Former Chiefs quarterback Len Dawson, a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame as a player, will re-enter the shrine as a broadcaster.
Dawson will receive the prestigious 2012 Pete Rozelle Radio-Television Award from the Pro Football Hall of Fame for longtime exceptional contributions to radio and television in professional football.
Dawson, 77, will be recognized on Aug. 2, the night before the Hall of Fame induction ceremony. It will mark the 25th anniversary of his 1987 induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, which is just 20 miles up the road from Dawsons hometown of Alliance, Ohio.
You could have knocked me over, Dawson said of his reaction to receiving the Rozelle Award, which has been presented since 1989. That never, ever crossed my mind. To win the Rozelle Award is very special.
Dawson joins some of the biggest names in sports broadcasting history in receiving the honor, including Chris Schenkel, Curt Gowdy, Lindsey Nelson, Jack Buck and Dick Enberg, as well as former coach John Madden and players Pat Summerall and Don Meredith.
But Dawson, Frank Gifford and Dan Dierdorf are the only ones who are in the Hall of Fame as both players and broadcasters.
A lot of it had to do with being a pioneer with Inside the NFL on HBO, said Dawson, a host on the popular show from its infancy in 1977 to 2001. I was on that show for 24 years thats a long run. And that was the only place you get the highlights from all the games. Now, you get them on Sunday night at 7 oclock.
The fact that I had the opportunity to work in various areas local television, local radio, national television Im very blessed.
Dawson, who is in his 28th year as analyst for the Chiefs radio network, began his broadcasting career in 1966 as sports anchor for Channel 9 while still in the prime of his career as the Chiefs quarterback.
Id get through practice at 5 oclock and be on the 6 oclock news, said Dawson, who would lead the Chiefs to Super Bowl I that season and to a victory in Super Bowl IV when he was selected the games Most Valuable Player.
After retiring from the Chiefs in 1975, Dawson served as a color commentator for NBC Sports for six years in addition to his work for HBO. He has been the Chiefs radio analyst since 1984 and returned to Channel 9 as sports director in 1986. Dawson stepped down from that position on a full-time basis in 2009 but still contributes to Chiefs coverage during the season and when needed at other times of the year.
Hes the longest-tenured sportscaster in Kansas City radio and television history, and a generation of Chiefs fans know him better as a broadcaster than as a quarterback.
I tried to bring honesty to the broadcasts, as far as what I see, Dawson said. I try to say something that the people watching or listening hadnt thought of before on whats going on just express my feelings.
Dawson recently had surgery for a pacemaker, and expects to be fully recovered for both the induction in Canton and for filling his role with the Chiefs and Channel 9.
I played high school football in Fawcett Stadium, Dawson said, site of the Hall of Fame ceremonies. I played in the Hall of Fame game for the Kansas City Chiefs and the day I went into the Hall of Fame, the Chiefs were playing in the game that day, so I had about four minutes to speak, and as soon as that was over, I went right up to the booth to do the preseason game for the Chiefs.
Dawson said he has no plans on reducing his responsibilities with the Chiefs or with Channel 9.
That depends more on them than me, he said. Physically now that Ive had this surgery and my heart is fine, and my health is fine I still feel good, I still enjoy it. And I still do a pretty good job, I hope.