Among the list of accolades on Hall of Fame quarterback Len Dawson’s resumé are a Super Bowl MVP award, three AFL championships, one Walter Payton Man of the Year award, seven Pro Bowl honors and two First Team All-Pro nods. The legendary signal-caller has passed away at the age of 87, according to his family.
“With wife Linda at his side, it is with much sadness that we inform you of the passing of our beloved Len 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. 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 was selected fifth overall by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 1957 NFL Draft and spent the first three years of his career with the franchise, playing 19 games, almost exclusively off of the bench. He was with the Cleveland Browns in 1960 and 1961, but played in just nine games and made only one start, before joining the Dallas Texans of the AFL in 1962.
Dawson led the league in completion percentage (61.0), yards gained per pass attempt (8.9) and quarterback rating (98.3) among other categories that season, while being named First Team All-Pro and securing his first Pro Bowl nod. The Texans became the Kansas City Chiefs in 1963 and Dawson spent the rest of his playing career through 1975 with the franchise, which included the AFL-NFL merger.
He helped lead the Chiefs to the Super Bowl IV title over the Minnesota Vikings in 1970, capturing MVP honors after going 12-for-17 for 142 passing yards, one touchdown and one interception. Dawson is the Chiefs franchise leader in wins for a quarterback (93), passes completed (2,115) passing yards (28,507) and passing touchdowns (237) among other categories.
The Alliance, OH native was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame as a player in 1987 and as a broadcaster in 2012.