I love doing this site. I want to someday get paid for talking sports in any form, but as you can see I literally do it for free. And maybe more than anything I love talking about the history of each league. I don’t know how well I know the NBA, but the NBA’s history I know as well as anyone. Obviously I know the NHL’s very well too. I’ve been a baseball fan almost as long as I’ve been a hockey fan, but MLB history (I’m talking pre my exsistence) I might know the least. And I can’t get enough of knowing the past of the NFL. And the team I love reading and hearing about more than any is the 70’s and 80’s Oakland/L.A. Raiders.
Ken Stabler passed away last Wednesday at age 69. I wasn’t thinking about writing about him or the team, but then Colin Cowherd led his show on Friday talking about Stabler and the Raiders and it was so spot on. The thing he said that I really agreed with more than anything was that Ken Stabler, all of the QB’s of his era, epitomized his team more than anyone else. I’ve always thought that. He was the PERFECT QB for the Raiders. They had the renegade owner, renegade players, and they were quarterbacked by a guy who was nicknamed “the snake”. He rocked long hair, a beard, and got any girl he wanted. Guys wanted to be him, girls wanted to be with him. In the 90’s we would have called him “the man”.
Stabler was the 1974 MVP. He was at the center of just about every controversial moment of the NFL in the 1970’s. The immaculate reception doesn’t happen without Stabler running for a 30 yard TD, giving the Raiders a 7-6 lead with 1:13 remaining. The Sea of hands was originally named Super Bowl 7 1/2 heading in as the 2 time defending champion Miami Dolphins went to Oakland to face the seemingly unbeatable Raiders. Stabler with seconds left scrambled, and really should have been sacked, yet found a way to flip the ball to Clarence Davis for the game winning TD.
You might think it was a fluke, but it happened with this guy in such big moments SO MANY TIMES. The only year the Stabler Raiders won the Super Bowl (1976), Stabler had to bail them out in their first playoff game against the New England Patriots. Sure, that game gets remembered for the roughing the passer flag against Sugar Bear Hamilton, but the Raiders were down 21-10 in that game, and Stabler led them back including scoring the winning TD on a bootleg. Roger Staubach was considered to be the king of the comebacks in the 70’s, but Stabler wasn’t far behind him as the guy you would want at QB with 2:00 left and the game on the line.
The Immaculate Reception, the Sea of Hands, Ghost to the Post, the Holy Roller, they all had names! And Stabler was at the center of all of them. 74 MVP, Super Bowl XI, and had it not been for the Steelers he would have won 3 or 4 Super Bowls. This guy had a 66.7% passing accuracy in 1976! Do you realize how impossible it was to throw in the 1970’s?! And this guy put up numbers that would look great by today’s standards!
How in the HELL is this guy not in your hall of fame?! Sometimes the people voting on these hall of fames need to understand that sometimes it can’t be JUST about a guys numbers. Stabler has the numbers too, but this guy was an icon. He’s a Raiders icon, an NFL icon, and it is beyond ridiculous that he isn’t in the hall of fame.
RIP Ken. This is one fan of your’s that never saw you play, yet won’t ever forgot you.
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