The NFL lost a legend this week when former Chiefs quarterback and Super Bowl 4 MVP Len Dawson passed away at the age of 87. Kansas City, as fate would have it, played their Super Bowl 1 rival, the Packers, in Thursday’s preseason finals.
The classic feel was reinforced by the Chiefs, who decided to honor Dawson in an interesting way.
When the team first took to the field, Patrick Mahomes lined up for his offense and called the formation play popularized by the Dawson’s Chiefs “a glee party”.
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It was a very cool tribute and the crowd at Arrowhead Stadium was ecstatic.
— NFL (@NFL) August 26, 2022
After huddling together, the Chiefs lowered the game clock completely and Mahomes left the field cheering on the loyal KC.
What is a “choir party”?
The Choir Gathering is a group formation that has pretty much gone out of fashion in today’s game. In it, the quarterback calls the game his offense, hiding him from the defense.
While NFL teams opt for the circle formation today, the choir grouping is a continuation of a tradition that breaks with the 1969 Chiefs tradition. According to this interesting Bleacher Report article, coach Hank Stram set up the lineup to exaggerate the team’s almost militaristic style.
The result is an image that is synonymous with the legendary old Chiefs teams, perfectly embodied in the Chiefs social media account.
— Kansas City Chiefs (@Chiefs) August 26, 2022
What is Len Dawson’s place in Chiefs history?
It’s fair to say that Dawson is the Chiefs’ first icon. A short list of his accomplishments:
- He led Kansas City to its first Super Bowl victory in the 1969 season and was voted the game’s MVP.
- He has won three AFL championships with the franchise. The 1966 title sent KC to Super Bowl 1 against Green Bay.
- He was the Sporting News AFL Player of the Year in 1962.
- He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1987.
- His #16 jersey has been retired by the Chiefs.
The way Mahomes, a player who didn’t even have to dress up for the game, pays tribute to him in this way is a testament to how important Dawson is to the organization. Mahomes also wore a Dawson graphic sweatshirt during pre-game warm-ups, and the Chiefs unveiled the #16 decals they will be wearing on their helmets this season.