Len Dawson, the Kansas City Chiefs quarterback who led the team to a now legendary Super Bowl victory in 1970 and would later establish a successful and long-running career as a sports broadcaster for, among others, NBC and HBO, died today in Kansas City just more than 10 days after entering hospice care. He was 87.
His death was announced by his family. In a statement to Kansas City’s KMBC, where Dawson had previously worked as a sports broadcaster, the family said, “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.”
Dawson, who in the late 1960s and early 1970s rivaled Joe Namath in the football-loving public’s imagination and reverence, had been an infrequently used backup player and had just recovered from a knee injury when he led the Chiefs to the team’s first Super Bowl championship. In a 23-7 routing over Minnesota Vikings, the victory and Dawson’s performance were nearly as dramatic and celebrated as the previous year’s Super Bowl win for Namath’s New York Jets.
Spending 13 of his 19 pro seasons with the Chiefs, Dawson was inducted to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1987.
While still playing footbal, Dawson launched his sports broadcasting career in the mid-1960s with KMBC, forging a professional relationship with the station that would last well into the 2000s. From 1977 to 1982, he was an NBC analyst and from 1977 to 2001 co-hosted HBO’s Inside the NFL. Until 2017, he continued his broadcasting career for the Chief’s radio broadcasts.
In 2012, Dawson was presented with The Hall of Fame’s Pete Rozelle Radio-Television Award.
Survivors include his wife, Linda. Complete information on additional survivors was not immediately available.
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