The late Ken Stabler, who led the Oakland Raiders to victory in Super Bowl XI in 1974, was a legend for how he played football. Stabler, nicknamed The Snake, was difficult to pin down — except as the personification of the Oakland Raiders. A “low ball thrower and a highball drinker” Stabler famously said he studied his playbook like all the other quarterbacks — he just liked to read his “by the light of the jukebox.” Stabler’s love of living and competing made him a star on and off the field.
John Madden, Stabler’s coach and famous broadcaster/videogame icon, paid Stabler the ultimate compliment, saying: “if I had one drive to win a game to this day, and I had a quarterback to pick, I would pick Kenny.” A native son of Alabama, and Crimson Tide QB too, Stabler maintained a Southern gentleman style, even as he became an Oakland icon. His Stabler Foundation supported the Ronald McDonald House, helping children. Stabler died on July 8 from colon cancer at age 69. A giver to the end, he donated his brain and spinal cord to medical research. (To Boston University’s Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy Center in support of research into degenerative brain disease in athletes.)