I’m sure that most of you are not old enough to remember the deal that sent Houston Oilers quarterback, Dan Pastorini to the Oakland Raiders for “The Snake” Kenny Stabler after the 1979 season, but it was late in their respective careers and neither was able to find success in their new digs.
But since Stabler spent two years in Houston with what is now the Tennessee Titans, I decided to use this morning’s links to educate you about one of the NFL’s first “Captain Comebacks”!
I lived in Oakland for the entirety of the Snake’s career in the Bay Area, and attended many Raiders games during that time. Stabler to Branch and “Ghost To The Post” were plays that made me an NFL fan for life.
Kenny Stabler passed away on Wednesday at age 69 due to complications with colon cancer.
Stabler’s family released a statement, saying he died on Wednesday, “surrounded by the people he loved most, including his three daughters and longtime partner, as some of his favorite songs played in the background, such as Lynyrd Skynyrd’s ‘Sweet Home Alabama’ and Van Morrison’s ‘Leaves Falling Down.’ ”
In a football sense, “The Snake” deserved better.
Every year, around this time of summer, the talk of Hall of Fame — who’s in and who should be in — starts to creep up. And, every year for the last 20 or so, fans have asked where’s Ken Stabler?
On a day we all heard the news that Ken “The Snake” Stabler passed away at the age of 69, it is difficult not to think that the greatest honor a pro football player can hope for will come too late for the former Raider, whenever it does come.
Stabler was one of the greatest players of his generation. Every pro football career, modern or vintage, offensive side of the ball or defensive, should be judged in this manner: How did he fare against his peers?
Stabler had a 15-year NFL career, the first 10 years of which were spent with theOakland Raiders. By most measures, he’s the best quarterback in Raiders history.
The team was 69-26-1 in his starts, with a win in Super Bowl XI (32-14 over the Vikings). He’s the franchise leader in wins, passing yards, touchdown passes and yards per attempt.
The Elias Sports Bureau notes that John Madden and Ken Stabler have the fourth-best win percentage by a head coach-quarterback combo in NFL history (minimum 75 games) (.756), trailing only Bill Belichick and Tom Brady (.773), Vince Lombardi and Bart Starr (.770) and Tony Dungy and Peyton Manning(.759).
Ken Stabler was 1970s football.
If Stabler were to be in the spotlight today, he’d be part Brett Favre, part Kid Rock. He was the poster boy of the renegade Oakland Raiders, then the NFL’s bad boys.
Stabler, born on Christmas Day 1945, in Foley, Alabama, died Thursday. He was 69.
"“The Snake” was almost as famous for Saturday night as he was for Sunday afternoons. I’ve heard too many stories about Stabler getting yanked out of taverns after the sun came up on game day to not believe at least some of them were true."