Sun, 05 Feb 2023

Legendary Kansas, Chargers QB John Hadl dies at 82

Field Level Media
01 Dec 2022, 05:40 GMT+10

University of Kansas legend and six-time Pro Bowl quarterback John Hadl died Wednesday at 82.

A member of the College Football Hall of Fame, Hadl played 11 of his 16 pro seasons with the then-San Diego Chargers.

Hadl was an assistant coach at Kansas and with the Los Angeles Rams and Denver Broncos before serving as head coach of the USFL's Los Angeles Express in 1984 and 1985.

"John Hadl had a generational impact on Kansas Football, the University of Kansas and the Lawrence community. He was a once-in-a-lifetime Jayhawk student-athlete, a coach and mentor, a prolific fundraiser who developed profound relationships with countless, and the ultimate ambassador for KU," athletic director Travis Goff said in a statement.

"In short, our University and athletic program has been transformed by John and his legacy will forever be cemented. Our deepest thoughts and prayers are with Diana and the Hadl family. We will deeply miss John and his contagious smile but will proudly honor him and his unrivaled legacy as we move forward."

A native of Lawrence, Kan., Hadl was an all-around contributor for the Jayhawks from 1959-61. He led the NCAA in punting in his first season before excelling as a halfback and quarterback. Kansas was 14-5-2 in his last two seasons, including a 33-7 victory against Rice in the 1961 Bluebonnet Bowl -- the program's first-ever bowl win.

He earned All-America honors in 1960 and 1961 and was the MVP of the East-West Shrine Game following his senior season. Hadl was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1994 and his No. 21 is retired by the school. There is a statue of Hadl outside KU's Memorial Stadium.

In 1962, Hadl was drafted in the first round (10th overall) by the NFL's Detroit Lions and in the third round (24th overall) by the AFL's Chargers. He made five of his six Pro Bowls with San Diego, leading the league in passing yards three times and touchdown passes two times. His Chargers won the AFL title in 1963.

After being traded to the Los Angeles Rams in 1973, he guided the team to a 12-2 record and was named the UPI NFC MVP and the Sporting News Player of the Year.

Hadl passed for 33,503 yards with 244 touchdowns and 268 interceptions in 224 career games with the Chargers (1962-72), Rams (1973-74), Green Bay Packers (1974-75) and Houston Oilers (1976-77). He compiled an 82-75-9 record as a starter.

--Field Level Media

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