As Purdue takes the field against Penn State in the season opener on Thursday night, the Boilermakers will be carrying with them the memory of a legend. A decal on Purdue’s helmet will honor and memorialize Len Dawson, a program icon who passed away Aug. 24 at the age of 87.

Dawson started all three seasons he was at Purdue, led the conference in passing and total offense all three seasons, and was awarded All-Big Ten honors. The future Hall of Famer set records of 3,325 yards and 29 passing touchdowns. Dawson was a multitasker for the Boilermakers as the NCAA’s leader in pass efficiency, while also playing defense and serving as the team’s kicker in his sophomore season.

The former Boilermaker had a outstanding professional career, being drafted fifth overall in the 1957 NFL Draft. Dawson spent 19 seasons in the League, mostly with the Chiefs, throwing for 28,711 yards and 239 touchdowns. The QB was selected as Super Bowl IV MVP, after leading the Chiefs to a Super Bowl victory over the Minnesota Vikings.

In 1979, Dawson was entered in the Kansas City Chiefs Hall of Fame, followed by induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1987, and Purdue’sย Intercollegiate Athletics Hall of Fame in 1996. Following his playing career with the Chiefs, Dawson was a broadcaster, hosting HBO’s “Inside the NFL” for 25 years.