Hall of Fame QB Len Dawson, who led the Kansas City Chiefs to Super Bowl IV, has died at the age of 87

Hall of Fame QB Len Dawson, who led the Kansas City Chiefs to Super Bowl IV, has died at the age of 87

Lynne Dawson, who led the Kansas City Chiefs to victory in Super Bowl 4 and was elected to the Professional Football Hall of Fame as a player and announcer, has died at the age of 87, according to his family.

“With wife Linda by his side, we are deeply saddened to inform you of the passing of our beloved Lynne Dawson,” the family said in a statement to KMBC in Kansas City, where Lawson previously worked as a sports broadcaster. “He was a wonderful husband, father, brother and friend. Lynn has always been grateful and overwhelmed him many times with the myriad bonds he made during his football and radio career.

“He loved Kansas City, and no matter where his travels took him, he couldn’t wait to go home.”

Dawson, who entered aged care in Kansas City on August 12, has worked for The Chiefs for nearly half a century: 14 years as mediators and 33 as a radio analyst.

He spent the first five years of his 19-season career as a little-used backup for the Pittsburgh Steelers and Cleveland Browns, but his career took off after he was signed in 1962 to play for the Dallas Texans in the NFL (soon to be Kansas City) Chiefs ) to play under the leadership of Hank Stram, who was an assistant at Purdue during Dawson’s stellar team career.

The man Stram once called “the most accurate pass in professional football” immediately showed that he deserved to be the team’s number one quarterback, leading the AFL in achievement percentage (61.0) and winning the 1962 Player of the Year award while carrying the Texans to the title. league.

After moving to Kansas City the following year, the team’s success continued under Dawson, who was a seven-time All-Star/Pro Bowler and two-time first Pro All-Team.

In 1966, the Leaders took to another NFL title, which for the first time meant a trip to what became known as the Super Bowl. Dawson played well (16 of 27, 211 yards), but the Chiefs were overpowered by Vince Lombardi’s Green Bay Packers in a 35-10 loss.

The Chiefs returned after three seasons to face the Minnesota Vikings at Super Bowl IV. Although Joe Namath and the New York Jets upset the Baltimore Colts the year before, the NFL was still seen as superior and the Vikings came as a double-digit favorite.

But the Kansas City defense dominated and Dawson played a typical strong game (12 of 17, 142 yards), including a 46-yard touchdown pass to Otis Taylor in the third quarter that sealed a 23-7 win.

Dawson was named the second-team quarterback, behind Namath, on the NFL’s All-Time Team in 1970.

He was elected to the Professional Football Hall of Fame as a player in 1987 and as an announcer in 2012, after a television and radio career that began as a sports broadcaster on Kansas City Television in 1966 while still playing for the Chiefs, often going to KMBC after rehearsal to broadcast the report athlete for that night. Dawson went on to become a game analyst on NBC as well as a longtime host of HBO’s Inside the NFL.

After a string of health issues that included prostate cancer and quadruple heart surgery, Dawson retired from broadcasting in 2017 after 33 years as a radio color analyst for the Chiefs.

Dawson remained a well-liked figure in Kansas City, although he reduced his public appearances several years ago when his health began to decline. But he’s always had time for fans, whether it’s a photograph or an autograph, often the latter on an iconic black-and-white image from the first half of the first Super Bowl: a tired quarterback, a white uniform covered in mud, sitting at a folding table-chair with a cigarette In his mouth and a bottle of fresca at his feet.

You captured time and space perfectly. It has captured a man who personified poise and self-confidence.

Born on June 20, 1935, Dawson is the ninth of 11 children who filled the James and Annie Dawson home in the industrial town of Alliance, Ohio. He was a three-sport athlete at Alliance High School, set records in soccer and basketball, and turned his success on the courts into a scholarship offer from Purdue.

There, Dawson led the NCAA in passing efficiency as a sophomore while also playing defense and kicking, and helped lead an unforgettable upset for Notre Dame during the 1954 season. By the end of his college career, Dawson had thrown for more than 3,000 yards despite playing in the Era He preferred ground and pound football, and was selected by the Steelers in the first round of the 1957 draft.

He eventually succeeded with The Chiefs, and when he hung up his helmet after the 1975 season, Dawson retired with 28,711 career passing yards and 239 touchdowns. All but 204 yards and two touchdowns came with the Chiefs’ franchise.

Dawson was married to his high school sweetheart, Jackie, from 1954 until her death in 1978, and together they had two children. His second wife, Linda, remained by his side even when Dawson was forced into hospice care.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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