First name of Bills kicker has been spelled wrong for his entire NFL career

When news Bills kicker Stephen Hauschka was introduced to the media for the first time this week, the first question he got during his press conference might go down as one of the oddest first questions ever. 

The question?

“How do we spell your name?”

The reason the question was odd is because the reporter wasn’t asking how to spell Hauschka’s last name -- which would make sense because there’s a few silent letters in there that could give you trouble -- no, the reporter was asking how to spell Hauschka’s first name. 

Since signing as an undrafted free agent in 2008, Hauschka had been listed on team websites as “Steven Hauschka.” As it turns out though, all of those team websites were incorrect: His name is actually “Stephen.”

“Yeah it is Stephen with a ‘ph,’” Hauschka clarfied this week. 

Just to make sure everyone believed him, the kicker pulled out his driver’s  license, “I am looking at my ID right now and that is how I say, or that is how you actually spell it,” Hauschka said. 

Back in October, the Fox affiliate in Seattle pointed out that we were all spelling Hauschka’s name wrong. However, at the time, there weren’t many details on how exactly it happened, so Hauschka gave the backstory this week. 

Apparently, we can blame North Carolina State for the mix up.

“Well, I was I [walking] on at North Carolina State back in 2007 and I think I was one of about five kickers on the team at the time,” Hauschka said. “And I was wearing number 38, or 37 then number 27, so I wasn’t about to say they had my name spelled wrong. I was just trying to be laid back and kick well. I didn’t want to make a fuss.”

Imagine that, someone at North Carolina State had trouble spelling. Zing.  

Anyway, that mistake led to Hauschka being listed as Steven in the media guide, which led to him being listed as Steven in the NFL, which brings us to where we are today. 

As of this week, and going forward, Hauschka will now forever be known as “Stephen” and we know he’s serious about the change because he already fixed things on his Instagram page. (Yes, he was totally adding to the confusion by spelling it “Steven” on Instagram). 

hauschka-instagram-03-17-17.jpg
The top spelling is incorrect. The bottom spelling is correct. Instagram

By the way, the fact that we’ve been spelling his name wrong for the past 10 years might not even be the craziest part of the Hauschka story. That honor goes to the fact that the new Bills kicker didn’t even play football for the first time until his sophomore year in college. 

“So I was a sophomore at Middlebury College and decided, I walked on the soccer team my freshman year. Was getting kind of slow compared to the other players, wasn’t quite at the same speed,” Hauschka explained. “I had always wanted to kick footballs. I decided to walk onto the football team my sophomore year, one of my roommates in college convinced me to come out too, he was a football player. I came out and played three years there, kicked and punted. So really that was my first time playing football.”

The good news in all of this is that Hauschka’s three-year contract with the Bills includes $4 million in guarantees, which means he’s about to get paid -- unless of course the contract voids out because the Bills spelled his name wrong. At this point, that seems like a possibility. 

CBS Sports Writer

John Breech has been at CBS Sports since July 2011 and currently spends most of his time writing about the NFL. He's believed to be one of only three people in the world who thinks that Andy Dalton will... Full Bio

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