Earlier this year, EA Sports made an open call for names to add to its roster in NCAA Football 10. I put in one for a guy to whom I felt I owed one.
Joseph I. Hodas was a guy who never really knew me, and never knew he was in a video game. He was a professional acquaintance of a friend of mine, and we loved how the New York Times would insist on quoting him by his full name, with initial, instead of just "Joe Hodas." So, as an inside joke, I put his full name on the back of a jersey of a team I created in NCAA 2004. He was the backup QB. He lost his job to a sophomore (incidentally, the writer who profiled Brian for 5280 Magazine.)
I later heard Joe was kind of disappointed about getting benched in the middle of a championship season, and I honestly felt bad for that. Like he'd been the unwitting butt of a joke. So when EA Sports asked for names, I submitted his and hoped for the best. EA Sports reminded that you were submitting names only for "potential use."
Who knows, how, exactly, his last name got in there. I do know I'd never heard it said in previous versions. But I'd like to think that in a recording studio somewhere, maybe Florida, or New York or the West Coast, Brad Nessler of ESPN sat down, maybe cleared his throat, looked at a piece of paper and a pronunciation guide, and said "Hodas."
And in a game on Friday, Virginia Tech vs. the University of Denver (above), I got to hear "Hodas comes to the line under centre." As silly as it is, it was a game-pausing, fist-throwing moment. Joe, we're going to the title game this year, and we're doing it with you in the huddle.