“With his wife Linda by his side, it is with great sadness that we inform you of the passing of our beloved Len Dawson,” the Dawson family said in a statement to CNN affiliate KMBC. “He was a wonderful husband, father, brother and friend. Len was always grateful and many times overwhelmed by the countless bonds he forged during his football and broadcasting career.
“He loved Kansas City and no matter where his travels took him, he couldn’t wait to get home. Linda would like to acknowledge and thank the wonderful team of doctors, nurses and support staff at KU Med who showed much love and compassion for Len.”
Dawson won the AFL passing title four times and still holds franchise career records for pass attempts (3,696), completions (2,115), passing yards (28,507) and touchdowns (237).
In 1987, Dawson was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
“Len Dawson is synonymous with the Kansas City Chiefs,” Chiefs chairman and CEO Clark Hunt said in a statement. “Len embraced and came to embody Kansas City and the people who call it home. You’d be hard pressed to find a player who had a bigger impact on shaping the organization as we know it today. than Len Dawson.
“I’ve looked up to Len all my life – first as a Hall of Famer in the field, and later as he transitioned into a successful career in broadcasting. Throughout his career remarkable, Len made it a priority to give back to the community he loved. . The franchise has lost a true legend. Our thoughts and prayers are with Linda and her family.”
In 1966, Dawson began his broadcasting career while still playing quarterback for the Chiefs for a local radio and television station in Kansas City. After retiring in 1975, he became an NBC color analyst. While working for the NBC network, Dawson also hosted HBO’s “Inside the NFL,” the first NFL-related show to air on cable, for 24 years.
For his “longstanding outstanding contributions to radio and television in professional football”, Dawson received the Pete Rozelle Broadcasting Award from the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2012, becoming the third person in the professional football history to be inducted into Pro Football. Hall of Fame as a player and broadcaster, joining Dan Dierdorf and Frank Gifford.
In college, Dawson started three years for the Purdue Boilermakers, where he finished his career as the school leader in passing yards and touchdowns.