Oakland Raiders great Ken Stabler dies at 69



By Chris Olds | Beckett Sports Card Monthly Editor

One of pro football’s best “bad guys” is gone.

Ken Stabler, who led the Oakland Raiders to their first Super Bowl championship in 1977, has died, according to a statement issued by his family. He was 69.

Nicknamed “Snake” while a high school star in Alabama for his scrambling abilities, Stabler played 15 years in the NFL, throwing for more than 27,000 yards and 194 touchdowns for the Raiders, Saints and Oilers. The former league MVP was a rebel before he wore Oakland’s silver and black — and even before he became a winner for the Crimson Tide and legendary coach Paul “Bear” Bryant.

“I skipped practices. I got kicked off my high-school team. I got kicked off my college team. I left pro football in 1969,” Stabler said in the book Badasses. “I’ve had third and 15 my whole life. Everybody’s had rocky moments from day one. But sometimes you pick up third and long, and that’s where you make your money. That’s where the satisfaction comes, from the game and from life.”


Like many players from his era, Stabler has a relatively small amount of cardboard for football fans to collect — a total of just 756 cards in the Beckett.com database. He also didn’t have a lot of cardboard during his early days. Although he was a second-round draft pick in 1968, his lone Rookie Card can be found in the 1973 Topps set and that’s a card that typically sells for $60 or less.

In all, Stabler’s cardboard is valued at more than $15,600 excluding cards too scarce to price.

Stabler signed 226 different cards and appeared on 224 different game-used memorabilia cards. His earliest NFL signature can be found in the 1992 Pro Line Portraits set, an image where he posed with a python draped over his shoulders, while his most-recent larger signing of autographs appeared in 2012 and 2013 Upper Deck products showcasing his Crimson Tide days.

Chris Olds is the editor of Beckett Baseball and Beckett Sports Card Monthly magazines. Have a comment, question or idea? Send an email to him at colds@beckett.com. Follow him on Twitter by clicking here.



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  1. David D 9 July, 2015 at 22:27

    I met Ken several times when I worked at Cleveland Stadium delivering party trays to the players after the games. Kenny was generous with his time, kind and very funny. Most of all, he was a great football player-and human being!

  2. Morgan Moore 10 July, 2015 at 10:11


    As a fellow alum of the University of Alabama, like yourself, I truly appreciate your timely announcement of Kenny’s passing. Many things certainly can be said about him both good and bad. The 2 of us were acquaints at the University because we had mutual friends but really didn’t get to know each other until I had moved to Mobile, Al and he had retired from the NFL.

    Kenny loved being around people, having a good time and for most he was just a “good ol’ boy”. Many from the area knew of his involvement with organizations whose primary objectives were for supporting youth organizations. He had is own charity that was year round but most notable for their annual golf tournament which always included a whose-who of prominent athletics and entertainment personalities that he had met over the years. Anyone who really knew him, could confirm that he was sincere, committed and focused on his desire to help make a difference for all kids.

    Unfortunately, Kenny had ongoing problems with alcohol for which he never could seem to keep under control for much of his adult life. Many might feel this was a primary or contributing cause of his death; just as it was a factor regarding his dismissal from a couple of major football commentator positions and why many fans, including myself, consider this to be the primary reason he had not been included in the Pro Football HOF.

    It is not just Raider’s fans who feel strongly about the HOF’s attitude of playing “judge and jury” in respect to overriding a player’s NFL record when considering induction; it is most fans that follow the NFL. The NFL’s attitude of being both subjective and self-serving at best has allowed, killers, rapists, dopers and felons to be nominated and selected into the Hall. My point is that I know of no former (5 years removed) NFL QB that has won an NFL title or offers better or even comparable statistics.

    Most likely, I am not the only one that felt the NFL was using him as an example and at best he would not be inducted in his lifetime. Obviously, his selection and induction into the hall would now be posthumously; but it would also bring closure. Personally, I would like for the fans to have a greater impact of those selected into the Hall and feel there are realistic ways to that this could be accomplished. What better time than now to honor him by flooding the NFL with e-mails to allow fans an opportunity to participate in the selection process.

    In conclusion, my condolences to the Stabler family and to Kenny, may you Rest In Peace.

    ROLL TIDE !!!

  3. phillies_joe 10 July, 2015 at 11:27

    RIP “Snake”…..my favorite player on my favorite team growing up, he provided me with many happy memories. Younger people who didn’t have a chance to see him play, especially when he was young and could still run (hence the nickname), cannot appreciate his greatness. Except for the “Roll-Tide”, I agree with you Morgan…more than worthy for the NFL HOF.

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