Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

21 Jun 2005

Myron Cope to Retire

Legendary Steelers radio man Myron Cope is retiring. He's been around forever, inventing the Terrible Towel and shouting nasal malapropisms to the delight of fans in Pittsburgh. Cope once said that when he got his first radio gig he was told he would fit in because "Obnoxious voices are coming into style." One of my biggest regrets as a football fan is that I've heard only clips of Cope and never an entire game. Are there any other radio men who so closely identify with their teams? I can't think of any.

Posted by: Michael David Smith on 21 Jun 2005

17 comments, Last at 25 Jun 2005, 2:11am by MMM

Comments

1
by TMK (not verified) :: Tue, 06/21/2005 - 5:25pm

It's sad to see another distinctive voice going away. My brother-in-law does a spot-on of Cope talking about "Emperor Chaz Noll." I can't imagine any other announcer being able to get away with that.

Maybe the late Chuck Thompson on Baltimore Colt games, or Harry Kalas in Philly comes close, but NFL radio never quite had the mystique of baseball, where the best locals were also known nationally.

2
by Dean (not verified) :: Tue, 06/21/2005 - 5:33pm

As an Iggles fan, I can't tell you what Harry Calas sounds like, but I hit the mute button every Sunday and turn on the radio to hear Merrill Reese.

I can still close my eyes and hear him describing the Miracle At The Meadowlands (...And Herman Edwards has the football! He's gonna score!)

...countless Randall Cunningham highlights...

The folks at NFL Primetime like him, too. He makes his way onto their broadcast a few times each season. He's not quirky like most of the personalities - he just gives you straight top-quality play-by-play in one of the smoothest tones you'll ever hear.

3
by Luz (not verified) :: Tue, 06/21/2005 - 5:44pm

Cope's retiring? Yoi and Double Yoi!

4
by Ray (not verified) :: Tue, 06/21/2005 - 6:50pm

No one goes on forever. I'm sure Cope will be fondly remembered by all Steelers fans.

I'm in the same boat as Dean when it comes to Eagles games. Merrill Reese is a great play-by-play guy, and it's always better to put him on when watching Eagles games over the TV announcers.

5
by Vinny (not verified) :: Tue, 06/21/2005 - 9:06pm

Isn't it Cope whom you always hear during the NFL Films Super Bowl X episode talking about Lynn Swann after another amazing catch: "He looks like Leonard Nijinksy...the ballet dancer!!!"

6
by Russell (not verified) :: Tue, 06/21/2005 - 9:53pm

Vin, you beat me to the punch on the Nijinsky line... when he's incredulous partner inquires as to who is Leonard Nijinsky, Cope stamers "ohh, Leonard Nijinsky was a great ballet dancer!!!"

7
by Countertorque (not verified) :: Tue, 06/21/2005 - 10:17pm

While I do have a soft spot for the sound of Cope's voice, I think it will be nice if we can get a radio crew that can identify what the hell is going on on the field.

"The Bus runs up the middle for a huge gain on first down! Boy he really cracked some heads on that one! That brings up 2nd down and 11."

8
by vijay (not verified) :: Tue, 06/21/2005 - 11:47pm

I went to college in Pittsburgh and had the chance to listen to him regularly. Yeah, he wasn't always perfectly accurate in the last 10 years or so. That's why the other guys are in the booth. If you want a COLOR man, then this guy is the definition. He added COLOR, not just some washed up ex-football player's "analysis". His phrases were great and he was an unashamed homer and loved it. Although I can't stand the Steelers, I do feel bad for their fans - Cope was great and holds a special place in the hearts of not only Steeler fans, but those who got to listen to him often. Hopefully he'll still do interviews and be around, but he will be missed.

9
by J (not verified) :: Wed, 06/22/2005 - 12:51am

Cope was great. As the previous post said, sometimes not accurate, but always funny...in some wierd way.

I always mute the Steelers games to listen to him, even though the radio and TV delay are not equal. Cope would get all excited a split second before I would see it on my TV.

I will probably continue listening to the Steelers radio crew while watching them on TV...I think Tunch Illkin does a great job, but I will miss Cope.

10
by Richie (not verified) :: Wed, 06/22/2005 - 2:17am

I wish more sports would choose non-jocks to do the color-commentary.

11
by Israel (not verified) :: Wed, 06/22/2005 - 2:22am

Mahrn Retahrn.

MDS - you can hear all the whole games you want on Field Pass. I expect that 2004 is still available. You will hear some discussion of the AFC Championship loss' being on Cope's birthday.

I always enjoy hearing Tunch saying, with a large dose of humility and an implied "whaddya know!", "You're right about that, Myron," after a look at a replay.

At least Myron is still here to read the eulogies.

12
by Moe (not verified) :: Wed, 06/22/2005 - 5:24am

I've never had the opportunity to listen to Mr. Cope. Good announcers add so much to the enjoyment of sports.

As a kid I got to listen to Vin Scully calling Dodger baseball. I still remember him doing spots for Farmer John sausages and the time he used my dad's submission for a reader trivia question. He won two tickets to a game and took me. Priceless.

The radio announcers in Minneapolis are horrid in baseball, football and basketball. Kevin Harlan was a lot of fun the T'wolves but he has now moved on.

13
by MadPenguin (not verified) :: Wed, 06/22/2005 - 11:53am

I wave my terrible towel in honor. And I will always continue to do so. Standar pittsburgh tradition to mute the tv and listen to cope

14
by PD (not verified) :: Wed, 06/22/2005 - 5:55pm

What a de-bah-cle! Sad news for Steeler fans. No one will ever be able to compare to the great Cope. No one was more fun to listen to during a game broadcast. If Steeler fans are family, Cope is the beloved crazy uncle who brings everyone together.

I've linked to a great site full of Myron Cope sounds. It's hard to explain the magic of Myron to non-Steeler fans, but maybe this will help a bit. I know the Steeler fans will love it.

"But the Bungles today...ee...they're defining why I call them the Bungles!"

"I am the World's Greatest Authority on Fu."

15
by Richie (not verified) :: Wed, 06/22/2005 - 6:45pm

Since I don't know where else to post it, it will go here because they are both talking about analysts.

I was just listening to NFL Channel, and a caller called in to say that the Baltimore defense in 2004 may have been comparable to Pittsburgh's, citing the opponents they played against. The host, Adam Schien, disagreed, making the brilliant statement, "I don't care who they played against. Both teams played against NFL teams all year long. The Pittsburgh defense was easily better."

I thought I'd come here and see what DVOAODJSDUH (hehe, sorry) had to say. Look at that! Baltimore ranks 2nd and Pittsburgh 4th. I realize DVOA is not the end-all, but geez, it helps point out when "experts" are idiots. I'm sure Baltimore's defense looked worse in traditional rankings largely because when they played Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh's defense had a much easier matchup than Baltimore's.

16
by B (not verified) :: Thu, 06/23/2005 - 5:59pm

This discussion really belongs with the AFC North 4 downs article, but another reason Pittsburg's Defense looks better than Baltimore by traditional stats is Pittsburg's offense, espically the running game, kept thier defense off the field longer.

17
by MMM (not verified) :: Sat, 06/25/2005 - 2:11am

Van Miller was pretty closely associated with the Bills up in Buffalo. Having lived in both cities I can say that neither he nor Myron were all that. The only announcing team I would mute in favor of the radio was one that involved John Madden - that's including ESPN's hellish trifecta. How's that for a ringing endorsement? Cya Myron!