Iowa radio analyst steps back after 42 seasons: ‘There will never be another Ed Podolak’

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Iowa radio analyst steps back after 42 seasons: ‘There will never be another Ed Podolak’

After 42 seasons in the Iowa radio booth, football color analyst Ed Podolak will step aside as from his game-day role, he announced Monday morning. Podolak, 76, will offer pregame analysis but no longer make the game-day trips of which he is legendary.

“I have decided that this is a good time for me to step back,” Podolak said. “I believe there is no greater honor than to be part of the Iowa Hawkeye Football team. I have loved watching these young men and coaches compete for the past 42 years. Sharing my perspective for the incredible Hawkeye fans from coast to coast has been a thrill.”

Few people were more synonymous with a football program and the party that precedes it than Podolak was with Iowa football. Affable and energetic, Podolak entertained and informed Iowa fans for decades while remaining close to everyone inside the Kinnick Stadium fortress.

“Since his retirement from football, he has been the voice that Iowa fans have counted on for decades. Knowledgeable and passionate — always entertaining the fans across our state and across the country,” Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said.

“There will never be another Ed Podolak.”

Hailing from southwest Iowa, Podolak was Iowa’s quarterback from 1966-68. In his final year, Podolak was a first-team All-Big Ten pick and set a league record with 286 rushing yards against Northwestern. He was the Kansas City Chiefs’ second-round pick in 1969 and put together the greatest single-game postseason performance in NFL history. On Christmas Day in 1971, Podolak compiled an NFL playoff-record 350 all-purpose yards in a 27-24 double-overtime loss to Miami in an AFC divisional playoff. Podolak rushed for 85 yards and caught eight passes for 110 yards. He totaled 155 yards as a kick returner.

In nine seasons with the Chiefs, Podolak had 8,343 all-purpose yards, including 6,907 from scrimmage. He scored 40 touchdowns.

After retiring from the NFL, Podolak worked for NBC as an NFL broadcaster. In 1982, he joined WHO radio in Des Moines and offered commentary alongside Jim Zabel on Iowa football games.

“At that time, I’ve got to tell you, doing neutral broadcasts, it’s just another job,” Podolak told The Athletic. “To have a chance to come back and be part of an Iowa broadcast, I jumped at the opportunity.”

In 1997, Podolak became the sole radio color commentator when Iowa consolidated its radio networks and began working alongside Gary Dolphin. The duo had been in place for 27 years.

Podolak was not immune from public controversies. In 1997, he was arrested for public intoxication after he was found passed out on the University of Iowa’s famed Pentacrest. Then Podolak appeared in multiple inappropriate photos during a bowl trip to Tampa, Fla., in early 2009. He briefly retired, then returned a few months later after promising to remain sober.

In 2011, Podolak was struck by a vehicle while walking across the street in Scottsdale, Ariz. Alcohol was not involved, and Podolak sustained significant injuries. It was a long recovery.

Podolak routinely offered stories of his close friendships with celebrities, such as Jimmy Buffet, and he owned property in Costa Rica.

Hawkeye Sports Properties, the marketing wing of Learfield Sports, will search for Podolak’s replacement in conjunction with Iowa’s athletic department. Among the names floated as Podolak’s replacement is former players Dallas Clark, Chad Greenway, Anthony Herron, Matt Bowen and Danan Hughes.

(Photo: Des Moines Register)