BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - The following is a commentary blog from FOX6 Sports Director Rick Karle:
You have to go back over 40 years. If you were around in the mid-1970s, there was no truth to the rumor that if you looked up the word "cool" in the dictionary, you would find a picture of quarterback Ken Stabler.
By then, the former 3-sport star from Foley had left the Capstone and was an NFL star. And was Ken Stabler cool? He was so cool that he made Paul Newman look like Woody Allen. He made Burt Reynolds look like Wally Cox.
Talented and handsome, Stabler was a swashbuckling, take-a-chance, my-life-is-in-the-fast-lane star, a perfect Oakland Raider. He was as cool as they came, and he kept that cool into his later years.
Unfortunately, Mr. Cool never had a chance to have the opportunity to make a Hall Of Fame acceptance speech. And you know something? That's a crime.
As his years flew by, Kenny Stabler found himself consistently falling short of Pro Football Hall Of Fame election. A finalist three times, Stabler never received the votes necessary to get him into Canton. Was it an anti-Raiders bias? Were some voters turned off by the wild child off the field? Stabler is the only quarterback of the 70s who started and won a Super Bowl who isn't a member of the Hall Of Fame.
I'm here to tell you that the 15-year NFL veteran deserves to be in the Hall, and the numbers speak volumes:
Ken Stabler as an NFL quarterback:
*69-26-1 as a starter
*Raider's franchise leader in wins, passing yards, TD passes and yards per attempt
*Threw 150 TD's in the 70's, third-most of any quarterback
*Stabler & John Madden owned the 4th-best winning percentage by a QB/coach combo in NFL history
*NFL's MVP in 1974
*Led NFL in 1974 in game-winning drives and 4th quarter scoring drives
*Led the Raiders to victory in Super Bowl XI
*Between 1973 and 1979, Stabler finished in the top ten in passing yards, completion percentage and TD passes
*In 1976 he completed 67% of his passes, becoming the only QB before the 80's to reach that mark
*In 1976, Stabler led the league with a passing rating of 103.4 (the league average was 63.6)
*Passed for nearly 28,000 career yards
*194 career TD passes
*4-time Pro Bowl selection
*1970's Team Of The Decade member
When you retire from the NFL and have great plays named in your honor, you know you have made an impact. "The Sea Of Hands," "The Ghost To The Post," and "The Holy Roller" are three of the great plays in NFL history. And is "Snake" the best nickname ever in the world of sports? I challenge you to give me a better one.
Ken Stabler was a top dual-threat quarterback before the phrase became popular (more so at Bama than in the NFL). From a cultural view, he was Johnny Depp before the future actor entered fifth grade.
And as a radio broadcaster, he was the most famous person in Bryant-Denny Stadium at each and every home game.
He should also be forever known as a member of the Pro Football Hall Of Fame.
The good news? The Hall Of Fame veterans committee is designed to give a second chance to players who have been passed over. Ken Stabler has been passed over, and now it's time for the committee to right an unjust wrong.