August 26, 2011

MVP Profile: Len Dawson, 1962

Quarterback, Dallas Texans

Age: 27
6th season in pro football, 1st in AFL & with Texans
College: Purdue
Height: 6’0” Weight: 190

Highly regarded coming out of college, Dawson was taken in the first round of the 1957 NFL draft by the Pittsburgh Steelers. After sitting on the bench and throwing just 17 passes in three years, he was dealt to Cleveland, where he backed up Milt Plum for two seasons. He requested his release from the Browns and joined his former backfield coach at Purdue, Hank Stram, who had gone on to become the head coach of the AFL’s Dallas Texans. Stram worked intensively with Dawson, rusty from his years as a reserve, and he took over as the team’s starting quarterback.

1962 Season Summary
Appeared and started in all 14 games
[Bracketed numbers indicate league rank in Top 20]

Attempts – 310 [4]
Most attempts, game – 33 at Buffalo 12/2
Completions – 189 [3]
Most completions, game – 19 vs. NY Titans 10/21, vs. Houston 11/4
Yards – 2759 [3]
Most yards, game – 306 at Boston 10/12
Completion percentage – 61.0 [1]
Yards per attempt – 8.9 [1]
TD passes – 29 [1]
Most TD passes, game – 3 on six occasions
Interceptions – 17 [6]
Most interceptions, game – 3 vs. Denver 12/9
Passer rating – 98.3 [1]
300-yard passing games – 1
200-yard passing games – 7

Attempts – 38
Most attempts, game - 5 (for 59 yds.) vs. Buffalo 9/30, (for 18 yds.) vs. San Diego 12/16
Yards – 252 [18]
Most yards, game – 59 yards (on 5 carries) vs. Buffalo 9/30
Yards per attempt – 6.6
TDs – 3

TDs – 3
Points – 18

Postseason: 1 G (AFL Championship at Houston)
Pass attempts – 14
Pass completions – 9
Passing yards – 88
TD passes – 1
Interceptions – 0

Rushing attempts – 5
Rushing yards – 26
Average gain rushing – 5.2
Rushing TDs – 0

Awards & Honors:
AFL Player of the Year: Sporting News
1st team All-AFL: League, AP, UPI
AFL All-Star Game

Texans went 11-3 to finish first in the AFL Western Division while leading the league in points scored (389) and touchdowns (50, tied with Houston). Won AFL Championship over Houston Oilers (20-17).

The resurrection of Dawson’s career in 1962 paid off significantly for his team. The Texans became the Kansas City Chiefs in ’63 and, while they failed to retain their AFL title, Dawson again led the league in TD passes (26). By the rating system then in use, he led the league in passing three times over the next five years (by the modern system, he led it in all five). He also led in completion percentage five straight times, TD passes twice (although not when he had his career high of 30 in 1964), yards per attempt twice, and, further testimony to Dawson’s efficiency as a passer, four times in percentage of TD passes. The team won AFL championships in 1966 and ’69, losing in the inaugural Super Bowl following the first and winning Super Bowl IV (the last prior to the merger of the two leagues). Dawson missed time to injury in that 1969 season but was behind center in the postseason. He remained with the Chiefs through 1975, at age 40, and retired with 28,711 passing yards, 239 TD passes, and an 82.6 passer rating. The Chiefs retired his #16 and Dawson was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Class of 1987.


MVP Profiles feature players who were named MVP or Player of the Year in the NFL, AAFC (1946-49), AFL (1960-69), WFL (1974), or USFL (1983-85) by a recognized organization (Associated Press, Pro Football Writers Association, Newspaper Enterprise Association, United Press International, The Sporting News, Maxwell Club – Bert Bell Award, or the league itself).

[Updated 2/14/14]