An incredibly prominent NFL media figure has entered hospice care. That would be Len Dawson. Following a strong college career at Purdue, Dawson played quarterback in the NFL and AFL for the Pittsburgh Steelers (1957-59), Cleveland Browns (1960-61), and Dallas Texans/Kansas City Chiefs (1962-1975). He helped the Chiefs to a win in Super Bowl IV and was named to the AFL All-Time Team and the Pro Football Hall of Fame, but he had perhaps an even larger impact on the media side.
Dawson, now 87, became the sports director at Kansas City ABC affiliate KMBC in 1966 while he was still playing. He worked there on a regular basis through 2009, and in smaller roles for years after. He was also the Chiefs’ radio analyst from 1985-2017, and they named their broadcast booth in honor of him that latter year. He appeared on national NFL coverage for NBC from 1977-82 as well. But perhaps his largest national impact was on Inside The NFL, which he first joined in 1978 and then co-hosted from 1979 to 2001 on HBO alongside Nick Buoniconti (seen at left above with Dawson, Buoniconti passed away in 2019). Here’s one example of that era of Inside The NFL, from the Super Bowl in 1982:
Blair Kerkhoff of The Kansas City Star reported the news of Dawson moving to hospice care Friday:
Legendary quarterback Len Dawson, who led the Chiefs to their first Super Bowl triumph and was with the Kansas City NFL organization for six decades as a player and broadcaster, has entered hospice care in Kansas City, a friend of the family confirmed Friday afternoon to The Star.
Dawson certainly made a major impact on the field and in the media world. He was elected into the Pro Football Hall of Fame as a player in 1987, and he received that Hall’s Pete Rozelle Radio-Television Award in 2012. Our thoughts are with him, his family, and his friends at this time.