Nov. 10, 2014
- Hawkeye Football Game Day
- 2014 Fall Camp Central
- Read the November issue of Hawk Talk Monthly
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- Big Ten Network: Free Hawkeye Video
- 24 Hawkeyes to Watch
Editor’s Note: The following first appeared in the University of Iowa’s Hawk Talk Daily, an e-newsletter that offers a daily look at the Iowa Hawkeyes, delivered free each morning to thousands of fans of the Hawkeyes worldwide. To receive daily news from the Iowa Hawkeyes, sign up HERE.
By DARREN MILLER
IOWA CITY, Iowa — A humble farm boy from Atlantic, Iowa, reached another milestone Saturday at TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis.
Ed Podolak enjoyed several groundbreaking moments as a football player at the University of Iowa and for the Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs. After his professional football career ended in 1977, Podolak worked as an analyst for NFL telecasts on NBC. In 1982 he began as a commentator for University of Iowa football games for WHO radio in Des Moines.
On Nov. 8 — in his 32nd season on the airwaves — Podolak worked his 400th Hawkeye football game.
“I have seen a lot,” Podolak said before Iowa’s contest against the Golden Gophers. “I have had 32 years of pretty exciting and rewarding football. I have been to a lot of bowl games and worked with two great professionals in Jim Zabel at WHO and Gary Dolphin when we went to the Learfield Network.”
Podolak called 204 games coached by Hayden Fry from 1982-98 and 196 games coached by Kirk Ferentz from 1999-present. He has been to 11 different bowls a total of 24 times.
“It’s kind of like continuing your years of college, because you get to hang out with the athletes, knowing that they’re going to school as well as playing football,” Podolak said. “They are living the life I remember as being some of the best times of my life. To see them enjoying it and to be part of it as they enjoy it is very rewarding.”
“If kids don’t know him, their parents have informed them as to who he is and what he did. He is just a farm boy from Atlantic. He kind of poo-poos it, but it’s fun to hear people come up to him and say they remember when he played for the Chiefs or for Iowa.”
Gary Dolphin on
analyst Ed Podolak
Podolak lettered for the Hawkeyes from 1966-68, playing quarterback and later tailback under Ray Nagel. His years at quarterback helped mold him into the outstanding analyst he is today.
“I learned the game as a quarterback,” Podolak said. “When I went to the NFL and played as a tailback, I had Len Dawson as the quarterback (with the Chiefs). I used to study the offensives and defenses with him to help our understanding of what we were doing in the passing game. Learning it as a quarterback, where you have to know everyone’s position, helps you understand more about the overall assignments of people than if you were playing another position.”
The ease at which Podolak describes situations for his listening audience is what impresses Dolphin. When Podolak explains a play, Dolphin says, an eighth grader, someone with a Ph.D., or the most passionate football fan can relate.
“He paints such a great visual with fervor like I have never been around,” Dolphin said. “He can make it real simple or real educated, but everybody understands what he is saying.”
While Dolphin totes binoculars to the press box every Saturday, Podolak refuses an up-close view of the action. He wants to see the entire field, rather than isolate on a position.
“He said, `I want to see the defense, I want to see the whole field and what they’re doing,’ Dolphin said of Podolak. “That is part of his shtick when he can describe the play so well afterward. It’s rare when you can’t wait to get it to your analyst after every play, but I just tap Eddie and say `go’ because people want to hear what he has to say.”
A majority of Hawkeye fans would agree with Podolak’s favorite games: No. 1 Iowa 12, No. 2 Michigan 10 on Oct. 19, 1985; Iowa 29, Ohio State 27 on Nov. 14, 1987; Iowa 30, Louisiana State University 25 in the Capital One Bowl on Jan. 1, 2005.
After 32 years, Podolak hasn’t missed a beat. Instead, Dolphin says he is better than ever.
“He hasn’t lost his touch,” Dolphin said.
Podolak remains one of the most popular figures associated with the Hawkeye football program.
“If kids don’t know him, their parents have informed them as to who he is and what he did,” Dolphin said. “He is just a farm boy from Atlantic. He kind of poo-poos it, but it’s fun to hear people come up to him and say they remember when he played for the Chiefs or for Iowa.”
Game No. 401 for Podolak will be Saturday at Illinois. Kickoff is scheduled for 11 a.m. (CT).