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Jeremy Hill and the Bengals learn about the curse of the Terrible Towel the hard way

The Pittsburgh Steelers won the game, but teams simply won’t learn not to disrespect the team’s prized rally towel.

NFL: AFC Wild Card-Pittsburgh Steelers at Cincinnati Bengals Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Fans of other NFL teams just don’t get it. They don’t understand it either. The Pittsburgh Steelers prized rally towels, dubbed the ‘Terrible Towel’ by former Pittsburgh radio personality Myron Cope, is more than just a rally towel.

It is a part of the franchise.

Some might hear about the curse of the Terrible Towel and just laugh, and there was a time when I laughed about it too. Then, year after year, you see more and more instances when members of the opposing team do something to the towel, and it never ends well.

It might have started when T.J. Houshmandzadeh famously cleaned his cleats with the towel after a Bengals win over the Steelers in 2005. It continued in 2008, when LenDale White and Keith Bulluck of the Tennessee Titans blew their noses with the towel and stomped on it on the sideline. Ray Rice of the Baltimore Ravens decided to drape a Terrible Towel over his head after a 2012 win over the Steelers at Heinz Field.

There are more instances, but every time a player desecrated the towel in any way, it came back to haunt their team.

On Sunday in Week 15, Jeremy Hill scored a rushing touchdown, and as a celebration he grabbed a Terrible Towel from the stands, attempted to rip it in half (failed) and then threw it on the ground.

Immediately after, social media ignited about how they should know about “the curse of Cope”. After Hill’s touchdown, the Bengals took a 20-6 lead, then never scored another point and lost the football game.

To outsiders, is sounds ridiculous, but the facts don’t lie. Plain and simple...don’t mess with the Terrible Towel.

People ask me, as a Steelers fan, what makes the Terrible Towel so special. First, it isn’t some rally towel which is given out at the gates when fans enter the stadium. Each towel is purchased, and for a good cause too. Myron Cope left the copyright to the Allegheny Valley School to receive the profits from each towel sold.

If you are a Steelers fan and don’t have a Terrible Towel, then you just notified everyone around you that you aren’t truly a Steelers fan. There are fans who have lucky towels, multiple towels and towels for every Super Bowl victory. They all mean the same to each black and gold fan, but don’t you think the rest of the NFL world would realize to leave it alone by now?

Judging by Hill’s actions today...he didn’t get the memo.

Steelers fans shouldn’t be too upset, after all, karma always finds a way of working in their favor. The Steelers win moves them to 9-5, while the Bengals are now eliminated from the playoffs.