Joe Santoni, the Pennsylvania restaurant owner who named the Pittsburgh Steelers, died on Oct. 10 from complications of heart surgery. He was 82.
An avid sports fan, Santoni entered a contest in 1940 to rename the NFL team, the Pittsburgh Pirates. To differentiate itself from the city’s baseball team, Santoni suggested the name “Steelers,” and owner Art Rooney Sr. liked the name.
The prize? Season tickets for a year.
For three decades, Santoni ran Santoni’s Restaurant, an establishment decorated in Pittsburgh Steelers photographs. He remained a season ticket holder until shortly before his death.