KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Kansas City said goodbye to legendary Chiefs quarterback Len Dawson on Friday.
Dawson leaves behind a legacy that impacts several generations of Kansas Citians and includes two Super Bowls and Hall of Fame inductions as a player and broadcaster.
Hundreds gathered to pay their respects at his funeral Friday morning at Country Club Christian Church. With the service open to the public, everyone from family and friends to longtime fans were able to reminisce on special memories.
“You know they say that one of the ways you can measure the greatness of someone is could you write the story of what they did and leave out their name,” sports broadcaster Kevin Harlan said. “Talk about Super Bowls, talk about NFL history, you talk about Big Ten history and you couldn’t do it. Len Dawson’s name would have to be included every time.”
You can watch a replay of the full service in the video player below.
A number of speakers gathered to remember “Lenny the Cool” and his legacy Friday.
“I was fortunate to watch Len play when I was a child, to listen to his broadcasts during my formative years and to get to know him as a man as I took over a leadership of the Chiefs,” Chiefs owner Clark Hunt said. “So today I stand before you not simply as a representative of the Chiefs, but also as a fan.”
“The one thing we know for sure is that there will never be another Len Dawson.”
Other speakers included Chiefs teammate Bobby Bell, broadcaster Dan Israel, Congressman Emmanuel Cleaver II, Adrian Allison, Dino Dinovitz, Sarah Smith and John Crumley.
“A great broadcaster makes a personal connection in the ability to connect with people,” Israel said. “It gave him the ability to lead, it gave him the ability to influence. It didn’t matter if it was on radio, television, in the huddle or a casual encounter in the grocery store.”
Those in attendance also included Tom Watson, Carl Peterson, Tom Condon, Andy Reid, Mitch Holthus, Brett Veach, and most of the Chiefs coaching staff.
Dawson was remembered as a friend, leader and role model. Even though he’s no longer here, many said his legacy will forever be apart of Chiefs Kingdom.
“To be popular another 47 years after retiring is a reflection on you are not just his playing but as a human being, and I know Lenny was a great human being,” Bell said.
Dawson passed away at the age of 87 on August 24. He had entered hospice care a couple of weeks before his passing when his son provided this statement from family:
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.Dawson Family
After playing college football at Purdue University, Dawson first played professionally in the National Football League for the Pittsburgh Steelers and Cleveland Browns before joining the American Football League’s Dallas Texans in 1962. He followed the franchise when Lamar Hunt moved it to Kansas City in 1963, where he’d play 13 of his 19 professional seasons.
He led the Chiefs to victory in Super Bowl IV over the Minnesota Vikings, earning MVP honors in the franchise’s first Super Bowl triumph. Dawson was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame as a player in 1987 and a broadcaster in 2012.
Dawson’s wife Linda is requesting that in lieu of flowers, donations be made in Len’s memory to The University of Kansas Health System in support of nursing scholarships and mailed to Fund Development, or to Kansas City Hospice.
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