On July 9th, 2015 the Alabama family lost one of its own: a native, an alum, a former broadcaster, a former student, and -- like so many who came before him and since, a legend on the football field.
When Kenny Stabler laid down his burden and walked into the sunless lands, several tributes were written in his honor. We did more. than. one. The SBN Raiders site, Silver and Black Pride, had excellent coverage of his passing. The NFL and the Raiders went into rare public moruning for a player long-since retired. Even the Mothership got in on the act with a wonderful long form published this past holiday season: One Last Smile with the Snake.
What was striking in the comment sections, as well was noted in most of the articles, was the outrage that Ken Stabler was still not in the NFL Hall of Fame. Without question, Stabler was one of the most dynamic players of a decade, was a Super Bowl winner and MVP, and, perhaps more importantly, he was the rare lefty who was a superstar. There was one other southpaw to play the position who met or exceeded Stabler's resume and he was enshrined in the Hall of Fame in 2005 -- 49ers great Steve Young.
Mortality has a way of focusing people on the achievements of a lifetime, though, and, this year the Seniors' Committee did the right thing to correct an historic injustice; they bypassed the onerous NFL HOF voting procedures, pulled rank, and sent Stabler's name to the complete committee.
Once his nomination reached the Hall, it was a foregone conclusion: Stabler would earn his bronze bust in Canton and immortality.
02-06-2016_Hall of Fame Class of 2016 Elected by Sharona Fab
Stabler's stats can be debated; the era in which he played can be dissected; the merits of the selection can be fiercely contested; the manner in which he was made a Hall of Famer can be disdained. But, the game that took away so very much away from Stabler through repeated traumatic brain injury finally gave a little back to him.
Welcome to the NFL Hall of Fame, Kenny "The Snake" Stabler. You have earned it.
Roll Tide, wherever you may be at rest.
Ken Stabler Career Stats
|1984||New Orleans Saints||3||70||33||47.1||23.3||339||4.8||113.0||2||2.9||5||7.1||29||0||0||5||40||41.3|
|1983||New Orleans Saints||14||311||176||56.6||22.2||1,988||6.4||142.0||9||2.9||18||5.8||48||0||0||18||159||61.4|
|1982||New Orleans Saints||8||189||117||61.9||23.6||1,343||7.1||167.9||6||3.2||10||5.3||48||0||0||13||106||71.8|