cope, who died last year, and is used not only in Heinz Field. It was first introduced in 1975 in a playoff game against the Baltimore Colts.
The Terrible Towel has become quite famous. Sydney Crosby, a Pittsburgh Penguins hockey player, was seen carrying it. There are pictures of the towel in Iraq and Afghanistan, at the Great Wall of China, the South Pole, Vatican City, the 2008 Olympics, and Mount Everest.
Some of the proceeds from the sale of Terrible Towels help the non-profit Allegheny Valley School. The organization provides residential and therapeutic programs in Pennsylvania for children and adults with intellectual developmental disabilities. Over $2.2 million have been raised.
The Towel has really become the Pittsburgh Steelers' symbol and although other teams have copied it, it will always be a Pittsburgh original, as it boasts on the towel itself. I actually own two towels, one original and one Myron Cope special towel. My Dad owns an original and a Super Bowl towel. My sister calls it “just a towel,” but it's so much more than that. Maybe the Steelers fans take the towel too seriously … but regardless, it is part of the Pittsburgh heart and soul.