Ken Stabler, who was one of pro football’s leading quarterbacks of the 1970s and took the Oakland Raiders to the first Super Bowl victory in their history, died Wednesday in Gulfport, Miss. He was 69.
The cause of death has been ruled as colon cancer, which he was diagnosed with in February, his family stated.
Stabler was drafted by the Oakland Raiders in 1968 out of the University of Alabama, where he was the heir of Joe Namath.
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He was the starter for the Raiders from 1970-1979, leading the league twice in touchdown passes, as well as twice for completed passing percentage.
Known as The Snake, Stabler was an elusive runner for the early years of his career. Knee injuries later on would plague him, but Kenny Stabler was still able to come up big in clutch situations.
His big playing style guided the Raiders to their first championship in team history, defeating the Minnesota Vikings 32-14 in Super Bowl XI.
Stabler was involved in some of the most memorable plays in NFL history. The Holy Roller play, for example, was a play where Stabler fumbled the ball into the end zone, and tight end Dave Casper recovered it, resulting in a game winning touchdown against the San Diego Chargers in 1978.
As a result, the league changed it's rules on forward fumbles.
Unfortunately, Ken Stabler was a bit of a gambler in games. He would often force the ball between defenders, and ended up throwing more interceptions than touchdowns in his career.
If a player could be inducted into the Hall of Fame for their heart, Stabler would have been inducted a long time ago. However, saying that, he is the definition of "Commitment to Excellence". When you think of the Raiders, you can't help but think of Ken Stabler.
Rest in peace, Ken. May you never be forgotten.