Big Boss Snake

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,” Madden said. “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.” – John Madden

The original renegade.  If you were lucky enough in the 70’s, then you knew that each Sunday afternoon from Oakland was like a Western – you knew who the bad guys were and you may have rooted for them anyway.  One of the best football players not in the Hall of Fame. He was the fastest quarterback to 100 wins (in only 150 starts, a mark that has since been topped by Tom Brady, Joe Montana, and Terry Bradshaw), and was named to the NFL’s 1970s All-Decade Team as he led the Raiders to a winning record every year from 1973 to 1979.

Critics will argue that “The Snake” was a solid-to-very good quarterback but not as good as his 11 Raiders teammates from the 1970s who are in the Hall of Fame, or another guy who isn’t, but would be a more worthy selection (wide receiver Cliff Branch).

Stabler had a propensity for turnovers. After Stabler won the passing title and a championship-winning 1976 season, he went thru a four year period throwing a combined 100 interceptions. He finished with 222 compared to 194 touchdown passes in a 15-year NFL career.

Today, Stabler never would have gotten the chance to keep slinging it time and time again after turnovers. He would’ve gotten benched. Even Brett Favre, never hurled more than 20 interceptions in consecutive seasons during what will be a Hall of Fame career.

He is beloved in Oakland and rightfully so, but as a Saints fan, it can be complicated.

In 1983, “The Snake”, playing for New Orleans lost 21-20 to the Cowboys in Texas Stadium. They were up 20-19 very late in the 4th quarter and Stabler was sacked in the end zone for a safety and they lost by one – snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. It might be the first game in NFL history that the game winning play was a safety. The Saints missed their first winning season and first ever playoff berth by one game.  Knowing the Saints, they would never have had the chance without him.

Stabler, though, was not about mistake-free fotball or gaudy statistics – sure, Namath was the flashier ‘Bama QB – The Snake was about coming thru in the clutch and just winning baby – which is something no QB did more of, at the time.  He WAS the Raiders, the general – a no-sh!t, renegade who never cared what anyone outside the Oakland locker-room thought.

He was part of historically classic games – the Holy Roller

The Ghost to the Post

…and the sea of hands! Curt Gowdy called it the greatest game he had ever seen and along with the 50,000 fans in attendance and the 40 million that watched on tv – pre-cable, pre-internet – clearly agreed.

Kenny didn’t care how it looked – he cared about one thing:

Just Win Baby!


Did Schefty do anything illegal? No.  Whomever gave him the medical files of JPP sure did.  From that, the question becomes one of ethics and whether or not Adam Schefter SHOULD have.  the decision he made is open for debate.

Media entities often publish leaked or otherwise confidential information.  The New York Times won a Pulitzer Prize for publishing the Pentagon Papers – Top-Secret-Classified documents.

JPP’s finger is not Vietnam.  The public interest is far less significant.  So we should consider that a factor on evaluating the ethical responsibility of serial-tweeter who works for ESPN.  If Schefter had the information and verified the source – it is not, necessarily an ethical violation to publish it.

Does it make him look bad? Yes.  Publishing images of medical records is unheard of and seems more of an invasion of JPP’s privacy, further outweighing the newsworthiness of the information.  So, Schefter now balances his ethical footing as a reporter – who has to continue to seek out sources, and keep the trust of the players he reports on – probably not worth it when he looks back on it all.