A Hall of Fame quarterback who went on to become the living-room voice of the Chiefs on the radio is saying goodbye to the airwaves.
The Chiefs and Chiefs Radio Network announced on Tuesday that this will be Len Dawson’s final year as a broadcaster for the team.
Dawson, 82, is entering his 33rd year with the network. This season, he’ll contribute pre-produced segments and live pregame analysis leading up to kickoff.
Former Chiefs long snapper Kendall Gammon, who worked as an analyst for road games last year, will be the analyst for all Chiefs games.
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“Looking back on my career, I’ve been blessed for what I had the opportunity to do,” Dawson said through the Chiefs.
Dawson’s broadcasting story is a unique one. His on-air career started in 1966, in the middle of his playing career, working for KMBC-TV Channel 9 as the station’s first sports anchor.
The television career took off. In 1978, three years after he retired after a 19-year playing career as the Chiefs greatest quarterback, Dawson became host of HBO’s Inside the NFL, the league’s first weekly highlights show and the first NFL-related program to appear on cable.
Dawson remained with the program until 2001, and also spent six years as a game anaylst for NBC Sports. In 1984, Dawson joined the Chiefs Radio Network as a color commentator, and two years later he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
“Next to my father, few people have had a more lasting impact on the Kansas City Chiefs than Len Dawson,” Chiefs chairman and CEO Clark Hunt said. “Over the course of his legendary career — first as a player and later as a broadcaster — Len has been a part of every major moment of franchise history.”
Dawson stepped down from his nightly duties at KMBC in 2009 but has continued to report for the station during the football season, and will continue in that role.
In 2012, Dawson won the Hall of Fame’s Pete Rozelle Award for “longtime exceptional contributions to radio and television in professional football.”
He’s been with the Chiefs organization since 1962, the final year the team played in Dallas as the Texans. Dawson led that team to the AFL championship. He continued as starting quarterback when the team moved to Kansas City the next season and led the Chiefs to the AFL titles in 1966 and 1969.
Dawson was MVP of the Super Bowl victory over the Minnesota Vikings after the 1969 season, and he’s the franchise leader in career passing yards (28,507) and touchdowns (237).