KANSAS CITY, Mo. (WDAF) – A day after the death of NFL Hall of Fame quarterback and broadcaster Len Dawson, the Chiefs took the field wearing number 16 decals on their helmets.
They also had a moment of silence to honor Lenny the Cool before taking on Dawson’s opponent in Super Bowl I, the Green Bay Packers.
During the preseason the final score doesn’t always matter to fans. And with many of the starters not in action there usually wouldn’t be a big push to get inside for kickoff. But many fans said they were there for Len Dawson.
While many wore #15 jerseys, there were #16s too honoring the first quarterback to take the Chiefs to two Super Bowls and win one, Len Dawson.
“He was No. 1 back then. Still is. Patrick Mahomes is a close second, but Len Dawson is still going to be there,” Raymond Bermudez said.
Dawson, who died Wednesday at the age of 87, is remembered as a Hall of Fame quarterback, enshrined in 1987.
“He was the first QB of this team, I can remember as a little kid going to the old stadium he took us to super bowls,” Jack Wilmoth said.
He is also remembered as a hall of fame broadcaster, host of HBO’s “Inside the NFL,” and color commentator for Chiefs radio broadcasts for 30 years.
“They have a booth named after him, he’s a true icon of KC, we tuned in This is the NFL that was our thing on HBO we loved watching Len Dawson.,” Ray Gutierrez said.
But for the many fans who spent time at their tailgates talking about their chance encounters with the sports icon he was somebody who lived up to his nickname.
“Just a good soul just a party animal like the rest of us here. He’s just legendary Lenny the Cool,” Nicole Dvorak said.
“He was just a kind person so you have to honor a legend,” Lauren D’Amato said wearing a Lenny the Cool t-shirt.
Inside the stadium, fans snapped photo after photo of his jersey in the Chiefs Hall of Honor.
“Lenny Dawson was my hero,” one fan said.
“This year is going to be special I want the Chiefs to dedicate this year to Len Dawson.”
While a lot of talk out by fans was about an iconic photo of Dawson during halftime of the Super Bowl smoking a cigarette, the Chiefs chose to focus on the passing of the torch from one legend to a legend in the making with a pinned tweet of both Dawson and Mahomes in their respective “choir” huddles.
Mahomes took a delay of game penalty and then exited the field with the referee calling the penalty on #16.