The Homer Hanky. The Rally Monkey. Towel Power. All items designed to help fans rally their team to a decisive victory. And all owing a debt the grandfather of them all, the Terrible Towel. The creation of longtime Steelers broadcaster Myron Cope, the Terrible Towel is as much of a symbol of Pittsburgh as Iron City Beer, its many bridges and shuttered steel mills.
But now Pittsburghers (Pittsburgians? Pittsburghesi?) are steaming mad about the latest idea to liberally borrow from the Terrible Towel - especially since the alleged rip-off artists in question are the NFL. The PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW says that the league is planning on making “Trophy Towels” a highly-visible part of the post-Super Bowl celebrations, and then start selling them the next day.
And what are Trophy Towels? Well…no one is really sure, since the league is treating this like the secret recipe to Coke. Pictures of the towel are locked inside league offices, and won’t be revealed until after the AFC and NFC Championship games, presumably to stop copycats from making counterfeit versions before the real ones go on sale.
Needless to say, the Steelers and their fans aren’t pleased with what they consider the NFL’s own version of counterfeiting:
“They’re trying to piggyback off Myron Cope’s wondrous product,” said Steelers play-by-play announcer Bill Hillgrove. “It’s a cheap imitation. I think it’s wrong.”
Proceeds from Terrible Towel sales have generated more than $2.2 million for Allegheny Valley School, which assists mentally disabled children and adults. Meanwhile, proceeds from the Trophy Towel? You guessed it, going straight to the NFL’s coiffers. Plus, it will retail for $25, more than three times what the Terrible Towel goes for.
If you were looking for a reason to root for the Pittsburgh Steelers to win the Super Bowl, this is a good one. What are the odds that if someone from the NFL tries to drape a Trophy Towel on Mike Tomlin following the game, we see a recreation of what LenDale White and Keith Bullock did to the Terrible Towel a few weeks ago?