Statement On The Passing Of Hall Of Famer Len Dawson

CANTON, OHIO – Pro Football Hall of Famer LEN DAWSON has passed away at the age of 87, his family said in a statement released early Wednesday. He had entered hospice care Aug. 12.

Dawson stepped into professional football as a first-round draft pick of the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1957 after a stellar collegiate career at Purdue University. He appeared in only 19 games over three seasons in Pittsburgh, however, and two more seasons in Cleveland produced no sign of his eventual stardom in the pros.

Reunited with former college coach Hank Stram with the Dallas Texans in the American Football League in 1962, Dawson’s career took off. Running Stram’s offense with accuracy and efficiency, he led the Texans to the AFL title that season. Following the franchise’s move to Kansas City, he led the Chiefs to Super Bowl I and Super Bowl IV, a win over the Vikings in which Dawson was voted Most Valuable Player.

His finished his 19-year pro career with 28,711 passing yards and 239 touchdowns in regular season games. He led the league in completion percentage seven times and passing touchdowns four times. 

Dawson was enshrined as a member of the Hall of Fame’s Class of 1987. He was named the NFL’s Man of the Year in 1973.

The following is a statement from Hall of Fame President Jim Porter:

“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.”