Thursday, July 16, 2015

Stabler Sacked By Colon Cancer

"Ken Stabler, 69; former Oakland Raiders quarterback" by John Zenor Associated Press  July 10, 2015

Ken “the Snake” Stabler, who led the Oakland Raiders to a Super Bowl victory and was the NFL’s Most Valuable Player in 1974, has died as a result of complications from colon cancer. He was 69.

His family announced his death on Mr. Stabler’s Facebook page Thursday. The statement said Mr. Stabler ‘‘passed peacefully’’ on Wednesday while surrounded by family, including his three daughters and longtime partner, who wasn’t named. He was diagnosed with Stage 4 colon cancer in February, the statement said.

Mr. Stabler was a four-time Pro Bowl selection with the Raiders, leading the franchise to consistent success during the 1970s, including a 32-14 victory over the Minnesota Vikings in the 1977 Super Bowl. His coach with the Raiders, John Madden, said his former quarterback was cool under pressure.

‘‘I’ve often said, if I had one drive to win a game to this day, and I had a quarterback to pick, I would pick Kenny,’’ Madden said. ‘‘Snake was a lot cooler than I was. He was a perfect quarterback and a perfect Raider. When you think about the Raiders you think about Ken Stabler. Kenny loved life. It is a sad day for all Raiders.’’

When he died, Mr. Stabler’s favorite songs were playing, from Lynyrd Skynyrd’s ‘‘Sweet Home Alabama’’ to Van Morrison’s “When the Leaves Come Falling Down,” the family said. His brain and spinal cord were donated to Boston University’s Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy Center to support research into degenerative brain disease among athletes, according to the family.

The native of Foley, Ala., led the University of Alabama to an undefeated 1966 season and was named Sugar Bowl MVP after a 34-7 rout of Nebraska.

In his pro career, Mr. Stabler threw for 27,938 career yards over 15 seasons, which also included stints with the Houston Oilers and New Orleans Saints.

For Patriots fans, the name Ken Stabler brings back unpleasant memories from a 1976 playoff game. Late in the fourth quarter, a controversial roughing-the-passer call on Ray “Sugar Bear” Hamilton after an incomplete pass on 3rd and 18 gave the Raiders a first down, and Mr. Stabler later scored the winning touchdown with only a few seconds left in the game....

I remember the play. Officials would tuck it to the Raiders 25 years later.