Len Dawson, Pro Bowl Quarterback and Veteran Broadcaster, Has Died

Len Dawson at the 2016 NFL Honors in San Francisco
Len Dawson at the 2016 NFL Honors event in San Francisco. (Image credit: Kevin Mazur/WireImage)

Len Dawson, legendary NFL quarterback and former sports director at KMBC Kansas City, has died. He was 87. 

Dawson led the Kansas City Chiefs to the Super Bowl in 1967 and 1970, the team beating the Vikings in the big game in ‘70. Dawson was named MVP of Super Bowl IV in 1970. 

He retired in 1976 and entered the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1987. 

Dawson was named sports director at KMBC in 1966, while he was still playing for the Chiefs. KMBC reported that Jack Steadman, then general manager of the Chiefs, suggested to station management they hire Dawson to cover sports. They did. 

He spent four decades at KMBC, stepping down from the nightly anchor desk in 2009, but remaining involved at KMBC. 

“Len Dawson achieved greatness in two fields,” said KMBC-KCWE President and General Manager Justin Antoniotti. “He would finish football practice at 5:00 and then do a sports report on the 6 :00 news. I cannot imagine anyone doing that today.”

Dawson’s final assignment for KMBC was interviewing Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes in 2018, after he broke Dawson’s franchise record for touchdown passes in a single season.

Dawson also worked on Inside the NFL at HBO from 1978 to 2001, and was a football analyst at NBC. 

The cause of death was not revealed. Dawson entered hospice care earlier this month. 

KMBC is part of Hearst Television. Jordan Wertlieb, Hearst TV president, called Dawson “a true legend in every way” on Twitter. ■

Michael Malone

Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.