In early 1940, Rooney decided that he had had enough of the copycat Pirates moniker. He worked with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette to run a contest to find a new name for the team. Former coach Joe Bach led the panel which selected the name Steelers from amongst the entries. The new name paid homage to the city’s largest industry of producing steel.
It’s unclear who deserves credit for suggesting the name (which was already being used by at least one local high school team), but it appears there were a total of twenty-one “winners”. Each winner received a pair of season tickets to the upcoming season, a prize with a value of about $5 ($84 today). Among them were Joe Santoni, a local restaurateur, who received a pair of season tickets as a prize, and Margaret Elizabeth O’Donnell, the girlfriend (and eventual wife) of the team’s business manager, Joe Carr. The first entrant who suggested “Steelers” was Arnold Goldberg, who was sports editor for the Evening Standard of Uniontown, Pennsylvania. Other suggestions were Wahoos, Condors, Pioneers, Triangles, Bridgers, Buckaroos and Yankees, along with such steel-centric possibilities as the Millers, Vulcans, Tubers, Smokers, Rollers, Ingots and Puddlers.