Saturday, January 10, 2009

Saturday Studmuffins: The Oft-Mustachioed Ed Podolak

Since the Iron Triangle here in this House of Georges, consists of three dudes woven from the cloth of scribe, we, despite our differences, have one thing in common: the theme. Now, if you look just below this post, you'll notice that Cecil has kicked off the day with an image of a former player's trading card. If you look farther than that, you'll see that I've linked to The Big Lead a handful of times this week, and so I decided to tap into both motifs, and discuss a guy, the news of whom comes to us from TBL, who has clearly, one of the handsomest cards ever printed. That's none other than former Kansas City Chief Ed Podolak. The first conversation us HoGsters ever had regarding Podolak, came in the newsroom of The Independent, the student newspaper of THE Fort Lewis College (Editor's Note: Don't bother with that link; their Web site is under construction.). A few unimportant details after the jump...

It was a non-descript day at The Indy, and Old No. 7, Cecil, and myself were -- shocker -- talking football. Seven asked me the name of that Chief tailback that also used to, along with myriad other roles, return kicks, and chalk up mad yardage most every time he played. It was none other than Ed Podolak. Now, the guy's name has come up a bunch lately. When the Chiefs lost to Miami at Arrowhead last month, his name easily came up a half dozen times in that that game was the second-coldest game ever played at Arrowhead, and the coldest in which a Dolphins team has ever participated. His name came up because, as is always the case with cold December games in KC, or in any Chiefs-Miami contest, the Christmas game of 1971 is mentioned.

Around Kansas City, you can hear tales from season-ticket holders of the olden days discuss how bizarre of a day that game was, how it jacked up Christmas dinners, and how it was, in essence, the first of many Chiefs losses to come that would result via the mishaps of idiot kickers. It's possible that many NFL franchises have equal histories, but the Chiefs have got to be among the tops. From Jan Stenerud's regulation-ending miss, to the few-but-costly misses of Nick Lowery, to Lin Elliot's three-miss day in the playoffs against the Colts in the 1995 season. Throw in the epic, end-of-season match between the Raiders and Chiefs on January 2, 2000, where "kickoff specialist" Jon Baker -- a guy the team brought in seemingly days prior -- put three kickoffs out of bounds to give the Raiders excellent field position, and ultimately the win, and don't forget last year's draft debacle in Justin Medlock, or even Herm's (one of many) oops in selecting Nick Novak over Connor Barth just this past season, the history of Chief kickers is rich with head-slappers. (Note: For the record, Baker is now on Billy Cundiff's staff, another kicker the Chiefs have brought in -- for reasons unknown to anyone -- for workouts on numerous occasions. Hell, they even signed the kid this past off-season. Also of note is that the staff also employs a guy who's last name appears to be pronounced "home-wrecker," and one of my favorite Chris Bermanisms, Michael "Come Esta" Husted.)

But I do indeed digress.

Podolak got multiple mentions, and even quick stat appearance, in last week's Colts-Chargers game, as San Diego midget Darren Sproles almost eclipsed that Christmas Day '71 record. Sproles put up 328 all-purpose yards in the contest, including two scores. Podolak, in his record-setting day some 38 years ago, "carried the ball 17 times for 85 yards, caught eight passes for 110 yards, returned three kickoffs for 153 yards, and ran back 2 punts for 2 yards" giving him a net of 350 on the day.

Since 1982, Podolak has been part of the Iowa Hawkeyes radio team, and when there was some Outback Bowl partying to be done this year, the Chiefs Hall-of-Famer wasn't shy about joining. And as TBL reports, this isn't per se, a first for the color commentator:

"In 1997, Iowa City police charged Podolak with public intoxication and interference with official acts after campus police found him sleeping in the grass on the University of Iowa Pentacrest. At the time of the arrest, a blood test found he had a blood-alcohol level of 0.23."

Wow. Point two three. That's pretty impressive, even to the Bon Scotts and the John Bonhams of the drinking world. Needless to say, it will be interesting to see if his services are retained. Regardless, that's one heck of a 'stache, a fashion-piece TBL says is most certainly

on the comeback trail. One could argue that the trend started right here in good ol' Kansas City. Sure, it's been six years. But you know, these things take time.