Throwback Thursday: remembering Kenny Stabler
One Oakland Raider went into the Hall of Fame earlier this month. That was Tim Brown.
Now one Raider, who has waited even longer than Brown, has an opportunity to go into Canton. Kenny “The Snake” Stabler was nominated by the senior committee, and will be on the ballot in 2016.
Stabler has been on the regular ballet three-times, but failed to get enough votes.
Stabler should be in, because he lead the Raiders to five AFC Championship games and one Superbowl victory.
But what do I know? I am just another Raider fan and blogger.
The truth is, I never witnessed Stabler play. All I know about the 1970s’ All-Decade team member is what I have seen on NFL films and heard via legends.
Still, I get chills hearing about those great Raider teams. A team that dominated and did so in style. So much style, that one player even arrived on a horse for training camp.
Could you imagine how many retweets that would have gotten?
No one embody the swagger and image of those Raider teams better than Stabler. When he passed away last month I heard all types of stories.
Most people know about the historic games. The “Ghost to the Post,” and “Sea of Hands” playoff games. Stabler was also on the receiving end of a great comeback via the “Immaculate Reception.”
Then there are legends among bars in the bay-area. There is the story about the quarterback who would get bailed out of jail before games.
Stabler even received a repetition as a womanizer. The two-time divorcee once said players in his day did not have agents and managers. Instead, they had girlfriends and bartenders.
Most of all, he was an approachable guy, who Raider and Alabama Crimson Tide fans still love.
In a lot of ways, Stabler was an athlete ahead of his time. Players did not make nearly as much as they do now, but Stabler still stunted in high fashion and sports cars.
On the field, teammates and coaches loved Stabler’s tireless work-ethic. He was a brilliant player calling his own plays long before Peyton Manning. Stabler was not known for a big arm. However, what he lacked in arm-strength he made up for in accuracy. Not to mention, Stabler stood strong in the pocket and took hits that would be illegal in today’s NFL.
John Madden said he would take Stabler over any quarterback in history. That probably has to do with Stabler helping Madden win his own Superbowl.
None the less, Stabler was a winner, renegade and Raider. There are plenty of articles that throw statistics as to why Stabler should be in the Hall of Fame. He has more passing yards than Brian Griese and Joe Nammoth. However, my appeal goes beyond the statistics.
I am privileged to know about the legend of the left-handed Snake. However, the entire football culture needs to know about Stabler. Look at how crazy the internet went when the Snake passed.
Fans, media and former-teammates grieved for the player who was quiet about his illness. Everyone chimed in stories about him in Oakland, Alabama and New Orleans. It goes to show exactly how much he meant to the game of football.
Canton needs to enshrine Stabler, so future fans can enjoy the legend of the Snake.