Fifty years, time sure flies by.
In January 1970, the Kansas City Chiefs defeated the Minnesota Vikings in Super Bowl IV. They haven't been back to the championship game since.
A lot of the time, you become a fan of a team in your youth. For me, it came that way with the Chiefs in the late 1960s and early 1970s.
My father, who is not really a big sports fan, did have the habit of watching Chiefs games while I was growing up. It was a family activity.
For much of the 1970s, Ed Podolak was a running back for the Chiefs. He was never a standout, but Podolak was the type of player if he was on the other team, you wouldn't remember him five minutes after the game was done. And if he was on your team, you mostly liked him.
Mostly liked him.
For some reason, Dad was not a big Podolak fan. Part of it may be because while he did play on the Super Bowl IV champion, the majority of his career came during the Chiefs' decline throughout the decade that made the team increasingly less fun to watch.
So at least once a Sunday afternoon with the Kansas City offense on the field, Dad would declare "Don't give the ball to Podolak!" He was convinced Podolak was good for a fumble, likely at the costliest point of the game.
A search for Podolak's career statistics show he ran 1,157 times for 4,451 yards and caught 288 passes for another 2,456 yards in his career. He had 42 career fumbles, including a league-high 10 in the 1972 season. So indeed, he had a hard time holding onto the ball at times. But not every time.
These days, if the Chiefs game is on TV while at least one of of my other siblings is around, you can count on at least one "Don't give the ball to Podolak!" to be bellowed. I've seen grandkids left shaking their heads in shame and innocent bystanders convinced the Rackers' have lost their minds and wondering what exactly is a Podolak?
Fandom can change, life has a way of doing that. I used to get together with a group of people every Sunday to watch Chiefs games. But for me, that changed when the decision was made to shift from an afternoon to a morning newspaper. That meant working a lot of Sundays. And if I wasn't working, I was doing something else with the day off. After covering other various games throughout the week, clearing out time to watch another one wasn't a high priority.
But the Chiefs are the team of my youth and I'm still a fan. If someone would have told 7-year-old me in 1970 it would be 50 years before the Chiefs got back to the Super Bowl, I wouldn't have believed it.
Today is special, especially for all the 7-year-olds getting to see their team play in the Super Bowl for the first time. I can guarantee you with Patrick Mahomes at quarterback, it won't be another 50 years before the Chiefs get back.
Getting to the Super Bowl has eased the postseason heartbreak the Chiefs have caused through the years.
Lin Elliott and his inability to make field goals, forgiven.
The Chiefs defense that couldn't force the Colts to punt, forgiven.
The Chiefs offense that couldn't score enough despite holding the Steelers to six field goals, forgiven.
Dee Ford, well, ask me around 9:30 p.m. today. That wound is still a little fresh.
Today, in the immortal words of Hank Stram, "just keep metriculating the ball down the field boys" perhaps with the "65 Toss Power Trap" and the Chiefs will bring home the Lombardi Trophy.