Ken Stabler, who quarterbacked the Oakland Raiders to a win in Super Bowl XI has died at the age of 69, the Raiders confirmed Thursday. The University of Alabama passed along a statement from the family, which says Stabler died of colon cancer.
Stabler, nicknamed "The Snake," was a four-time Pro Bowler in the NFL. He won two NCAA titles as a backup quarterback at Alabama, and led the 1966 team to an undefeated record.
"I was head coach of the Raiders the entire time Kenny was there and he led us to a whole bunch of victories including one in Super Bowl XI," John Madden said in a statement. "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. 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."
Stabler was known for being one of the most accurate passers of the 1970s, and one of the best left-handed passers of all time. He twice led the league in completion percentage and touchdowns. He is one of the most well-known, successful quarterbacks that has not made the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Some of that fame for Stabler came from his hard-charging lifestyle and big personality. He also was a part of some of the biggest plays in NFL history: "The Holy Roller," "Ghost to the Post," and the "Sea of Hands." He also was robbed of a chance to go to the Super Bowl by the "Immaculate Reception." The Raiders were always good enough during the Stabler era to be involved in such big games.
"He was a kind, generous and unselfish man, never turning down an autograph request or an opportunity to help someone in need. A great quarterback, he was an even greater father to his three girls and grandfather to his three 'grand snakes,' " the family said in a statement.
Raiders linebacker Phil Villapiano once told author Tom Danyluk that Stabler "was a quarterback who could be one of the boys every night of the week, then on Sunday he'd just say, 'Keep it close,' and get the job done."
This loss will hit Raider Nation especially hard. Perhaps no player embodied the spirit of the Silver and Black during the 1970s more than Stabler.
He is survived by his three daughters Kendra, Alexa and Marissa.