Dan Dierforf's final season as an NFL television analyst would not have been complete without a trip to Arrowhead Stadium.
So Dierdorf, who is retiring at the end of the 2013 season, was excited he and play-by-play partner Greg Gumbel were assigned to work Sunday's Chiefs-Colts game.
Because of the Chiefs' poor record last year, Dierdorf and Gumbel, considered CBS' No. 2 crew, did not call a Chiefs game last year. And he missed the sights and smells of the barbeque wafting from the parking lots.
"I love to eat, I love food, and that drive across the parking lot on Sunday morning to get to the TV trucks is the best smelling drive in the NFL," said Dierdorf, who lives in St. Louis.
"I'm not just saying this because I'm going to be there this weekend, but Arrowhead has always been in my mind, the closest NFL environment to a collegiate experience. It's the closest thing to going to a college football game, whether it be Lincoln ... Ann Arbor ... Columbus, Ohio."
Dierdorf, who spent 12 years as an analyst for ABC's Monday Night football before returning in 1999 to CBS, where he began his network career in 1985, is retiring after 30 years in the booth. The wear and tear of travel has taken its toll on Dierdorf, 64, who has two artificial knees and two artificial hips resulting from a 13-year Hall of Fame career with the St. Louis Cardinals.
Dierdorf has called some memorable games, including several involving the Chiefs.
One of his favorites was the Monday night game in Denver in 1994 when the Chiefs' Joe Montana pulled out a comeback win over Denver, prompting Dierdorf to exclaim, "Lord, you can take me know, I have seen it all."
"If you're a broadcaster, you live for the opportunity to be part of something you know is historic; that makes it fun," said Dierdorf. "We knew that was the last time we were going to see John Elway and Montana on a field together again, and to have it turn out the way it did, with both of them taking their team down the field at the end of the game, it was pretty extraordinary."
Dierdorf's most memorable game at Arrowhead occurred in a Monday night game in 1995 when Tamarick Vanover returned a punt 86 yards against San Diego in overtime, for the first game in NFL history to end in overtime on a punt return.
"I know all these stadiums are jockeying to see who could crack the decibel meter," Dierdorf said, "but I never heard noise like I heard at Arrowhead Stadium. It was one of those where he was in the clear for like 80 yards ... the noise, I thought the stadium was going to disintegrate.
"They didn't just celebrate when the play was over, they got to celebrate while the play was happening. That doesn't happen very often."
The only Chiefs game Dierdorf has covered this season was their 23-13 win at Buffalo on Nov. 3, and he likes Kansas City's chances in the post-season.
"They've got balance," said Dierdorf. "That's one of the things I look for at this time a year. If you have to rely on one of your units, much more than the others, you're in trouble. One off game by either your offense or your defense, and you're out. That's where I think the Chiefs have something going for them.
"They're stout defensively ... they create a lot of turnovers. Offensively, they don't turn the ball over, so in the AFC ... they have two losses to Denver, so you've got to give Denver a leg up, but I think the AFC is wide open."
Dierdorf, along with former Chiefs quarterback and radio analyst Len Dawson, Frank Gifford and John Madden, are the only members of both the Pro Football Hall of Fame and recipients of the Hall's Pete Rozelle Award for excellence in broadcasting.
One of his lasting memories as a player came during his rookie season when the Cardinals visited Dawson's Chiefs for a1971 preseason game at old Municipal Stadium and Dierdorf saw the likes of Buck Buchanan, Ernie Ladd, Curley Culp, Bobby Bell and Willie Lanier.
"It was the most demoralizing moment of my young life," Dierdorf said. "I'm a rookie warming up in our end zone, and the Chiefs are warming up in their end zone, and from 100 yards away, I'm saying, 'That is the largest collection of human beings I've ever seen.'
"And we broke from our goal line to run up to midfield, and they did it at the same time, and somewhere during the course of that journey, I realized they were wearing t-shirts. They didn't even have their shoulder pads on. I thought, 'Oh, my God.'
"Looking back on it, no wonder we didn't run the ball worth a hoot."
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