This jarring e-mail came to me early Monday evening from Laura Podolak, the daughter of Iowa football radio announcer Ed Podolak:
University of Iowa football color commentator and former Kansas City Chiefs running back Ed Podolak suffered serious injuries when he was hit by a car outside his hotel in Scottsdale, Ariz. early Sunday morning. Podolak suffered major injuries, but is in stable condition at a Scottsdale area hospital. Police say alcohol was not a factor in the crash.
The Podolak family appreciates your concern, but requests privacy while Mr. Podolak continues to recover from his injuries.
On Monday night’s Fran McCaffery radio show, host Gary Dolphin confirmed Podolak was in Arizona to attend a friend’s wedding. Dolphin said Podolak had “broken legs, broken ribs.” He was a pedestrian.
Laura Podolak was a women’s basketball player at Iowa. She is the president of the San Francisco-Bay Area Iowa Club.
Ed Podolak is a former Iowa/Kansas City Chiefs running back. He lives in northern California, and commutes to Iowa football games to do color commentary. He has held that role since 1982.
For the last four or five years (I honestly don’t remember which), I have been on paid-for spots at the end of games on the Iowa radio broadcasts. The Gazette and TheGazette.com get promoted, I do a little postgame thing with play-by-play man Gary Dolphin (and sometimes Podolak) in which I try to put some quick perspective into what we’ve just seen. I always hope I haven’t made too big a fool of myself before heading to the press conferences and my more-natural element, asking other people questions and taking notes.
I haven’t fully enjoyed the radio role because I think it leaves an impression that I and my organization are part of the Iowa team. Nothing’s much worse in my racket that giving people reason to call you a homer. I just want each game and season to be interesting, to provide good grist for the mill. In that regard, the 2009 and 2010 seasons were both packed with good material.
But I have enjoyed the immense challenge of trying to offer some sort of original take in those few minutes on the radio after listeners got three hours of a genuine original in Podolak. I’ve written it before and will write it again. He’s as good as it gets for color men in football broadcasting, anywhere. I have satellite radio and have been able to hear the NFL teams’ radio broadcasts. I have yet to hear a color guy as good as Podolak.
He’s totally partial, yes. So what? He tells you what is and isn’t going on in a way that both serious football folks and casual fans can both learn from. And best of all, he does it with some personality that is full of fun and enthusiasm, but not overbearing. There’s a lot of overbearing out there.
So I’ve really enjoyed being a tiny part of a broadcast that includes Podolak. I don’t know what his injuries are at this point. But I’m selfish like so many Hawkeye fans are in hoping his injuries heal cleanly and quickly and that he comes back to Iowa City in full voice and good health in September.