EVEN IF you never listened to him bellow "yoi!"—or, if the action was especially gripping, "double yoi!"—during a Steelers broadcast or read one of the more than 40 stories he wrote for SI between 1960 and '79, you're still familiar with the work of Myron Cope. By encouraging locals to bring yellow dishrags to a 1975 playoff game against the Colts, the nasal-voiced Iron City native, who died last week at 79, invented The Terrible Towel that Steelers fans wave to this day.
That Cope would be party to such cheerleading is no surprise. He was an unabashed fan in his 35 years as Pittsburgh's color man. But his homerism didn't mean he didn't see things objectively. Cope was, above all, a journalist—and one of the best of his day. That down-home demeanor he exhibited was genuine, and it put at ease many an interview subject. Indeed, two of his best articles for SI were primarily in the voices of others: a hilarious piece that Cope cowrote in 1970 with Alex Hawkins about the latter's NFL career and an oral history of the early years of the NFL. The voice of the Steelers wasn't just a joy to listen to; Cope was a terrific listener himself.
GEORGE GOJKOVICH/GETTY IMAGES (COPE)