The little yellow towel which brought a city and team closer than ever, is returning to Pittsburgh where it belongs.
Evidently, author Douglas Adams must have been a Pittsburgh Steelers fan.
Adams wrote the five episode trilogy of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, which focused on the exploits of Arthur Dent and Ford Prefect, who bounced around the edges of the universe while hitching rides with wayward starships through the use of a teleporting thumb.
In the opening chapters of the first book, Prefect hurries to get Dent off of Earth before an alien fleet destroys Earth to put in an interstellar highway. According to Adams' character Prefect, the most essential material thing they would need to take with them, was a towel.
I'm pretty sure it was a Terrible Towel.
Ever since Myron Cope's creation became a part of the Steelers history in 1975 as a rally tool, the Terrible Towel has become a part of every Steelers fan's life. The Towel has been all over the world, and has been the subject of more photography than any SI swimsuit model. The Terrible Towel has become almost like family.
Now, the Towel is coming back home. The Steelers have announced the Towel will now be produced by a Pittsburgh-based company, Little Earth Productions. According to Tim Carey, the team's merchandising manager:
"The Terrible Towel comes home. Even though the Terrible Towel is a worldwide brand, it starts in Pittsburgh. Little Earth has grown to the point where they have proven themselves to be a great partner in NFL licensed products and they are ready to handle this."
"When you make a commitment to buy a towel, it’s different than someone handing it to you at a gate. People bring them to games, they hang on to them, and they keep them for years. Everyone should have more than one. You don’t want your towel to be lonely."
"Fans realize how much it benefits more than the team when they buy a towel. There is a sense of giving back because of the ownership of the towel. They feel like they have done something more than just root for the team. They are helping the community."
While the towel has the power to unite a culture, it also holds the power to change lives. Proceeds from Terrible Towel sales go to NHS Allegheny Valley Schools and the AVS Foundation, which cares for children and adults with developmental and intellectual disabilities. Towel sales have raised over $4 million for the foundation since 1996.
I don't think even Myron Cope knew what he had created when he came up with the towel idea. Many professional sports teams use towels of their own to rally their own teams, but no towel has done more for one team, one city and one people, than Cope's creation. How many towels do you know which have actually changed somebody's life?
I only know one. Double-Yoi, Mr. Cope. Thank you.