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Story behind Len Dawson's start to broadcasting would never happen today

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Have you heard the story behind Len Dawson, former Super Bowl winning quarterback for the Kansas City Chiefs, joining the local news? I knew Dawson, who also calls the Chiefs games with Mitch Holthus, had been involved in the Kansas City news scene for a long time. The story of how he started is a great one.

Here's what Lenny told The MMQB:

The Chiefs moved from Dallas, and football was new for Kansas City. For the first couple years there wasn't much as far as attendance and the things they have now, which I like to call Chiefs Kingdom. They had three TV stations, and two of them didn't have sports at 10 o'clock in the evening. The GM, Jack Steadman, was trying to get some season tickets bought by the fans.

They went to the ABC affiliate and said, "Listen, you don't have sports at 10 o'clock, and this is the time when everybody is home from work and watching. We need to have sports on the news at 10 o'clock." He wanted to get some tickets sold. They said, "Well, we don't have anybody to do sports." Jack Steadman said, "Well, I do. Our quarterback, Len Dawson." They asked, "What kind of experience does he have?" Jack said, "Don't worry about that, he can handle it."

And that's how I got started in broadcasting. I'd get through practice at 5 o'clock, hurry up and shower, and get down to the studio and get involved in the 6 o'clock news. Then I'd go home, have dinner with my family, come back and do the 10 o'clock news. The thing was, we didn't make much money back in those days. Now the team wouldn't permit it, but back in those days, that could happen. And it's lasted from 1966 to today. I'm still doing radio and TV.

It's like those former Chiefs players who would have offseason jobs, such as working at the local car plant. That's not that long ago but it seems like another world when players tell stories like this. Pro football has changed quite a bit.

Lenny's entire interview is great and worth a read.