Hall of Fame quarterback and broadcaster Len Dawson dies at 87

by Seth Udinski

Seth Udinski, FISM News


Hall of fame NFL quarterback and longtime broadcaster Len Dawson has died, according to a statement released by his family. He was 87 years old.

Dawson spent 19 seasons in professional football as a quarterback in the 1960s and 1970s, the bulk of which he played with the powerful Kansas City Chiefs team that lost to the Green Bay Packers in Super Bowl I at the end of the 1966 season. Dawson and the Chiefs rebounded, however, and defeated the Minnesota Vikings in Super Bowl IV at the end of the 1969 campaign.

Dawson was an impressive talent. Chief’s head coach Hank Stram once referred to him as “the most accurate passer in pro football.”

Though he played well in both Super Bowl games, it was the 23-7 win in Super Bowl IV that solidified his legacy when Dawson threw a brilliant 46-yard touchdown pass. It was an impressive win in which the AFL’s Chiefs were the heavy underdog against the “Purple People Eaters” Vikings powerhouse of the NFL under Bud Grant. The win solidified the AFL as a legitimate contender to the NFL and was instrumental in the league merger the following year.

Dawson was listed as the alternate on the AFL’s all-time greatest team behind Jets’ Hall of Fame QB Joe Namath. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1987 as a player, but his contribution to the game went well beyond his on-the-field talent.

Beginning while he was still a player, Dawson was a proficient broadcaster. He began his career in Kansas City during his playing days and went on to great success behind the microphone, including a lengthy stint as the host of “Inside the NFL” and as a color analyst for NFL games on NBC.

In an impressive double-feat, Dawson was elected into the Hall of Fame for a second time in 2012, this time as an NFL broadcaster.

Dawson was predeceased by his first wife Jackie in 1978. He is survived by his second wife Linda, as well as two children from his first marriage.