“Stump the Football Stars”

Sportscaster Dick Enberg was in the news recently as the winner of baseball’s Ford Frick Award. He’s also done some fine football work, of course, calling eight Super Bowls and serving as the radio voice of the Los Angeles Rams. (He’s already, in fact, in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.)

Since we’re closing in on Christmas, I thought I’d post these clips from his syndicated game show, Sports Challenge. This episode pitted three Kansas City Chiefs (quarterback Len Dawson, linebacker Willie Lanier and wide receiver Otis Taylor) against a trio of Miami Dolphins (fullback Larry Csonka, halfback Jim Kiick and wide receiver Paul Warfield) — the year after the teams played their classic Christmas Day playoff game, won by the Dolphins in double overtime, 27-24.

Four of these six guys are now in Canton (Dawson, Lanier, Csonka, Warfield), and another (Taylor) probably belongs there. It’s always surprised me that ESPN hasn’t tried to revive Sports Challenge, just for fun. Who doesn’t enjoy seeing pro athletes stumped by relatively easy questions about their game’s history? Check this out:

Nobody knew the answer – not even Dawson, who at the time of the alleged Greatest Game Ever Played was a third-string quarterback for the Steelers. (The others had yet to play pro ball.) That’s almost — almost — like players not knowing that Adam Vinatieri won Super Bowls XXXVI and XXXVIII for the Patriots. (You know what would have been a great follow-up question, by the way? “For 10 points, what is the correct spelling of Myhra?”)

As I said, though, many of the questions on Sports Challenge weren’t very, well, challenging. Like this one, also about the NFL:

Come on! Do we have to dumb things down that much?

I’ll finish with this clip from earlier in the show. Enberg talks about Garo Yepremian ending the Chiefs-Dolphins overtime thriller with a field goal and asks Csonka, “Where were you at that time?” You’ll love the response:

The players weren’t always well-versed in their game’s history, but at least some of them had a sense of humor.