Len Dawson, Pro Football Hall of Fame QB and broadcaster, dies at 87

Len Dawson, the Hall of Fame quarterback who also had an award-winning career in broadcasting, has died, his family announced Wednesday. He was 87.

“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. “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.”

His family had confirmed to KMBC-TV, where Dawson once worked, in mid-August that he had entered hospice care.

Dawson, who grew up in Alliance, Ohio, not far from where the Pro Football Hall of Fame would be built, was named MVP of the 1970 Super Bowl as the Kansas City Chiefs defeated the Minnesota Vikings 23-7. He completed 12 of 17 passes for 142 yards and a touchdown.

He was drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers fifth overall out of Purdue in 1957 but wasn’t used much by the Steelers or Cleveland Browns and didn’t take off until he went to the American Football League with the Dallas Texans in 1962. There he reunited with former Purdue assistant coach Hank Stram.

“I was awful after five years of not playing,” Dawson said in his Hall of Fame acceptance speech. “The skills that I once had were gone. …. (Stram) stayed with me, he thought there was something there. You know what else he did, he surrounded me with great players.”

Dallas went 11-3 and won the AFL title before the team moved to Kansas City the following season. Dawson was named AFL player of the year.

He was a three-time AFL champion, seven-time Pro Bowler and two-time All-Pro. He led the league in touchdown passes four times and the AFL or NFL in completion percentage eight times. He won the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award in 1973.

He finished his career with a 57.1 completion percentage, 28,711 passing yards and 239 passing touchdowns.

He retired after the 1975 season and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1987.

“He was a natural leader. He was captain of his Alliance football team, Purdue, the Dallas Texans and the Kansas City Chiefs,” Stram said in introducing Dawson on induction day. “He led by example and the bigger the game, the better he played. He was our man of the moment.”

On the broadcast side, Dawson was sports anchor for KMBC-TV and an analyst for NBC and the Chiefs’ radio network. He was best known for his work with HBO’s “Inside the NFL.”

Dawson received the Hall of Fame’s Pete Rozelle Radio-Television Award in 2012 before retiring from the Chiefs network in 2017.

Contributing: Associated Press

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Len Dawson, Hall of Fame QB and broadcaster, dies at 87

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