Former NFL quarterback Ken Stabler, who led the Raiders to victory in Super Bowl XI in 1977, died yesterday at the age of 69. According to his family, Stabler died due to complications with colon cancer, and donated his brain and spinal cord to Boston University to study degenerative brain diseases.
Stabler, nicknamed “The Snake”—the wrestler Jake “The Snake” Roberts took his nickname as a tribute to Stabler—is one of the best football players not in the Hall of Fame. He was the fastest quarterback to 100 wins (in only 150 starts, a mark that has since been topped by Tom Brady, Joe Montana, and Terry Bradshaw), and was named to the NFL’s 1970s All-Decade Team as he led the Raiders to a winning record every year from 1973 to 1979. His famous pass to future Hall of Fame tight end Dave Casper—called the Ghost to the Post—in the 1977 divisional round game against the Baltimore Colts eventually led to a game tying field goal and double-overtime win.*
In the early 1980s Stabler finished out his career in Houston and New Orleans, but was unable to return to the playoffs. He would go on to broadcast NFL games, and then eventually for Alabama football games, his alma mater.
We would love to hear about your memories of Stabler in the comments section below.