Len Dawson, Kansas City Chiefs Quaterback, Died At 87

Len Dawson, a legendary player, and broadcaster for the Kansas City Chiefs, passed away recently. He was 87 years old.

A statement from the Dawson family reads:  “With wife Linda at his side, it is with much sadness that we inform you of the passing of our beloved Len Dawson. He was a wonderful husband, father, brother, and friend. Len was always grateful and many times overwhelmed by the countless bonds he made during his football and broadcast careers.

“He loved Kansas City, and no matter where his travels took him, he could not wait to return home.

“Linda wants to acknowledge and thank the wonderful team of doctors, nurses, and support staff at KU Med who showed tremendous amounts of love and compassion for Len.” 

The family of the popular player is extremely sad about his death.

Len Dawson Passed Away at 87

Len Dawson was the backbone of the Kansas City Chiefs for many years. He led the team to its first Super Bowl appearance in 1967 and its first Super Bowl victory in 1970.

Even though he went on to have a successful career as a sports broadcaster at KMBC 9, on the radio, and on network and cable television, Chiefs fans will always remember him for his stellar playing career. Throughout his career, Dawson never stopped hoping that the Chiefs would return to the Super Bowl. And at age 41, in 1976, Dawson retired from playing.

“I am the seventh son of a seventh son. And all my life, they said, ‘Hey, that’s great. That’s good luck,'” Dawson said in 1987 as he entered the Pro Football Hall of Fame. “The people of Kansas City, for those of you who don’t know those folks, it’s some kind of town.”

Kansas City embraced him, too. After growing up in Alliance, Ohio, he went to Purdue University. When asked about his decision to attend Purdue University, Dawson responded, “One, it’s a great university, and secondly, their offense threw the football.”

Legendary Purdue coach Hank Stram would go on to play a crucial role in his professional career. But he started his NFL career with some rather unremarkable years in Pittsburgh and Cleveland.

Len Dawson death
Len Dawson death

Then the NFL (National Football League) emerged. After that, Hank Stram would take over as head coach of the Texans in Kansas City after the team relocated there from Dallas. In Dallas, and especially in Kansas City, Dawson’s football career took off. He was known as “Lenny the Cool” due to his pinpoint passes and calm demeanor.

Since he and his team had so much success, they could play in the first Super Bowl against Vince Lombardi and the Green Bay Packers. Dawson did a good job, but the Packers were just too strong for the Chiefs, who lost 35–10.

“I think the Kansas City team is a really tough football team, but it doesn’t compare with the National Football League teams,” Lombardi said at the time.

Dawson didn’t like that. “Ticked me off,” he said, looking back. “Ticked all of us off, so we wanted another opportunity, and, fortunately, in Super Bowl 4 against the Minnesota Vikings,” the team got it.

The Chiefs returned to action on January 11, 1970, taking on another heavily favored NFL team, the Minnesota Vikings.

Continuing his strong play, Dawson completed six of his first seven passes.

“Pump it in there, baby. Keep matriculating the ball down the field, boys,” Stram said.

Kansas City was up at halftime, thanks to their consistent offense and stifling defense. But Dawson’s 46-yard touchdown to Otis Taylor in the third quarter put the game out of reach for the Chiefs.

“It was overwhelming,” Dawson said. “It’s just, you know how that relief comes with, you know it’s over with, and we’ve been successful. That’s the feeling that I had when I came off the field. Got back to Kansas City for the parade. Now that’s another story.”

After the fourth Super Bowl, Dawson was voted the game’s MVP.

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