The NFL lost one of its legends on Thursday when former Raiders quarterback Ken Stabler passed away due to complications with stage 4 colon cancer... while listening to Lynyrd Skynyrd and Van Morrison, because of course he did. Many stories and tribulations are already being planned and explored, ranging from arguments supporting his entry into the hall of fame to Stabler personifying the image of the Raiders.
"Without Stabler, Al Davis’ vision for his team would never have so completely come to life," writes Ann Killion with SFGate.com. "Maybe it’s the era I grew up in, when the Raiders were truly swashbuckling rapscallions, but it’s hard to imagine that the Raider image would carry as much power and mystique if Kenneth Michael Stabler had not put on the silver and black."
The crew at Silver and Black Pride (SB Nation's website covering the Oakland Raiders) polled reactions from around the league, from fan communities to NFL teams and the media. The NFL Network is planning to feature coverage on Stabler's career Friday, including the 1974 AFC Divisional game against the Dolphins and the '77 AFC divisional against Indianapolis.
Stabler played eight games against the Bengals and won six. His statistical career against the Bengals wasn't significant nor impressive, but he expertly applied a "Just Win" attitude, helping to engineer a 30-27 win on Oct. 20, 1974 after facing an early 14-3 deficit in the first quarter. Stabler's Houston Oilers were one of four teams to defeat the Cincinnati Bengals in 1981; however it was Earl Campbell's 182-yard effort that dominated the win; Stabler completed one of six passes... a dump-off to Campbell.
Ken Stabler played eight games against the Bengals and won six of them. His stats against the Bengals: pic.twitter.com/l6PJfRhMXF— Josh Kirkendall (@Josh_Kirkendall) July 9, 2015
It's sad in these cases when a player's death is what prompts an NFL community to honor players and those with a historical impression on the league. Many fans, old and young, knew nothing about John Sawyer or the contributions he made bringing the Cincinnati Bengals to life. It wasn't until his death that prompted stories of his influence and partnership with Paul Brown.
Personally, I'm a bit young to have seen Stabler play. What are your memories of him, if any?