Kansas City’s Len Dawson to Receive the Lamar Hunt Award for Professional Football

February 25, 2014

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NFL Hall of Famer to be honored March 1 at the 101 Awards – Kansas City’s 44th annual salute to professional football

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (February 25, 2014) – Hall of Fame quarterback, broadcasting legend and Kansas City sports icon Len Dawson will be recognized with the Lamar Hunt Award for Professional Football at the 44th Annual NFL 101 Awards gala in Kansas City Saturday, March 1, 2014, at the Westin Crown Center. The prestigious black-tie awards event was founded in 1969 and is presented this year by ECCO Select. 

The award was created in 2007 to honor the life and legacy of the founder of the Kansas City Chiefs and given annually to an individual or group that has played a role in helping the NFL become the preeminent pro sports league in America.

Super Bowl MVP, NFL Man of the Year, Hall of Famer, award-winning broadcaster – Dawson has held countless titles during his professional career, but none seem adequate enough to sum up what the man himself meant to Kansas City Chiefs founder Lamar Hunt, who would depend on Dawson’s steady demeanor and instant likeability when relocating the AFL’s Dallas Texans to Kansas City after the 1962 season.

Dawson found himself on a team of future Hall of Famers who would come together seven years later to win Super Bowl IV. Hunt found in Dawson not just a football player but also a friend who over his long association with the franchise brought leadership, innovation and a passion for the fans – all traits that embody this award.

“Words can’t express how grateful we are to Len for his contributions to the Kansas City Chiefs, the community and the game of football,” said Chiefs Chairman and CEO Clark Hunt. “Hank Stram may have said it best when he said ‘greatness is measured by the test of time, and Lenny passed that test with flying colors.’ He was an incredible leader in the huddle and an innovator off the field. His passion and knowledge for the game has led to an incredible broadcast career that Chiefs fans have enjoyed for more than three decades, and we are delighted to honor him with the Lamar Hunt Award for Professional Football.”

Dawson was selected in the first round of the 1957 NFL Draft by Pittsburgh. After struggling to find playing time with the Steelers, he was traded to Cleveland where he experienced the same frustrations of not getting on the field. A meeting with an old friend – Dallas Texans coach Hank Stram – would result in Dawson coming to the Texans in 1962. Dawson was a seven-time Pro Bowl selection, the 1973 Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year and the Super Bowl IV Most Valuable Player during his illustrious career with the Kansas City Chiefs.

The Alliance, Ohio, native wore another hat while still a professional player. In 1966, he became the sports director for Kansas City’s local ABC affiliate KMBC 9 – a role he held through 2011. Upon retirement from pro football, Dawson became the host of the groundbreaking show “Inside the NFL” on HBO, which debuted as the first weekly program devoted to the NFL on cable television. It was a position he held from 1978-2001. A Kansas City resident, Dawson has been part of the Chiefs radio broadcast team since 1985. He was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1987. In 2012, Dawson was awarded the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Pete Rozelle Award for Radio-Television, honoring his longtime exceptional contributions to broadcasting professional football.

Previous winners of the Lamar Hunt Award for Professional Football are The Foolish Club (2008), Tony Dungy (2009), Monday Night Football (2010), NFL Films (2011), Roger Staubach (2012) and Don Shula (2013).

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Laurie Bollig, Premier Sports Management
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