Len Dawson and Nick Buoniconti's 20 years on Inside the NFL revisited

Eve Edwards August 24, 2022
Len Dawson and Nick Buoniconti's 20 years on Inside the NFL revisited
Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

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As news of Len Dawson’s death breaks this August, we take a look back over his friendship and work with Nick Buoniconti.

Dawson, the iconic Kansas City Chiefs quarterback, passed away at the age of 87. He died in Kansas City on August 24, 2022 in hospice care.

“With wife Linda at his side, it is with much sadness that we inform you of the passing of our beloved Len Dawson,” the family said in a statement as reported by the Daily Mail.

After retiring from the game, Len Dawson turned to broadcasting, finding success alongside Nick Buoniconti as co-hosts on Inside the NFL. Let’s revisit some of the highlights of their friendship.

Original Caption

Len Dawson and Nick Buoniconti pair up for Inside the NFL

Two former NFL stars united in their retirement from the sport for an iconic football series, Inside the NFL on HBO.

Len Dawson, hanging up his boots after the 1975 season, joined Inside the NFL in 1978. He hosted the show on HBO from 1978 to 2001. Two years after Dawson joined the show, Nick Buoniconti signed on. Nick had retired following the 1976 season, having found success that decade with both the Patriots and the Dolphins.

Len and Nick co-hosted Inside the NFL together for over 20 years. They both retired from the show at the same time, leaving in 2001.

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What happened to Nick Buoniconti?

In July 2019, Nick Buoniconti passed away at the age of 78. Nick battled CTE, an irreversible degenerative disease caused by repetitive brain trauma, in the final years of his life, as reported by the Hollywood Reporter.

After his passing, Rick Bernstein, executive producer of HBO Sports wrote: “Nick Buoniconti lived an extraordinary life. He accomplished virtually everything he set his sights on in life. He was a trailblazer. Pairing him with Len Dawson on Inside the NFL for 23 years is an unforgettable part of football television history.”

Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

Len and Nick’s legendary partnership commemorated by fans

With Len Dawson’s passing making headlines, a number of football fans have hit the internet to share some of their favourite memories of Inside the NFL.

One fan tweeted: “Inside the NFL with Len Dawson and Nick Buoniconti gave me my first love of NFL football.”

Another described their tenure co-hosting the series as “the glory years of the show.”

Inside the NFL on HBO predated the football commentary shows we now know and love. The network ESPN was only founded in 1979 and had yet to significantly take off. Inside the NFL on HBO was formerly the home of football commentary for many sports fans.

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Tributes flood the internet to the late ‘Lenny the Cool’

As news of Len Dawson’s death circulates, a number of friends, players, and former associates have taken to the internet to pay homage to Dawson.

Patrick Mahomes II tweeted: “RIP to the legend Len Dawson. The legacy and impact you made on Kansas City will live on forever.”

Sports writer Field Yates tweeted: “A Super Bowl champion and MVP, an AFL legend, an incredible broadcaster, a revered individual in so many ways.”

The iconic photo of Len Dawson smoking a cigarette during half time at the Super Bowl has also resurfaced to the delight of many:

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Eve spends her days writing about everything culture-related. From celebrity news to music, film and television, Eve covers all bases. When she’s not writing you can find her making music or mastering the art of homemade pasta.