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Will the Ghost of Christmas Past show up for Dolphins-Chiefs?

Ari Russell



(USA Today - Jason Vinlove)

When the Miami Dolphins and Kansas City Chiefs line up on Christmas Eve on Sunday they will both still be in playoff contention. This match up however has some serious history behind it. On Christmas Day in 1971 the Dolphins and Chiefs would tangle in an epic double overtime playoff game that is still the longest game in NFL history and considered one of the greatest NFL games ever to be played.

The game would end after Dolphins kick Garo Yepremian would nail a 37 yard field goal with 7:40 left in the second overtime to give the Dolphins the 27-24 win.

This was indeed a crazy game that included a huge game from the Chiefs Ed Podolak who finished with 350 all purpose yards, 17 carries for 85 yards, 8 catches for 110 yards, 3 kick off returns for 154 yards and two punt returns for two yards. That is still a playoff record and fourth all time overall. Chiefs running back Wendall Hayes had 100 yards rushing.

Dolphins wide receiver Paul Warfield had 7 receptions for 140 yards which was his playoff record. Hall of Fame Linebacker Nick Buoniconti would end the game with 20 tackles.

What a classic game with Dolphins QB Bob Griese going head to head against Chiefs QB Len Dawson. It was classic coaches in Don Shula and Hank Stram. Miami would end up losing to the Dallas Cowboys in the Super Bowl that year.

Let’s fast forward to the present day where these two teams won’t clash on Christmas Day but on Christmas Eve. We aren’t in the playoffs but both teams are vying for a playoff spot. For the Dolphins this is a must win.

It will be hard to measure the parallels here though other than the time of year this game is played. Jay Cutler certainly is no Bob Griese and Alex Smith certainly is not the second coming of Len Dawson. That said Alex Smith is having a career year and it looks like the Chiefs are in good position to win the division. At least they control their own destiny.

As for Jay Cutler, well I’ve already made my position clear on the Dolphins QB. Yet again he’s in another clutch game and we know how Jay Cutler is in the clutch.

Either way it would be cool for this game to go down to the wire and be as exciting as the game 46 years ago. We shall see, but there is playoff implications on the line which certainly ads to intrigue.

Born in the Nation’s Capital, Washington D.C., Ari Russell watched the rise of the 1980’s Miami Hurricanes and knew that he had to be part of the “U” someday. After graduating from Coral Gables, Ari rose through the ranks of the former XM Satellite Radio and then Sirius/XM as college football executive producer. He later spent 2 seasons as the publisher of the website “Beyond U Sports” focusing on major college football/basketball. Ari brings a great perspective on everything Miami, including the Dolphins to F.F.I.

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