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The 1971 AFC Divisional Playoff Game between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Miami Dolphins, played on Christmas day, was a seesaw battle of touchdowns and field goals that didn’t end until halfway through a second overtime period. The marathon game lasted eighty-two minutes and forty seconds and by all accounts was one of the most exciting games ever played.
The Kansas City Chiefs offense directed by Hall of Fame quarterback Len Dawson, scored the first two times they had the ball and led 10-0, at the end of the first quarter. In the second quarter, the Dolphins - with their Hall of Fame quarterback Bob Griese - added 10 points of their own to end the first half deadlocked.
Both teams scored touchdowns in the third quarter. In the fourth, the Chiefs scored another to take the lead 24-17. However, with 1:25 remaining in regulation play the Dolphins scored to once again tie the game. On the next play Chiefs running back Ed Podolak returned the Dolphins kick 78 yards to the Miami 22 yard line. Three more plays advanced the ball to the 15. With just 35 seconds left and sensing a victory, Jan Stenerud missed a game-winning field goal. With the score tied 24-24, the game went into overtime.
Both teams missed scoring opportunities in the first overtime. Stenerud had a 42-yard field goal attempt blocked and the Dolphins’ placekicker Garo Yepremian missed a 52-yarder. Finally halfway through the sixth quarter, Yepremian got another chance. This time his 37-yard attempt was good and the Dolphins won 27-24.
Although a total of 13 future Hall of Fame players were suited up that day, the real star was Chiefs’ running back Ed Podolak. In one of the greatest post-season performances ever, Podolak 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. For the day, Podolak gained a combined total of 350 yards.
Box Score >>>
Bobby Bell (LOLB), Buck Buchanan (RDT), Curley Culp (DT), Len Dawson (QB), Lamar Hunt (owner), Willie Lanier (MLB), Jan Stenerud (K), Hank Stram (coach), Emmitt Thomas (CB)