June 10, 2008: Former Superbowl winning quarterback Kenny Stabler, currently a radio analyst for University of Alabama football, was arrested Sunday morning and charged with reckless driving and driving under the influence of alcohol.
The 62 year old Stabler, known as The "Snake" during his playing days, and a native of Foley, Alabama, was pulled over for a traffic violation on Alabama 59 and charged with DUI. See Mug Shot. According to authorities, Stabler was taken into custody early Sunday at about 1 a.m.
Robertsdale assistant police chief Brian Middleton said Stabler refused a Breathalizer and was released after posting $1,000.00 bond. Stabler has two previous DUI charges, stemming from arrests in 2001 and 1995.
Stabler became a highly touted football player at Foley High School. He led the Lion's to a won-loss record of 29-1 over his high school career - the only loss coming against arch-rival Fairhope, Alabama. He was an all-around athlete in high school, averaging 29 points a game in basketball and excelling enough as a left-handed pitcher in baseball to receive minor-league contract offers from the Houston Astros and New York Yankees. He was recruited by Alabama's Paul "Bear" Bryant and joined the team in 1964.
Stabler was drafted in the second round of the 1968 NFL draft and made his first mark in the league in a 1972 playoff game against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Stabler, a left hander, entered the game in relief of Daryle Lamonica and scored the go-ahead touchdown late in the fourth quarter on a 30-yard scramble. In fact, it was his ability to scramble and his late game heroics that earned him the nickname "The Snake". The Steelers came back to win that game on a controversial, deflected pass from Terry Bradshaw to Franco Harris, known in football lore as The Immaculate Reception.
Stabler was named AFC player of the year in 1974 and 1976, and was the NFL's passing champion in 1976. In January 1977 he guided the Raiders to their first Super Bowl victory. The Snake however, had an easier time overcoming the Minnesota Viking's tenacious defense that Super Bowl Sunday 31 years ago than he has overcoming the demons of alcohol.
Prior to the 1980 season and after a lengthy contract holdout, Stabler was traded to the Houston Oilers for Dan Pastorini. In a twist of irony, Pastorini lost the starting job in Oakland to Jim Plunkett after an injury, and Plunkett then led the Raiders over Stabler and the Oilers in the playoffs. Stabler played one more season with Houston, but Oiler coach Bum Phillips liked his grit and brought him with him to New Orleans where he finished his NFL career with a three-year stint with the Saints.
Bum, despite Stabler's contract holdout in Oakland gave the Snake a second and then a third chance at a career. Now the more important question becomes, how many chances will authorities give the Snake when it comes to driving under the influence? Fans loved Stabler. They still root for him. But no one, not even the "Snake" should be allowed to slither out of a third DUI offense without facing harsh penalties including the permanent loss of driving privileges.