Memorial services announced for late Chiefs QB Len Dawson

Hall of Fame QB, broadcaster died Wednesday at age 87
Posted at 5:51 PM, Aug 26, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-27 14:53:45-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Leonard “Len” Dawson will be laid to rest at 11 a.m. on Friday, Sept. 16, at Country Club Christian Church.

Dawson, 87, quarterbacked the Kansas City Chiefs to two Super Bowls, including a 23-7 win in Super Bowl IV against the Minnesota Vikings after which he was selected as the game’s MVP.

Dawson, who died Wednesday morning after nearly two weeks in hospice, was selected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1987 and later honored by the Hall of Fame for his broadcasting career as well.

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Dawson’s wife, Linda, requests donations be made in her late husband’s memory to The University of Kansas Health System for nursing scholarships in lieu of flowers, according to an online obituary.

Donations can be mailed to Fund Development; 2330 Shawnee Mission Parkway, Suite 305; Westwood, KS 66205 and also can be made online.

Country Club Christian Church is located at 6101 Ward Parkway in Kansas City, Missouri.

Dawson was born June 20, 1935, in Alliance, Ohio, as the seventh of 11 children.

He played in college at Purdue, which is where he met Hank Stram.

After being drafted fifth overall by the Pittsburgh Steelers and getting traded to the Cleveland Browns during his first five pro seasons, Dawson’s career took off in 1962 when he was reunited with Stram and won AFL MVP with the then-Dallas Texans, who moved to Kansas City a year later.

Dawson served as the sports director at KMBC-TV for many years and provided commentary on Chiefs radio broadcasts from 1985-2017.

He is survived by his wife, Linda, and two children, Len Jr. and Lisa, among other family and friends.

The Chiefs paid tribute to Dawson in several ways Thursday during the preseason finale against Green Bay, including starting the game on offense in a “choir huddle” and placing No. 16 stickers on the team’s helmets.

Kansas City won the game 17-10.

Dawson’s jersey number was retired in 1987, the same year he was enshrined in Canton, Ohio.

Dawson was remembered not only for his on-field exploits but for his calm, cool and collected persona — which helped him earn the nickname, “Lenny the Cool" — and for his giving spirit.

Tributes poured in from across the country after Dawson’s death, including from Chiefs Chairman and CEO Clark Hunt as well as current and former Chiefs and those he worked with during his broadcasting career.

As a player, Dawson led the Chiefs to three AFL titles — first with the then-Dallas Texans in 1962 then with the Chiefs in 1966 and 1969. The Chiefs lost Super Bowl I after the 1966 season before returning three years later to claim the franchise’s first Super Bowl title.

Dawson, the 1973 NFL Man of the Year, remains the Chiefs’ all-time leader in passing yards (28,507), touchdown passes (237), completions (2,115), attempts (3,696) and QB wins (93).

He led the AFL in completion percentage eight times, including six consecutive seasons from 1964-69 (as well as 1962 and 1975, after the AFL/NFL merger), and also led the league in QB rating six times (1962, 1964-68) and TD passes four times (1962-63, 1965-66).

He was a seven-time Pro Bowl selection, two-time first-team All-Pro and remains tied for fifth all-time in pro football history — ironically, with current Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes — with a 6.4% career touchdown percentage.