Ravens running back Ray Rice walked out of Heinz Field with a Terrible Towel draped over his head.
Apparently the thousands of towels provided by the league and Gatorade wouldn't wipe the sweat off his head after his 20 carries for 40 yards performance in the Ravens victory as well as the souvenir towel known internationally as the trademark of one of the most popular brands in sports.
Allegedly, Rice traded a fan his or her Terrible Towel for Rice's game-worn gloves. Rice insisted he wanted to keep it as a souvenir to look fondly back on great games in his outstanding career (his lack of impact in that game aside).
Rice felt as if he could justify his acquisition of a Terrible Towel with the idea of keeping it as a momento - a valid if not laudable action. His agent and/or publicist did a great job glossing over the fact there's no particular reason why he'd have to wear the towel over his head as he left the field other than to rub the faces of Steelers fans in their loss.
He seems too arrogant and ignorant to think those were his intentions. After the game, Rice said, "Obviously, I turned up a huge bunch of yards, and we could have run the ball a little bit more."
He scored a touchdown, but very few would consider 78 rushing yards a "huge bunch," and if anything, the obviousness of that huge bunch isn't as clear as Rice seems to think it is. It was more than the 40 he had the first time around, though.
Add it to the increasing legend of the Terrible Towel Curse. While it clearly wasn't as disrespectful as the ill-fated Tennessee Titans players who jumped on the Towel after scoring a regular season victory in Nashville, Rice's passive-aggressive sign of disrespect came with consequences as well.
Perhaps that's why his number was only called to rush 12 times, despite cracking off 78 yards in the re-match (if you're counting at home, Rice had 32 carries for 98 yards in the two games against Pittsburgh this season).
Whatever it was, only the bold dare to actively disrespect the artifacts of their team's rival.
Perhaps that's why Steelers free safety Ryan Clark was seen at the end of the Steelers' dramatic 23-20 win over Baltimore taking off his cleats and looking to barter with Ravens fans in the crowd.
There's not a curse associated with any time-honored artifact associated with the Ravens - a Purple Towel, or a White Cloth or a Ray Lewis Noise Horn. Maybe Clark will plead innocent the way Rice did.
He walked out of M&T Bank Stadium with a win, though, something both players got this season. Rice has his Towel, though, and maybe he has the Curse to go along with it.