You wouldn’t think of “terrible” as a compliment, but say any frequenter of Heinz Field and Steelers parking lots takes that word in like a badge of honor. That’s because “Terrible Towels,” small yellow rally towels are viciously waved by fans every Sunday at Heinz Field, symbolizing their hometown team and city and creating an in-stadium atmosphere unmatched around the NFL.
The towel’s origins date back to 1975 when a few radio personalities, led by play-by-play man Myron Cope, thought up ways to build excitement for a home playoff game against the Baltimore Colts. Once the group settled on the cheap-to-make rally towel route, it began hyping up the idea on radio against backlash from players and other media. Even up until kick-off inside the old Three Rivers Stadium, the towels were sparse. But before the players ran out of the tunnel, thousands of fans began swirling the yellow towels to spawn an unforgettable scene.
The Terrible Towel became an instant hit, and can be seen prominently in the Super Bowl run of 1975, the Steelers’ struggles in the 80’s and their return to greatness in the 90’s. Now the Steelers have a new home; and while they now need to look for Heinz Field parking on Sundays, they still bring their Terrible Towel.
The Towel now donates all proceeds to schools in Allegheny County, and remains a popular icon of Steelers culture. In 2005, another Super Bowl season for Pittsburgh, more than one million towels were sold.
Odds are any fan on his way to hunt for Pittsburgh Steelers parking has a towel with him in the car, or plans to pick one up at the stadium. And you can snag that Heinz Field parking spot on ParkWhiz, a great way to ensure your space is saved during hectic game-days.
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