It sounds to me that you're talking about first wort hopping, which is putting some aroma hops in the kettle before the wort is put in the kettle. While sparging, the first runnings, and subsequent sparge runnings absorb the aromatic oils from the hops before the boil, which helps with a lot of things, namely added head retention, and a "more uniform hop utilization" (or something like that...I just read up on this myself one week ago!)
Anyway, I did my first AG this weekend, an ESB. And, the recipe called for FWH of EK Goldings. I'll let you know if I can detect any benefit from this practice in six weeks when it's ready. From what I've read, it's becoming an increasingly popular practice among homebrewers.