KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Kansas City Chiefs legend and Pro Football Hall of Famer Len Dawson has died at the age of 87, according to his family.
FOX4 spoke with his son, Len Dawson Jr., who confirmed the news.
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
Dawson joined the Dallas Texans in 1962 and followed the franchise to Kansas City, where he led the renamed Chiefs to a championship in Super Bowl IV. He also worked as a TV sportscaster long after his playing days were over.
Lenny The Cool went into the Hall of Fame as a player in 1987 and a broadcaster in 2012.
Chiefs chairman Clark Hunt called Dawson “a part of every major moment in Chiefs history.”
“My family and I are heartbroken. Len Dawson is synonymous with the Kansas City Chiefs. Len embraced and came to embody Kansas City and the people that call it home,” Hunt said in a statement on Wednesday.
Dawson’s playing career started as a standout quarterback at Purdue before he joined the Pittsburgh Steelers as a first-round draft pick. He was quickly traded to the Cleveland Browns.
In 1962, Dawson finally signed with the Dallas Texans, reuniting him with Hank Stram, who had been an assistant coach for the Boilermakers before becoming the AFL franchise’s head coach.
Dawson promptly led the Texans to the AFL title and was the league’s MVP, and then moved with the club to Kansas City the following year. He led the Chiefs to two more AFL titles in 1966 and 1969, when he came back from a serious injury to help the Chiefs beat Minnesota 23-7 for their first Super Bowl title.
He ranks among the elite forward passers of all time with an 82.56 rating compiled over 19 seasons.