Myron Cope, the 35-year color commentary man for the Pittsburgh Steelers died Wednesday morning in a nursing home in Mt. Lebanon, Pa. Cope had been struggling with his health since leaving the broadcast booth after the 2004 season.
Before joining the Steelers family, Cope was a widely read freelancer for Sports Illustrated reporting on such iconic figures as Howard Cosell and Roberto Clemente. He later moved onto to television at the request of a station manager, before being hired by a franchise that had not yet seen much success in a nearly 50-year history.
Cope along with a certain fair haired quarterback from Louisana Tech made their respective debuts with the Steelers on September 20, 1970, and it took only two seasons before the once pride less team became arguably the greatest dynasty in professional football history.
During this time Cope developed a relationship with the fans of Pittsburgh that rivaled none, delighting fans with his “yinzer” accent and quirky catchphrases that only he could get away with using. His countless “yoi’s” and “double yoi’s” as well as his classic music video will live on throughout the history of the Steelers as the turning point. A turning point from a baseball town to a football town, it was a turning point that gave the city and fans an identity.
“I guess sometimes in the football business we all take ourselves too seriously and Myron never let anybody do that, so he had that knack for sort of reminding us of what business we were in,” Art Rooney once said of the 5’4″ broadcasting icon.
His contributions also ranged to five books, none entirely about the Steelers, the prevalence of the term “the Immaculate Reception” and most of all his creation of the “Terrible Towel.” The towel was original and has not been done better in more than 30 years, but the truly significant fact about this favorite dish rag is that in 1996, Cope donated his ownership of the trademarks to the Allegheny Valley School. Over $1 million has been raised to support this institution caring for over 900 physically and mentally disabled children.
Funeral arrangements have not yet been made, but expect nothing short of a remembrance rivaling the man who hired him, Art Rooney. Steeler nation will genuinely mourn grieve after this loss and reminisce as this is the end of an era. In Pittsburgh his passing will be taken as a loss of royalty because when it comes to the Steel City, Myron Cope is as close as you can come to being a king.