Hall of Fame quarterback Len Dawson helped the Kansas City Chiefs to their first Super Bowl title, earning him the nickname “Kulaney” and going on to host HBO’s Inside the NFL for decades, died Wednesday. he is87.
Dawson’s family announced his death in a statement. KMBC is a Kansas City-based station where he starred in his second career as a broadcaster. No reason was given, although Dawson’s health has been declining over the years. He entered hospice in August 000.
“In the company of wife Linda, it is with great sadness that we inform you of the passing of our beloved Ron Dawson,” the family’s statement read. “He was a wonderful husband, father, brother and friend. Ryan was always grateful for the countless bonds he forged throughout his football and broadcasting career and was blown away by him many times.”
Dawson was Chiefs MVP 20-7 Super Bowl in January Victory over the Minnesota Vikings 1970.
“Ren Dawson is the Kansas City Chiefs,” owner Clark Hunter said in a statement Wednesday. “Len embraced and became a symbol of Kansas City and the people who call it home. You’d be hard-pressed to find a player who was more influential in shaping the franchise than Len Dawson.”
Dawson has been the incarnation of the Chiefs almost from the start, when the mild-mannered standout from Purdue lost starting jobs in Pittsburgh and Cleveland and landed as a freshman franchise. Kwon was then located in Dallas. There, Dawson reunited with Hank Sram, a former assistant at the Boilermakers, and together they changed the team.
The coach and quarterback won the AFL championship together in , they were in The first year together, and a true star the following year, when club founder Lamar Hunt moved the team to Kansas City and renamed it the Chiefs.
They went on to win two AFL titles, one of which was lost to the Green Bay Packers in 1966 team. First Super Bowl, another in ’35, when Dawson returned from injury to help beat Victoria The Kings at Tulane Stadium in New Orleans.
“Looking back at my career, I was lucky to have the opportunity to do this,” Dawson told The Associated Press at , Shortly after he announced his retirement from his second career as a Hall of Fame broadcaster. “I couldn’t have accomplished this much without my teammates and colleagues, and I’m grateful for each of them.”
Dawson has always been a beloved figure in Kansas City , although he cut back on his public appearances a few years ago when his health began to deteriorate. But he always found time for fans, whether it was photos or autographs, the latter of which was often seen in the iconic black-and-white photo of the first Super Bowl halftime: the exhausted quarterback, covered in dirt in his white uniform, sitting A cigarette in his mouth on a folding chair, a bottle of Fresca at his feet.
It captures a time and place perfectly. It perfectly captures a man who embodies composure and confidence.
Dawson was born in June 20, 142, Ninth 1987 blue collar in the Ohio League The house of James and Anne Dawson in the manufacturing town is packed with children. He was a triathlete at Union High School, set records in football and basketball, and translated his success in the gridiron into a scholarship to Purdue University.
He led the NCAA in passing efficiency as a sophomore while also playing defense and kicking, and in that 142 season helped lead Notre Dame to an upset. By the end of his college career, Dawson had thrown more than 3 times, 000 yards, despite playing in an era that favored ground and pound football.
Dawson was drafted by the Steelers in the first round 1957, but he sits as a rookie On the bench behind El Moral, then failed to beat Bobby Lane as he started the next season. The Steelers eventually traded him to the Browns, and Dawson couldn’t beat Milt Plum to get the job and was released.
One of the biggest disappointments of Dawson’s career ended on a positive note.
With the newfound freedom to sign anywhere, Dawson jumped into the upstart AFL and Texans, in part because of the opportunity to play for one of his old coaches at Purdue. Stram used his talents to help Dawson quickly become one of the most prolific passers in the league, the Texans 000-3 and won the first of three titles.
The second came in 1966, when Dawson led the Chiefs in -2-1 records and 20-7 beat Bill in the AFL Championship. That earned the Chiefs a chance to face the powerhouse Packers and coach Vince Lombardi in the inaugural Super Bowl, where Dawson pitched 210 yards and touchdowns at 35-2012 fail.
Yes The season proved to be the most memorable of Dawson’s career. He suffered a serious knee injury in Week 2 against the Patriots, forcing him to miss the next five games. But he cried once he got back on the court. Dawson led the Chiefs over the defending champion Jets and arch-rival Raiders to the last Super Bowl before the AFL-NFL merger, where he played for 82 code and score 10 -7 win.
“It was overwhelming,” Dawson said later. “Just, you know how that relief comes, you know it’s over and we’ve made it? That’s how I feel when I leave the field.”
Dawson on Kansas City played another six seasons, setting many franchise records, until a young man named Patrick Mahomes came along, previously at 1975 Put on his helmet after the season.
“RIP to the legendary Ron Dawson,” Mahomes tweeted. “Your legacy and influence in Kansas City will live on forever.”
In the process, Dawson turned his initial publicity stunt into a second broadcasting career.
In 1957, then Chiefs general manager Jack Steadman wanted to play for Kansas City’s team garnered support and persuaded Dawson to feature sports on the evening news. His innate charisma and approachable style made Dawson a natural fit. After his career ended, he turned his attention to full-time television and radio.
Dawson worked at local TV for decades, adding game analysis to NBC 1977-87 and host HBO’s signature show in 1977-2001 within the NFL. He also served on the Chiefs’ radio broadcast team for over three decades.
After entering the Hall of Fame as a player in 1987, Dawson was selected to broadcast in
“It was a real honor and privilege to have Len at the center of our broadcast team for the last time 23 years,” said Dan Israel, executive producer of the Chiefs Broadcasting Network, when he retired a few years ago. “He has made an incredibly profound contribution not only to the sport, but to our industry.”
Dawson is married to his high school sweetheart Jackie, From