November 10 1975: Kansas City Chiefs 34 – Dallas Cowboys 31
Forty two years ago this week, the Chiefs headed down to Texas to face the Dallas Cowboys in a nationally televised Monday night football game. The Cowboys were a daunting opponent: with Tom Landry as head coach and Roger Staubach under centre, they had started the season with 5 wins out of 7 games. But KC had reasons to be confident, after losing their opening three games, they had won three out of four including a comfortable home victory over the Raiders.
The game started quietly – the highlight, and only scoring play, of the first quarter being a 51 yard field goal from Chiefs kicker Jan Stenerud. But the home fans were cheering early in the second quarter as QB Staubach rushed home from 9 yards out to give Dallas the lead. A field goal padded the lead, but on the Cowboys’ next possession, they lost the ball to a fumble close to their own line, and the ball was scooped up by defensive end John Matuszak for a Kansas City touchdown to level the scores.
After playing college football at Mizzou, Matuszak had been the first pick of the 1973 draft, taken by the Houston Oilers. He moved to Kansas City a year later and this fumble recovery was to be the only score of his 9 year professional career. He made a memorable impact of a very different kind when he switched to acting, appearing as ‘Sloth’ in cult film The Goonies!
The Cowboys re-took the lead quickly, through a Staubach pass to Golden Richards. But on the next drive the Chiefs levelled again, when running back Ed Podolak punched home from a yard out. Within a couple of minutes he repeated the trick, this time with an 11 yard scoring run, to give the Chiefs a 24-17 lead at the break.
Podolak spent his whole playing career in Kansas City, playing 108 games and scoring 42 touchdowns. He was the team’s leading rusher in five separate seasons, as well as accumulating over 2,000 receiving yards. His name was rightly added to the Chiefs ring of honour in 1989.
Into the second half, and it did not take long for the hosts to once again pull level – this time a 47 yard pass from Roger Staubach gave wide receiver Golden Richards his second score of the game. Once again the Chiefs punched back, retaking the lead through another Stenerud field goal, but once again they couldn’t hang on, as future hall of famer Stuabach scored his second rushing touchdown of the game.
The Cowboys took a 31-27 lead into the second quarter, and the scoring finally slowed down. Both sides had drives end quickly, until finally the Chiefs got the ball close to the Cowboys line, and quarterback Mike Livingston connected with Ed Podolak on a 5 yard pass to give Kansas City the win, 34 to 31.
This wasn’t the only time Podolak scored a hat-trick: he had already got three in a game against the Lions earlier in his career, and in 1976 he would go on to repeat the feat in a crushing win over the Cleveland Browns
Elsewhere in the NFL at the time:
An even wilder shoot-out at Orchard Park. Buffalo Bills’ star OJ Simpson thrilled the home crowd early on – by the middle of the second quarter he had over 100 yards from scrimmage and three touchdowns, to give the hosts a 21-0 lead. However, the Baltimore Colts incredibly scored 5 unanswered touchdowns, moving the score from 7-28 to 42-28! A late consolation score was not enough, and the Colts beat the Bills 42-35.
Elsewhere in the world:
Two landmarks in rock history, both happened in London this month: the punk rock icons the Sex Pistols played their first ever gig, while heavy metal legends Iron Maiden were formed.