Chiefs Kingdom, Patrick Mahomes React to Death of Hall of Fame QB

Len Dawson

Getty Former Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Len Dawson at the 2008 Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Ceremony in Canton, Ohio.

It has been a tough summer for Chiefs Kingdom. Just about a month after the death of franchise Hall of Fame linebacker Jim Lynch, teammate and Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback Len Dawson passed away at the age of 87.

Dawson’s family issued a statement to KMBC in Kansas City: “With wife Linda at his side, it is with much sadness that we inform you of the passing of our beloved Len Dawson. He was a wonderful husband, father, brother and friend. Len was always grateful and many times overwhelmed by the countless bonds he made during his football and broadcast careers.”

It continued: “He loved Kansas City and no matter where his travels took him, he could not wait to return home.”

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Chiefs, Mahomes Say Goodbye to Len

Chiefs Chairman and CEO Clark Hunt addressed the latest tragedy to hit KC:

My family and I are heartbroken. Len Dawson is synonymous with the Kansas City Chiefs. Len embraced and came to embody Kansas City and the people that call it home. You would be hard-pressed to find a player who had a bigger impact in shaping the organization as we know it today than Len Dawson did. I admired Len my entire life – first as a Hall of Fame player on the field, and later as he transitioned into a successful broadcasting career. Throughout his remarkable career, Len made it a priority to give back to the community that he loved. The franchise has lost a true legend. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Linda and his family.

Mahomes also spoke publicly on Dawson, a man he clearly had the utmost respect for.

“RIP to the legend Len Dawson,” he voiced. “The legacy and impact you made on Kansas City will live on forever. Prayers to his family 🙏🏽🙏🏽”

Mahomes included a nice recent photo of him and Dawson side-by-side, as well as a photoshopped image of them on the field together in uniform.

The Kansas City Royals — a franchise Mahomes owns a stake in — also posted on behalf of Dawson: “Len Dawson is an American legend, a Super Bowl Champion, a world-class broadcaster, and will forever be among the most important and beloved figures in our city’s history. The Royals send sympathy and support to the Chiefs and the Dawson family.”

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NFL Community Mourns

Pro Football Hall of Fame President Jim Porter issued a statement as well:

“Len grew up only a few miles from where the Pro Football Hall of Fame later was built, and fans in the area have always taken a special pride in seeing one of the greats from this region enshrined in Canton. Fans connected with Len’s story of perseverance, appreciating how he gave the game one more try after five nondescript seasons when many others would have quit. The American Football League, and Hall of Fame coach Hank Stram, gave Len a true opportunity, and he made the most of it, building the Chiefs into a Super Bowl contender, and eventually a world champion. Our thoughts and prayers extend to his wife, Linda, and to all of Len’s family and friends in Kansas City and in Alliance, Ohio. The flag at the Pro Football Hall of Fame will be flown at half-staff in his honor.”

Many around the NFL community joined Porter and the Chiefs in remembering Dawson’s legendary dual-career as an athlete and broadcaster.

Chiefs team reporter Matt McMullen wrote that “Len Dawson was the definition of a legend, both on and off the field. He truly helped put Kansas City on the map, and in the years following his playing career, Dawson continued to give back to our town for decades in numerous ways. RIP, Len. Thank you for everything.”

The NFL’s Twitter account also stated: “The NFL family mourns the loss of Hall of Fame QB and Chiefs legend, Len Dawson. We extend our deepest condolences to his family and loved ones.”

ESPN NFL insider Field Yates chimed in — “a Super Bowl champion and MVP, an AFL legend, an incredible broadcaster, a revered individual in so many ways” — as did Pro Football Focus with “one of the most iconic photos in NFL history.”

ESPN’s Mike Greenberg also voiced this on Dawson’s time hosting “Inside the NFL” on HBO: “Before there was ESPN, or anything like it, there were these two legends, teaching us all about football. I hope they are together right now, breaking down tape. Thank you, Len Dawson, for being so classy, and for making it all so much fun.”

Dawson’s Illustrious Career

Dawson spent 14 seasons with the Dallas Texans/Kansas City Chiefs franchise, and 19 total campaigns playing the game of football. He was an “elite passer” that won the AFL passing title four times, and holds KC’s franchise career records for pass attempts (3,696), completions (2,115), passing yards (28,507) and touchdowns (237).

He was also honored with six AFL All-Star selections and one Pro Bowl, as well as the AFL Player of the Year honor in 1962. Dawson was even named the NFL Man of the Year in 1973 before retiring in 1976.

Not only is he a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame but the Chiefs, Missouri Sports, and Purdue Intercollegiate Athletics Hall of Fames as well. As a broadcaster, Dawson worked as a sports anchor with KMBC Radio, a sports director with KMBC-TV, a color analyst with NBC, a color commentator with Chiefs Radio Network, and an “Inside the NFL” host with HBO.

He later entered the Pro Football Hall of Fame as a broadcaster and was the recipient of the Hall’s Pete Rozelle Radio-Television Award in 2012. The Chiefs also recognized him with the Lamar Hunt Award in 2014.

Dawson started 158 regular season games for the Chiefs organization, the most of any quarterback in franchise history, and was the only QB to bring a Super Bowl title to Kansas City before Mahomes did so at the end of the 2019 season.


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