John Madden: Kenny Stabler was the 'perfect QB and a perfect Raider'

There will be lots of tributes to former Raiders quarterback Kenny Stabler, who died Thursday of colon cancer at the age of 69, but none will be better than the one he got from his old coach.

John Madden, in a statement issued by Oakland, called Stabler the "perfect Raider."

“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."

This (Madden) is a Hall of Fame coach and legendary broadcaster we're talking about here. A guy who knows a lot about football and has seen a lot of great quarterbacks. And he's going with Stabler as his guy for a single drive. 

It doesn't even feel like hyperbole either.

You look at what Stabler was able to accomplish -- an MVP season and a Super Bowl title with the Raiders -- and look at his clutch ability -- 15 fourth-quarter comebacks and 20 game-winning drives in 10 years with the Raiders -- and you can understand why Madden would let his bias take over here. 

Stabler had this innate ability to put himself near historical moments in football history too. His "Run in the Mud" for Alabama his senior season against Auburn in a 7-3 victory only justified him being nicknamed "The Snake." 

He routinely escaped pressure to make impossible throws, including "Sea of Hands" to Clarence Davis against the Dolphins

"Ghost to the Post," a strike to the delightfully-named David Casper, kept the Raiders season alive against the Colts in the playoffs.

Even his fumbles were clutch.

You look at the guy, a grizzled, tough, bearded Southerner son of a gun who was all substance and no style, and it's hard not to agree with Madden. He might've been the perfect Raider. 

Madden called Stabler the 'perfect Raider.' (via

CBS Sports Senior Writer

Will Brinson joined CBS Sports in 2010 and enters his seventh season covering the NFL for CBS. He previously wrote for FanHouse along with myriad other Internet sites. A North Carolina native who lives... Full Bio

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