Earlier this week, my wife, who spent the first 28 years of her life outside the Midwest, saw a social media post about the Chiefs heading to the Super Bowl and it referenced No. 16. And she asked me, “Who’s number 16?”
That was Len Dawson, I told her. She knows enough about football and Chiefs’ greats — and has lived in Kansas City — long enough to know Len Dawson was one of the best ever for the Chiefs…first as a Hall of Fame quarterback and then a Hall of Fame broadcaster.
She also knows that Lenny, who died in August at the age of 87, is one of my all-time favorite interviews. I had the chance to interview him countless times for articles and book projects and so on.
By the way, in case you don’t know, Dawson led the Chiefs to Super Bowls I and IV. That was at a time when players didn’t make very much money playing in the NFL or the American Football League — now what we know as the AFC. So Lenny, as a player, began a long career as a sports anchor at KMBC, channel 9, here in Kansas City. And he became the long-time radio analyst — including a long stretch when the flagship station was 101 the Fox.
Dawson was enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame as a player in 1987…and then in 2012 he received the Pete Rozelle Radio-Television Award from the Hall of Fame, becoming just the third person to be honored as both a player and a broadcaster.
As I’ve thought about Len Dawson this week, especially with the Chiefs going back to the Super Bowl this year, I started listening to a couple interviews that I’d recorded with him.
And that brings us to this Friday Flashback.
What you’re about to hear is one of those interviews.
Coincidentally, as this episode drops on February 3rd, this interview was recorded exactly 13 years ago, on February 3rd, 2010. I used to co-host a morning show with another longtime KMBC sports anchor, Dave Stewart, on a streaming radio station. This was an interview that Dave and I did with Lenny a few days before that year’s Super Bowl.
I’ve taken out some of the questions about that year’s game, but what you’re going to hear is a fun conversation about the early days of the Super Bowl. As we focus this podcast on leadership and mentoring, listen for that. Len Dawson, known as Lenny the Cool, was a great leader on the field. And the coach of those Chiefs teams, Hank Stram, was a great leader. A lot of that will come out during the next few minutes.
Again, this is episode 102, and we’ve done something like this only once in our previous 101 episodes. So we won’t have many of these Friday Flashback episodes, but this week is special. And this guest is special.
I hope you enjoy it.
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