The End of Double Yoi: Without Myron Cope, Steeler Football Hasn't Been the Same

Nick DeWitt@@nickdewitt11Analyst IApril 29, 2009

Wherever you went, there always seemed to be a common thread between Steelers fans on game day.

You muted the network broadcasters, left the game on TV, and cranked up the radio to hear the heralded combination of Bill Hillgrove and Myron Cope deliver the game to you in an always memorable fashion.

Or maybe you just tuned in to see what kind of zany commentary old "Coach Cope" would drum up at an opportune moment.

Myron probably couldn't tell you any important particulars or statistics about the game, but none of that really mattered. Hillgrove was there for that. 

Myron let you feel the game, made you a part of the game. If anyone could get emotions going over the radio waves, it was Myron.

He had some of the most memorable sayings—not to mention some of the most commonly used made-up words in radio. Things like "Um-ha," "Yoi and Double Yoi," and opponent nicknames like "Yonkos," "Brownies," and, of course, "Bungles" became common turns of phrase in downtown Pittsburgh.

Myron's voice was not one that made for good, smooth entertainment. His voice was a crackling, screeching, rasping wreck of a voice, but Pittsburghers loved it all the same. 

Myron used that voice (and the phrases uttered with it) to capture his Pittsburgh audience from 1975 until 2004. When he retired, nothing was ever the same. 

No matter how Tunch Ilkin calls the game with Cope's old partner Bill Hillgrove, he'll never call it the way Myron did. Ask any Pittsburgh fan, and they'll tell you he won't ever be able to call it quite as well either.

Myron's genius and appeal transcended his screeching, crackling voice coming over the radio on Sunday afternoons and evenings. He also brought Pittsburgh one of the city's most enduring symbols.

If you are from Pittsburgh, chances are you have a yellow towel with black lettering on it somewhere in your house.

In 1975 Myron Cope invented the now immortal Terrible Towel, a symbol of the Pittsburgh Steelers and their rabid fanbase ever since. I, myself, own an original and four more recent incarnations of Myron's yellow creation.

Terrible Towels are waved in unison at every Steelers home game—not to mention almost every road contest as well. They hang in the windows of office buildings, from houses, and from the back pockets of Steelers fans everywhere.

There have been attempts to copy the sacred towel by other teams, but no one has seemed to capture its secret magic. Perhaps that was what Coach Cope put into it without telling anyone—his secret ingredient, of sorts.

One thing is for sure: Since Myron left the booth in 2004, the Pittsburgh Steelers have never sounded quite as good as they used to. 

Now fans solemnly tune into the network announcers and let them ramble on. They tune into post-game interviews with Tunch Ilkin, not Cope's Cabana, where fans told Myron what was "on their cranium." 

Myron's gone, but every time a Terrible Towel is waved, his spirit lives on in every fan.


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