Legendary Pittsburgh Steelers radio announcing sidekick Myron Cope died today in a Pittsburgh-area nursing home at the age of 79 after a lengthy illness. If you were a Steelers fan at any time in the past 40 years, you would have instantly recognized Cope’s voice, which team president Art Rooney II described as “synonymous with Steelers football.” Cope invented the “Terrible Towel,” among other signature items, including colorful expressions to describe plays and players. His most famous coined phrase was “The Immaculate Reception,” which he christened the catch made by Franco Harris off a deflected pass by Terry Bradshaw in a playoff game with Oakland in 1972. Cope once convinced Frank Sinatra to attend a Steelers practice as a member of “Franco’s Italian Army,” the de facto Franco Harris fan club of the time. Cope retired from broadcasting in 2004 due to ill health, after having sat behind the mike doing Steelers radio broadcasts since 1970. Before that, he was a widely acclaimed freelance sports writer.
The NFL Kansas City Chiefs and their fans are not very happy with the deal they made for good old ex-Nittany Lion Larry Johnson, whose running production has fallen drastically since his extortive holdout this past summer. He got his money, but did KC get its money’s worth? Thus far this season, Johnson has rushed for a measly 275 yards (55 ypg) and no touchdowns. In his most recent outing, against the Jacksonville Jaguars, old Gran-mama amassed a total of 12 yards. However, he did excel at throwing his helmet (twice) in frustration, while the fans rewarded his half-assed efforts with a stinging chorus of boos.
The man Johnson replaced, oft injured Priest Holmes, is seriously planning a comeback at age 34. Whether or not he makes it, his presence in the locker room could be helpful to Johnson, if only the petulant running back would pay attention to what made the undersized Holmes an NFL standout. But can Larry Johnson actually allow himself to be mentored? Read Kansas City Star sports columnist Joe Posnanski’s take on the situation.