He goes to grandma to name drop

Times Staff Writer

The story often has been told about how the pronunciation of Joe Theismann’s last name was changed to rhyme with Heisman before his senior season at Notre Dame in 1970. The way the story goes, his name was originally pronounced Theez-man.

But that’s not exactly correct, according to what the former quarterback told The Times’ Jerry Crowe at the ESPYs celebrity golf tournament at Industry Hills this month.

Theismann said that before he gave approval to the pronunciation change, he had to run it past his family.

So, he said, “I called my grandmother, who was kind of the patron saint of the family, and I said, ‘Granny, look, they’re thinking about changing the pronunciation of my last name from Theez-mann to Thighs-mann ... and she said, in her very hard German accent, ‘Vel, I think it’s OK. Actually, the correct pronunciation is Tice-mann, so it’s a lot closer and that’s fine.’ ”

Trivia time

Theismann finished second in the Heisman Trophy voting in 1970. Who was the West Coast quarterback who won the award?

NFL rookie gets put in his place

After a successful four-year stint in Canada, Theismann hooked on with the Washington Redskins in 1974, where he had to compete against two veteran quarterbacks, Billy Kilmer and Sonny Jurgensen.

Kilmer, the former UCLA quarterback who now lives in Coral Springs, Fla., remembers Theismann having a good outing in the second or third exhibition game.


“The next day, I pick up the paper and read where he’s saying, ‘I’m going to put those two old men on the bench.’ So I call Sonny to see what he has to say about that, and Sonny says, ‘We’ll have him catching punts before the end of the year.’ And we did.”

Job security

Don’t look for the Dallas Cowboys to be unloading Terrell Owens any time soon, at least if team owner Jerry Jones is to be believed.

“I interviewed 11 people after Bill Parcells left -- 11 who wanted to coach the Dallas Cowboys,” Jones told Craig Shemon and James Washington on Fox Sports radio. “To the man, there wasn’t one of them that didn’t quickly ask, ‘Now we’re going to keep T.O., aren’t we?’ ”

Nuptial news

Boxer Laila Ali, the 29-year-old daughter of Muhammad Ali, and Curtis Conway, 36, a former USC and NFL wide receiver, were married in Los Angeles on July 23.

Wrote Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times: “No truth to the rumor she ditched the traditional prenuptial rehearsal dinner and replaced it with a weigh-in.”

Wrote Elliott Harris of the Chicago Sun-Times: “Boxer gets a ring.”

Mom’s view

Matt Leinart’s former girlfriend Brynn Cameron said last week that he gets too much credit for parenting their 8-month-old son Cole.

“It’s kind of hard for me as the mom -- I’m with Cole probably 99.9% of the time -- to open a magazine or read a newspaper article with Matt saying, ‘Oh, I love being a dad. I love changing diapers. I love doing this.’ I’m like, ‘Wait, what?’ ” Cameron told the Ventura County Star. “It’s been hard when I’m doing all the work but he gets all the credit.”

The reaction from the Sun-Times’ Harris was: “Leinart fails a pop quiz.”

Trivia answer

Stanford’s Jim Plunkett.

And finally

Scott Ostler of the San Francisco Chronicle, on the case against Barry Bonds: “When one of the government’s star witnesses against Bonds is Carl the Incarcerated Clam, and the other is about to [pose] for Playboy, I gotta think Barry’s attorneys are sitting around with their feet on their desks, smoking stogies and watching old ‘Home Run Derby’ videos.”