Ken Stabler, the former NFL quarterback who spent the final three years of his career in New Orleans, has died at the age of 69 in Gulfport, Miss., according to a statement from Stabler’s family on his Facebook page.
In those three seasons with the Saints, Stabler completed 326 of 570 passes for 3,670 yards, 17 touchdowns and 33 interceptions while battling Richard Todd for the starting quarterback job.
But the man nicknamed “The Snake” was most famous for his days in Oakland. Drafted out of Alabama in the second round of the 1968 draft, Stabler had to sit behind Daryle Lamonica for several seasons, then took over the starting job in 1973 and ran with it.
Stabler, the architect of John Madden’s offense in Oakland, made the Pro Bowl three times with the Raiders, earned NFL Player of the Year honors in 1976 and led Oakland to a 32-14 win over the Minnesota Vikings in Super Bowl XI.
By the time he left Oakland, Stabler had established himself as a legend. The former star still holds Raider passing records for attempts, yards, touchdowns and interceptions.
Traded to the Houston Oilers in 1980, Stabler led Houston to the playoffs, then followed former Oilers coach Bum Phillips to the Saints in 1982.
Stabler spent two injury-plagued seasons as the Saints starter before giving way to Richard Todd, another former Alabama quarterback who New Orleans sent a first-round pick to the New York Jets to acquire in 1984.