The Steelers are celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Terrible Towel, the iconic creation of the late Myron Cope, when they host the Cincinnati Bengals at Heinz Field on Sunday. A special Terrible Towel, voted on by the fans, will be unveiled on game day to commemorate the 40th anniversary.
The towel has become synonymous with the Steelers, and turns Heinz Field, and often times road stadiums, into a sea of gold on game day.
Here are some photos of legendary Steelers broadcaster and creator of the Terrible Towel, Myron Cope.
It does more than that, though. Proceeds from the sale of Terrible Towels are donated to Allegheny Valley School, a school that provides lifelong opportunities for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and a school Cope's son Danny attended. Following Super Bowl XL the Steelers presented the school with a check for $1 million, which just represented sales from that season.
Steelers' players love seeing the towel waving, love the enthusiasm and energy it brings as it fires them up as much as it fires up the fans.
Here is what the players had to say about the Terrible Towel.
Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger
"It's special. You see all of the gold towels. Everybody tries to copy it, they hand out towels at games. There is nothing like that gold one that waves. That is Pittsburgh."
Running back Le'Veon Bell
"It means a lot to see the towel waving. It means the fans are really into the game. It means we either made a big play or got a big stop. So when you see the towels waving it means the team is doing well. It gets you going. You know the fans are into the game and you want to play for them." Cornerback Antwon Blake
"It's a mythical thing to see. You grow up and it's like the unicorn. Until you get to experience it, you can't imagine what it's like. It's amazing to see. I remember one time last year we were in the playoff push and I went in the grocery store and every aisle was lined with Terrible Towels. I feel like the towel for the fans is just as important as us having our helmets out there, just as important as our jerseys. It's a very important thing for this team and it definitely pumps the players up."
Guard David DeCastro
"When everyone is waving them at kickoff it makes the environment even that much more special. It's pretty awesome. It adds that home field advantage and gets us ready to go."
Fullback Will Johnson
"It's a lot of energy. The first thing that comes to mind is 'Renegade' playing in the fourth quarter. It makes you want to stand up and look at the towels. You definitely can feed off that energy when they get waving."
Receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey
"Our fans are the best in the world. It's great to see it. We are one of the few teams that has something you can physically bring to the game and represent the team colors. And fans here buy the towel and money goes to charity. It shows you what it means. Steelers fans are the best in the world at doing things great."
Running back DeAngelo Williams
"It's synonymous with Pittsburgh. You see it and no matter where you are, it's there. Other stadiums try to duplicate it. It originated right here in Pittsburgh and was really made big in the Chuck Noll era. The big difference is fans all buy theirs. At other stadiums they hand them out to try to get the crowd up, but the fans even in other stadiums know where it originated from and that keeps Pittsburgh alive."
Receiver Antonio Brown
"It means so much to see those towels waving. It's history. It's Steelers Nation. It's the fans. It's the tradition. It's the support that comes along with it."
Linebacker Sean Spence
"It's a sign of unity and creativity. No other team in the NFL has something like that. It is a sign of togetherness."
Safety Will Allen
"It's great. It's good for our fans. It gets the players rowdy when we see the Terrible Towels waving in the stands. The pageantry it creates, it's great to be a part of Steelers Nation."