Myron Cope, 1929-2008: The Passing Of An Icon

Shari ToomeyCorrespondent IFebruary 27, 2008

Today, Pittsburgh Steelers fans mourn the loss of their beloved announcer, Myron Cope.

Myron Cope began doing radio broadcasts for the Steelers in 1970, and his voice, crazy phrases, and "Pittsburghese" accent made him famous in Pittsburgh. Fans of the Pittsburgh Steelers had to be almost bilingual at times to understand Cope, especially when he got off on a rant.

Sounds and words like "Yoi", "Double yoi!", "Okel dokel", and "MM-hah" filled the Steelers broadcasts—as well as the traditional "Pittsburghese" words like, "warsh", "dahn tahn", and "yinz."

But whether you understood him or not, you had to love Myron Cope.

It was a playoff game in 1975, however, that made him a Steelers icon. Myron urged fans to bring yellow dish towels to Three Rivers Stadium to wave during the game, hoping the color and motion would excite the crowd. The idea caught on, and the Terrible Towel was born.

Myron Cope's son Daniel was born with severe autism, and Myron was tireless in his charitable efforts for causes addressing autism in Pittsburgh. Most people don't know that Myron donated proceeds from Terrible Towel sales to the Allegheny Valley School, which specializes in the care of children with autism. In 1996, Myron gave the school total trademark and ownership rights to the Terrible Towel.

Although Myron Cope officially retired in 2005, he was surely not forgotten. He was honored with the Pete Rozelle award for longtime exceptional contributions to football in radio and television in 2005. He is the only NFL announcer to be inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame, and he is also enshrined in Canton.

The city of Pittsburgh seems a little colder today, and the sun isn't shining quite as brightly over Heinz Field. Today, a giant hole has opened up in the middle of the Steelers Nation. A beloved journalist, announcer, and the Steelers' biggest fan has passed away. Steeler faithful may be comforted by the thought of Cope and the Chief in heaven having a cigar together while they talk about the Steelers, but he will be sorely missed.

Steelers fans: gather together and share your favorite Copisms tonight.  Put on your Steelers jersey, t-shirt, or hat. Hang your Terrible Towels at half mast in tribute to a Pittsburgh legend, and raise your glass of Iron City:

"To Myron—Double Yoi!!!"