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Len Dawson Dies at Age 87; Chiefs Hall of Fame QB Won Super Bowl IV MVP

Adam WellsAugust 24, 2022

Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

Pro Football Hall of Famer Len Dawson has died at the age of 87.

The Dawson family issued a statement Wednesday announcing that Len died with his wife, Linda, at his side:

KMBC @kmbc

"He loved Kansas City and no matter where his travels took him, he could not wait to return home."<br><br>Rest well, Len. ❤️<br><br>Len Dawson has died at the age of 87: <a href="https://t.co/rRdEugmMD9">https://t.co/rRdEugmMD9</a> <a href="https://t.co/cJfMwKtpon">pic.twitter.com/cJfMwKtpon</a>

A family friend confirmed to Vahe Gregorian of the Kansas City Star on Aug. 12 that Dawson had been entered into hospice care.

Linda Dawson told KMBC 9 News in Kansas City that the family was asking for privacy and prayers.

During his playing career, Dawson became sports director for KMBC 9 News in 1966. He stepped down from nightly duties in 2009.

A three-year starter at Purdue University from 1954 to 1956, Dawson threw for 3,325 yards and 29 touchdowns on 452 attempts.

The Pittsburgh Steelers selected Dawson with the No. 5 overall pick in the 1957 NFL draft. He spent the first five years of his career primarily as a backup before getting an opportunity as a starter in 1962 with the Dallas Texans.

In 14 starts for the Texans, Dawson led the league with 29 touchdown passes and was named AFL MVP. The Texans defeated the Houston Oilers 20-17 to win the AFL championship.

The franchise moved to Kansas City and was renamed the Chiefs before the 1963 season. Dawson spent most of the next 13 years as the team's starting quarterback. He led the league in completion percentage every year from 1964 to 1969 and quarterback rating from 1964 to 1968.

Dawson and the Chiefs won the AFL Conference Championship in 1966 but lost to the Green Bay Packers in the first Super Bowl. They won the franchise's first Super Bowl during the 1969 season with a 23-7 win over the Minnesota Vikings. Dawson was named MVP of the game after going 12-of-17 for 142 yards with one touchdown and one interception.

After starting five games during the 1975 season, Dawson retired from the NFL at the age of 40. He is still the franchise's all-time leader in passing yards (28,507), touchdown passes (237), completions (2,115) and attempts (3,696).

Dawson was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1987. He has also been enshrined in the Chiefs Hall of Fame and Purdue Intercollegiate Athletics Hall of Fame. The Ohio native received the Walter Camp Distinguished American Award, awarded annually to individuals who attain great success in business, private life or public service, in 2008.

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