Longtime Chiefs band leader Tony DiPardo’s wake ended up coinciding with the awful weather conditions hitting Kansas City this week, but that wasn’t about to stop people from paying their respects. Among those that made the trip to the Hyatt Regency Hotel was Hall of Famer Len Dawson. Bill Althaus asked the Chiefs legend to pass along a special memory of his friend DiPardo, a legend in his own right.
“When we first got here, back in 1963, you could tell Tony was enthusiastic and loved being a part of the team,” Dawson said. “But the guy didn’t know a thing about football.
“I’d be in the huddle, trying to call a play, and there’s Tony blowing his horn, ‘Da-da-da-da-da-da – charge!’ and everyone is yelling ‘Charge!’ and I can’t hear myself think – and I know the guys in the huddle can’t hear me.
“So I go up to Hank (Stram) and said, “Listen, you have to do something about Tony. Have him blow that horn when (former San Diego quarterback John) Hadl’s in his huddle.”
Mission accomplished, as DiPardo got the message and then Municipal Stadium and later Arrowhead Stadium became the loudest arenas in the AFL and NFL.
What an amazing run DiPardo had with the Chiefs and this story shines a bright light on how important he was not just to the fans, but to owner/founder Lamar Hunt and the players on the team.