Remembering Myron Cope


Yesterday was a sad day for Steeler Nation. Myron Cope, long-time voice of the Pittsburgh Steelers and inventor of the Terrible Towel, passed away at the age of 79.

John has already posted a very nice tribute elsewhere on this site but as someone who bleeds Black and Gold, I would also like to say a few words about Cope. He loved to refer to himself as “Cope.” Not many people can refer to themselves in the third person and not come across as a pretentious ass but he could. And that was just one reason why he was a beloved part of the city of Pittsburgh.

There are things we all know about Myron. His work as a broadcaster. His famous sign off, “Myron Cope…ON SPORTS!” The Terrible Towel. Less known is how great he was as a sports writer. A couple years ago, my parents bought me a book entitled, “Sports Illustrated: Fifty Years of Great Writing.” There, among nationally famous, Pulitzer Prize-winning authors I found a story written by none other than our Myron Cope. Had he never stepped into an announcing booth, he probably would’ve still had a memorable career as a columnist, reporter, or author.

But his announcing is what he’s most remembered for and it’s the reason we love him. It makes me sad that there will be a whole generation of Steeler fans who will never have had the pleasure of hearing him call a game. Luckily, I found this awesome collection of Cope Clips for your listening pleasure. To understand how much Cope meant to football fans in this city, I remember many of us watching Steeler games with the sound off and the radio on so we wouldn’t have to listen to one of the blowhard television commentators and could instead enjoy the hilarious homerism of Myron Cope.

I have two favorite Cope memories. First was during the infamous Coin Flip Fiasco against Detroit where Jerome Bettis called tails but referee Phil Luckett insisted he called heads and awarded Detroit the ball which they took for a game-winning score in overtime. They were in commercial during the flip. When they came back, Cope was absolutely flipping out over the referee screwing us on the call. He never forgave Luckett for that travesty, either.

The other memory I have is just a random moment during yet another epic beatdown of the hapless Cleveland Browns. Vinny Testaverde, whom Cope also seemed to have a strong dislike for, was playing quarterback for the Brownies. Testaverde threw an interception which led to this classic bit of analysis, “The football people say Vinny doesn’t see the field well. Well, that’s just a nice way of saying he’s dumb.”

I was watching ESPN yesterday afternoon when I saw the scroll across the bottom of the screen announcing his passing. It read, “Myron Cope, former Pittsburgh Steelers announcer, passes away at 79.” You got it wrong ESPN. He might not be in the booth any more but Myron Cope will ALWAYS be the voice of the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Thank you, Myron.