Len Dawson, a Hall of Fame quarterback who led the Kansas City Chiefs to a Super Bowl IV title, has passed away at the age of 87. His family provided a statement to local news station KMBC, where Dawson had worked as a sports broadcaster.
“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.”
The family did not announce a cause of death, but Dawson had entered hospice care earlier this month.
Len Dawson Was One of the Greatest Quarterbacks in History
After spending the first five years of his professional career as a backup in Pittsburgh and Cleveland, Dawson signed with the Dallas Texans of the AFL prior to the 1962 season. He led the team to a league championship that year, and then the franchise moved to Kansas City and rebranded as the Chiefs.
Dawson helped them win AFL titles in 1966 and 1969, earning Super Bowl appearances in both campaigns. Kansas City lost to Green Bay in Super Bowl I in their first try. But the Chiefs took home the Super Bowl IV title by defeating Minnesota on January 11, 1970. Dawson completed 12-of-17 passes for 142 yards – including a 46-yard touchdown pass to Otis Taylor – and was named the MVP.
Current Chiefs chairman Clark Hunt also released a statement on Dawson’s passing, via ESPN:
“Len Dawson is synonymous with the Kansas City Chiefs. Len embraced and came to embody Kansas City and the people that call it home. You would be hard-pressed to find a player who had a bigger impact in shaping the organization as we know it today than Len did. I admired Len my entire life — first as a Hall of Fame player on the field, and later as he transitioned into a successful broadcasting career. Throughout his remarkable career, Len made it a priority to give back to the community that he loved. The franchise has lost a true legend. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Linda and his family.”
Dawson went on to play 19 seasons and finished his NFL career with 28,711 passing yards and 239 touchdowns. From 1962-to-1969, he led the AFL in completion percentage seven times and passer rating six times.
Len Dawson was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1987.