Polk Man Holds the Line in the Big Game

Here’s an interesting story from the local Lakeland Ledger:

By Suzie Schottelkotte
The LedgerFORT MEADE — Larry Hodge of Fort Meade has a recurring nightmare about this time every year.

FORT MEADE — Larry Hodge of Fort Meade has a recurring nightmare about this time every year.”Nothing could be worse than the quarterback in the Super Bowl saying he couldn’t talk to the coach upstairs during the game because the phone on the sidelines didn’t work,” Hodge said. “It couldn’t get much worse than that.”

When players talk to their coaches during today’s championship game, or NFL executives confer with each other, or media representatives file updates to their stories, they can thank a storefront business in Fort Meade for making it happen.

Crews with Hodge Telecommunications Services have strung more than 25 miles of telephone cable in Detroit in the last month so everybody from NFL staffers to the Rolling Stones’ backstage crew can stay in touch with each other throughout game day.

“We’ve installed more than 3,000 telephone lines since Jan. 10,” Hodge said last week. “It’s amazing to me that we put in that many lines for a three-hour game.”

Hodge has held the NFL’s contract for on-site telephone service since 1999, but he’s been running the cable annually since Super Bowl XVIII in Tampa in January 1984.

“I was working for GTE at the time as supervisor of the downtown Tampa area, and we ran the lines for the NFL that year,” he said.

The Los Angeles Raiders beat the Washington Redskins 38-9 in that contest at Tampa Stadium.

Hodge said he worked for GTE in the next 12 Super Bowls, then Sprint for three. He left Sprint in 1999 to form his own company and took the NFL contract with him.
Read the rest at the link above.

I wonder how much money that gig brings in for his company? That’s gotta be a sweet deal.

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