December 25, 2020

Christmas Day NFL Games Aren't That Unprecedented: The New Orleans Saints and Minnesota Vikings play today at 4:30 Eastern. Though Christmas Day has become known for the day-long slate of NBA games, the NFL occasionally schedules games on the holiday as well. It has played 21 of them since the first occurred in 1971 between the Vikings and Dallas Cowboys. Jeff Kerr of CBS Sports shares more factoids about Christmas Day football than anybody wanted to know.

posted by rcade to football at 02:01 PM - 1 comment

Sorry to say that Jeff Kerr's more factoids than we wanted to know actually contain much less than we should know.

On 12/25/71, Ed Podolak of the Chiefs gained 85 yards rushing and 110 yards receiving for a total of 195 combined yards from scrimmage which would put him at number two on the yards from scrimmage list, yet he is not mentioned at all. Roger Craig at number one gained his total of 205 in multiple games. If you just counted single game totals, Podolak would be at the top of the list.

But that's not all Podolak did on that transcendent day. He also returned three kickoffs for a total of 154 yards - an average of over 50 yards per return.

So if anyone is tallying combined all purpose yardage or whatever it was called back then, Podolak racked up an insane 349 total yards, all with his legs. He was truly heroic in defeat and was the living embodiment of "he left it all out there on the field".

And on that day, he wasn't even the Chiefs' leading rusher, and was only their leading receiver by 6 yards. So they weren't feeding him the ball on every play.

Some may want to discount Podolak's achievement because he gained his totals in a double overtime game, but if you watch the game film and see how obviously exhausted he was at the end of regulation, you'd be amazed that he answered the whistle for overtime at all.

On edit: whoops, my bad. I scrolled too fast and didn't see that there is no Yards From Scrimmage list for Christmas games, just for Friday games. So you can't compare Podolak to the Friday list since his Christmas game was on a Saturday. (There also should have been a Yards from Scrimmage list for Christmas games but oh well).

I would still like to see an all purpose yards list for either Christmas or Friday games to see if anyone has ever exceeded Podolak's total of 349.

posted by beaverboard at 03:23 PM on December 25, 2020

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