KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Legendary Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Len Dawson died at the age of 87 and left a lasting legacy on the city and franchise.
Lenny The Cool led the Chiefs to their first-ever championship in Super Bowl IV against the Minnesota Vikings, a feat that would not be accomplished for another 50 years.
Entering the 2022 season, Dawson has seven career records that still stand from his decorated 14-year career with the Chiefs. One is interceptions, but that will happen when you play as long as he did.
Career Passing Yards – Regular Season
Dawson was one of the best quarterbacks of his era, earning himself a spot in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1987.
He boasts the most passing yards in a Kansas City Chiefs quarterback career with 28,507 yards.
The seemingly unattainable record is only rivaled by Trent Green’s 21,459 and current Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes who has 18,991 so far.
Mahomes has the best chance to break the record, being within 10,000 yards in just four seasons as a starter. But it would take two of his MVP-caliber seasons in which he threw for over 5,000 yards in 2018 to make it happen in the next few seasons.
Career Passing Touchdowns – Regular Season
Simultaneously, Dawson also holds the crown for the most passing touchdowns.
Dawson’s 239 career touchdowns are good for 28th in NFL history, and 237 of those came with the Chiefs.
He had six consecutive seasons with at least 20 passing touchdowns from 1962 to 1967, including his record of 30 in 1964. That record stood until 2018 when Mahomes threw for 50 touchdowns.
The record is likely to stand for at least a few more seasons even with a more pass-friendly modern NFL.
Career Completions/Attempts – Regular Season
It’s no surprise that holding the record for the most passing yards means Lenny The Cool also has the most passing attempts and completions in Chiefs history.
Dawson completed 2,115 of his 3,696 career attempts for a 57.2% completion percentage. Even in former head coach Hank Stram’s power run offense, Dawson found success throwing the ball.
The closest competitors to his record are:
2. Trent Green – 1,720
3. Alex Smith – 1,587
4. Patrick Mahomes – 1,550 (active)
5. Bill Kenney – 1,330
2. Trent Green – 2,777
3. Alex Smith – 2,436
4. Bill Kenney – 2,430
5. Patrick Mahomes – 2,345 (active)
With the NFL evolving into a pass-first league, it’s in all likelihood that Mahomes will surpass the numbers from five decades ago, but Dawson’s name will be on the top spot for at least a few more seasons.
The numbers become even more impressive when comparing the averages from their careers.
In Mahomes’ four seasons as a starter, he averages 577 pass attempts and 378 completions each year. In Dawson’s 14 seasons with the Chiefs, he averaged 264 pass attempts and 151 completions a season.
Career Wins – Regular Season
In the NFL, it comes down to winning, and Dawson was no stranger to winning games.
He has a quarterback record of 93-56-8, giving him a winning percentage of just over 50%.
His 93 wins are almost twice as many as second place in the category. Both Mahomes and Alex Smith have 50 wins on their records.
In Dawson’s era, teams only played 14 games a seasons, compared to the 16 games that were played each season up until 2021 when it was increased to 17, making his feat that much more impressive.
Career Game-Winning Drives – Regular Season
When it comes to winning, it sometimes comes down to the final drive of the game.
Dawson shares the title for the most game winning drives in franchise history with Green at 16.
Next on the list is Smith with 11 and Mahomes follows with 10.
Dawson did not waiver when it mattered most and will forever hold a spot on the list of greatest Chiefs of all time.