It’s been four decades since Leonard Ray Dawson played his last NFL or AFL game, but he’s still an integral part of Chiefs history. He served as the team’s quarterback and head coach, leading the franchise to multiple league championships and ushering in a new era of football that would forever change the sport and how it was played. The Chiefs Hall of Fame even has a bust of him in their collection, but what else do we know about this legendary Kansas City native? Here’s a look into the life of Leonard Ray Dawson. A Look Into the Life of Leonard Ray Dawson: Wiki Biography and More
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Leonard Ray Dawson was born in Dallas, Texas on June 20, 1935. He played football in high school and college before being drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1957. After a year with the Steelers, he was traded to the Cleveland Browns, where he spent four seasons. In 1962, he was signed by the Kansas City Chiefs, where he would spend the majority of his career. The next season, Dawson became the first professional quarterback to throw for 4,000 yards in one season. He then led the team to its first playoff appearance in 1967. However, his best years were yet to come. In 1969 and 1970, he led the Chiefs back-to-back AFL Championships (and Super Bowls). His 5 touchdowns against Denver in 1969 is still an NFL record that has not been broken today. A Look Into the Life of Leonard Ray Dawson: Wiki Biography and More
High School Career
Dawson was born in Dallas, Texas and grew up in Abilene, Texas. He played high school football at Abilene High School. As a senior, he led his team to the 1956 state championship game, where they lost to Odessa High School. Upon graduation, he was offered a scholarship to play college football for Baylor University, but he instead chose to play for the University of Pittsburgh. At Pitt, he was converted from an end into a quarterback on the scout team by coach Jock Sutherland. His first collegiate pass resulted in an interception by Bobby Avila who returned it 95 yards for a touchdown; Dawson did not make another pass that season. He graduated with majors in English and psychology.
Leonard Ray Dawson had a college football career that spanned from 1954 to 1956. He played for the Purdue Boilermakers and was a two-time All-American. After his junior year, he was drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the first round of the 1957 NFL Draft. He opted to play in the Canadian Football League for one season before returning to the NFL. He then led the Chiefs to a victory in Super Bowl IV and was named MVP of the game. In all, he threw for 25,063 yards and 187 touchdowns with 197 interceptions during his 19 seasons as an NFL quarterback.
Dawson began his NFL career in 1957 with the Pittsburgh Steelers. He was traded to the Cleveland Browns in 1959, where he spent four seasons. He was then traded to the Kansas City Chiefs in 1963, where he spent the majority of his career. He retired from the NFL in 1975. As a Chief, Dawson led them to three American Football League Championships (1963-65) and two Super Bowl appearances (Super Bowl I and IV). In Super Bowl I against the Green Bay Packers, Dawson played one of his best games ever but lost 35-10. In Super Bowl IV against the Minnesota Vikings, they won 23-7. His final game as a professional football player came on January 16th, 1975 when they lost 31-24 to the Oakland Raiders in their first round playoff game.
Interesting Facts About Lenny Dawson
1. Lenny Dawson was born on June 20, 1935 in Alliance, Ohio.
2. He played football for Purdue University from 1954-1956.
3. He was drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 1957 NFL Draft but was traded to the Cleveland Browns before playing a game for them.
4. He joined the Kansas City Chiefs in 1962 and played for them until his retirement in 1975.
5. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1987. 6. While with the Chiefs, he won four AFL Championships (1963, 1965, 1966 and 1969) and two Super Bowls (Super Bowl IV and Super Bowl XI). 7. He is tied with Tom Brady as having won more games than any other player in the history of professional football. 8. During his career, he completed 977 passes out of 1,904 attempts for 24,738 yards and 196 touchdowns; he also had 162 interceptions thrown while being sacked 273 times
Dawson played in the National Football League (NFL) and American Football League (AFL) for 19 seasons, primarily with the Kansas City Chiefs franchise. He is considered one of the greatest quarterbacks in NFL history. In his career, he was named to eight Pro Bowls, won four AFC Championships, and was named the AFL MVP in 1962. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1987. His nickname was Lenny the Cool, which was given to him by legendary sportscaster Howard Cosell. The NFL’s Super Bowl trophy is named after him.