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John Madden pays tribute to Ken Stabler

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If legendary NFL head coach John Madden had one game left to coach and it came down to one drive, he would want Ken Stabler as his quarterback.

On a conference call Friday, Stabler's former head coach lauded the inner cool that his former quarterback had. He loved the way Stabler talked to him about who was in the stands during their most tense moments and he loved the fact that Stabler could inspire all of his teammates with a simple sentence.

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Needless to say, Stabler's death on Thursday at the age of 69 hit Madden hard.

"Yesterday was a very sad day," Madden said. "The passing of Ken Stabler was shocking to all of us. You just think that, Kenny is one of those guys that whatever you throw in front of him, nothing is going to get him down."

But there was one talking point above all else that kept Madden going on Friday. Like many around the league, he is amazed that Stabler's 14-year career, four Pro Bowl appearances and MVP award were not enough to get him into the Hall of Fame.

"No, I mean, if you just look at how he played -- he's a Hall of Fame quarterback," Madden said when asked if he could think of any reason why Stabler wasn't enshrined in Canton. "We get caught up today in statistics and comparing statistics and you can't do that with different eras. For example, when we threw a medium range pass it was 17 yards deep. Now, a medium range pass is eight to 10 yards deep. We didn't have any of those smoke screens...and I'm not saying it's wrong, that's just the way they play today."

Madden certainly isn't alone. The day after Stabler's death brought with it a new perspective on a career that seemed to parallel Joe Namath's in the record books.

Perhaps the coach's push will do more to keep 'The Snake' in our memory.

The latest Around The NFL Podcast breaks down the latest news surrounding Jason Pierre-Paul's injury, as well as the Mettenberger and Watt feud. Find more Around The NFL content on NFL NOW.

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