“But if you knew Kenny Stabler“, Madden said, “that’s Kenny Stabler“.
Where should Stabler rank among the great quarterbacks of that era?
“I was head coach of the Raiders the entire time Kenny was there, and he led us to a whole bunch of victories, including one in Super Bowl XI”, Madden said through a release. He was 69.
His family announced his death on Stabler’s Facebook page Thursday. His quirky style didn’t quite mesh with what many others would use to become an elite National Football League quarterback, but Stabler made it work and is maybe one of the most underrated quarterbacks in National Football League history.
BRADY DECISION “COMING SOON”: NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said a decision on Tom Brady’s appeal of his four-game suspension “is coming soon” and could happen as soon as next week, according to CNBC. As Raiders coach John Madden remembered Friday, “He always had a twinkle in his eye, and a smile….” He noted that he wore the Raiders jersey with pride and represented the team well on and off the field. When I saw the news, my first thought is you go back to those NFL Films, and to me that’s part of an awesome legacy.
“On game day, he was right up there with anyone”, Flores said Thursday night, the day after Stabler died at 69 due to complications from colon cancer.
Talented and handsome, Stabler was a swashbuckling, take-a-chance, my-life-is-in-the-fast-lane star, a flawless Oakland Raider. With 23 fourth-quarter or OT comebacks on his resume, pulling wins out of thin air was something he and the Raiders did a lot during his tenure in Oakland.
One of Stabler’s most memorable games is the “Sea of Hands” contest against the Miami Dolphins in the 1974 playoffs. Some knew Stabler personally, while others observed and admired his storied career as it played out. They will all be his football legacy.
Oakland was a young team on the rise when it lost to the Green Bay Packers, 33-14, in Vince Lombardi’s final game with the Pack in Super Bowl II at the end of the 1967 season.
Just moments before the Pittsburgh Steelers incredibly won a playoff game in 1972 behind the Immaculate Reception, Stabler had given the Raiders a 7-6 lead with just over a minute left.
Stabler remained the starter for more than seven seasons, allegedly studying the game plan by the light of a jukebox – if he studied it at all.
In 2009, Stabler conceded he wasn’t the “first in the building and last to leave” type when it came to preparing to play football but said he didn’t have to be, considering the talent on the roster.
Next to their families, these players will most of the time have the closest relationship with their teammates.
The best argument to make about Stabler is to compare him to a similar, Alabama grown quarterback who’s inducted into Canton, Joe Namath. We can only wonder what he would’ve said to everyone then and now.
His family said the Foley native died peacefully while listening to some of his favorite songs, including Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Sweet Home Alabama”. At his request, his brain and spinal cord were donated to Boston University’s Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy Center to support research for degenerative brain disease in athletes. “A great quarterback, he was an even greater father to his three girls, and grandfather to his two ‘grand snakes.'”.
Stat boys and armchair GMs argue that the Stabler-led Raiders “only” won one Super Bowl.
Stabler had a brief stint with the Houston Oilers (1980-81) and then finished his career with the New Orleans Saints (1982-84).
Given a second chance at Alabama, Stabler capped his senior season scoring the famous “Run in the Mud” to win the ’67 Iron Bowl.
Stabler arrived in 1968 as a second-round draft pick out of Alabama under coach Paul “Bear” Bryant.