Naming children after NFL quarterbacks like Don Meredith and John Brodie isn't that odd, right?

I walked into the optometrist’s office for my annual eye appointment recently and the counter worker gave me his familiar greeting, “Hey, it’s the guy who names his kids after 1960s quarterbacks.”

The guy’s got a good memory.

In my defense, and the one I repeat to my wife every time someone brings this up, we didn’t really name our children Meredith and Brodie after National Football League quarterbacks Don Meredith of the Dallas Cowboys and John Brodie of the San Francisco 49ers. It’s just that some sports fans who grew up in that era — like myself —  make a quick connection with the NFL players’ unique names. And, yes, I happen to have their football cards from my youth.

With a surname like Johnson, my wife and I wanted to avoid common given names for our children. Actually, like most parents, we just named our kids after names we liked. My daughter’s name comes from actress Meredith Baxter Birney, who starred in the 1980s sitcom Family Ties. While reading a book by former CBS reporter Charles Kuralt, I came across a reference to one of his first editors named Brodie. 

And even if Meredith and Brodie were named after quarterbacks — and I’m not saying they were — I wouldn’t be the first to name their kids after sports figures. Some of Eau Claire’s finest homegrown baseball players — the Fadness brothers — were named after baseball players: Ty (Cobb), Mickey (Mantle), Nolan (Ryan) and Will (Clark) made their baseball playing father Rob proud.

Full disclosure: Our dogs are indeed named after quarterbacks. I told my wife we could get dogs if I got to name them. Our Cairn Terrior is Manning, named after an NFL-playing father and his talented sons. Our previous dog was named Montana. You get the picture. Montana’s middle name? Unitas, of course.