During his final season at Notre Dame, Joe Theismann dubbed his father: "I said, "How do you pronounce our critical name?" and also there was favor this pregnant pause on the phone. And every one of a sudden, my dad says, "Are you OK? You’re having trouble pronouncing your last name?"" (AP)This article is much more than 4 year old.It’s Heisman Trophy Weekend.

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The ideal Heisman Trophy story i know involves the run-up to the 1970 edition of the compensation given each year to the nation’s finest college football player. One of the peak contenders then was the quarterback in ~ Notre Dame, Joe Theismann.

"When I checked out the university of Notre Dame in 1967," Theismann says, "I to be Joe THEES-mann from south River, brand-new Jersey. That’s how my name was pronounced."

Two year later, certainly to the surprise of the Theismanns Joe had left behind in new Jersey, their surname was changed. Or at the very least his was. Confused? probably Joe can untangle the mystery. Apparently, that all began when a soccer writer wondered aloud in the existence of Notre Dame sports information director i get it Valdiserri if it to be Theismann, as in Heisman…

"How execute You express Our critical Name?"

"Everybody laughed. And Roger, being the kind of human being who just sort that puts things away, he kind of put it in his, ns guess, in his memory bank," Theismann says. "And climate in 1970, prior to we started the season, he called me in the office. The said, "How execute you pronounce her last name?" ns said, "It’s THEES-mann." that said, "No, that not. The THIGHS-mann." i said, "No, it’s not. It’s in reality THEES-mann." he said, "No, that not, Joe. The THIGHS-mann." i said, "Please, can I have the phone?"

"I said, 'It’s THEES-mann.' he said, 'No, it’s not. That THIGHS-mann.'"

"So I call my dad earlier home in Jersey. Ns said, "Dad, girlfriend know, I acquired a inquiry for you." and he said, "Fire away, Joey." i said, "How execute you pronounce our critical name?" and there was like this pregnant pause on the phone. And all of a sudden, my dad says, "Are girlfriend OK? You’re having actually trouble pronouncing her last name? i mean, you’ve been there 3 years. Are you all right?" ns said, "Yeah, i’m fine. I’ll explain later. Just exactly how do you pronounce our last name?" and he stated "THEES-mann."

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Theismann to be an All-American at Notre Dame. (AP)

"So i hung the phone up. Ns turned come Roger. I said, "Roger, look, mine last name is THEES-mann. Ns know. I just acquired off the phone through my dad." that said, "Joe, I desire to tell you something. Yes sir a trophy the end there dubbed the Heisman Trophy. It goes come the finest college football player in the country. We think you have a possibility to success that trophy. However we’re not just going to count on her athletic ability, no one the call of the university of Notre Dame. However we think by just simply an altering the pronunciation of her last surname from THEES-mann to THIGHS-mann come rhyme with Heisman, we can gain you that trophy.""

"Theismann for Heisman"

It would be great to be able to say the the “Theismann for Heisman” marketing campaign worked, but it didn’t. Another quarterback, Jim Plunkett, winner it. Theismann come in second. And he remained Theismann, right into his days together an NFL standout, throughout which he was named the league’s MVP and also won a at sight Bowl. The he did all that as Theismann fairly than together “Theesmann” to be OK with everybody. Or practically everybody.

"So us play the Giants in brand-new York, countless years ago," Theismann recalls. "And old Giants stadium, the fans were perhaps 10 yards appropriate behind the visiting bench. So i’m sitting there, and some guy’s yelling in ~ me, "Ayyyy, Joey THEES-mann. You adjusted your name. You don’t also like wherein you come from. I can’t think you’ve excellent this!" I revolve around and also said, "Dad, look, I’m really sorry. I swear ns am. Ns didn’t mean to execute that." No, it in reality wasn’t my dad. However there was some man up there just offering me a hard time. He to be from southern River, wherein I prospered up."

If Theismann had been for this reason inclined, he might have told that leather-lunged brand-new Jersey heckler the the name readjust wasn’t fairly as unreasonable together it might show up to be. Joe knew that, because ago when the readjust was quiet in dispute, he talked about his father’s head to a greater authority.

"I did speak to my grandmother, who was the matriarch of ours family. She was from Germany. I said, "Granny, look. The university wants to change the together of my last surname from THEES-mann come THIGHS-mann. What carry out you think?" and also she said, "Vell, i tell friend what. The exactly pronunciation is actually ‘TICE-mann’, and that is a bit closer, for this reason it’s OK.""


"You had actually your grandmother’s approval. You were residence free!" ns say.

"I acquired my grandmother’s approval."

Forty-six year after the Heisman Trophy poll that witnessed the previous Joe Theismann come in 2nd to Jim Plunkett, as in "who’d a thunk it" – it’s all good. Or nearly all good. Except when Joe walk home.

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"I gain a many friends the mine from brand-new Jersey, friend know, and also we’ll go perform something, and they’ll say, "Hey, how you doin’ Joe? room you still Thees-mann or Thighs – mann? Who room you?""

He’s Joe Theismann. As in Heismann, almost. And also he doesn’t seem come have any type of regrets.