Ken Stabler didn’t want to play football when he was a kid because it was too brutal. Already, at age 13, he was the best baseball pitcher in the area with a wicked lefthanded curveball. But his father saw things differently. His father could become abusive behind closed doors. It wasn’t always in private though as young Ken made an error at first base that cost the team the game. His father came unglued and got inches from his sons face and yelled at him very loudly. A teary eyes Ken Stabler just took it. Then his father pushed him to the ground and demanded he apologizes to his teammates for the error. Of course, he did.
His father, Slim Stabler, wanted his son to begin to play football as it was obvious that his son would likely be the best athlete in almost any sport. As stated, Ken didn’t want to play football. His dad attempted to bribe him to play as he bought him a 1954 Ford while in tenth grade to help persuade him. When that car died, he got a Chevy Impala Super Sport 327 and he played football.
Ken “Snake” Stabler received and accepted a scholarship to the University of Alabama. It was there he saw the fun he could have as the BMOC. He played hard, he fought with his coaches, he confronted his dad about physical abuse but he continued to produce on the football field. From there he became an NFL sensation.
It was in his nature to seek out fun. There are stories about the things he did, the women he met and the liquor he drank just hours before games. In one instance, Snake and Fred Biletnikoff called some girls they knew and had them bring four bottles of wine and to join for some partying. They sat around naked and drank all the wine and more until 4 AM. They fell asleep around 5 in the morning of a game. Stabler was fantastic with precision passing and a great win for Oakland. There was no doubt he had to be having a hangover but that never stopped him from performing.
There are stories after stories from the author Mike Freeman of the parties, the calmness under pressure and the free spirit of Ken “Snake” Stabler at every stage of his life.
This is a decent book but I feel maybe the author, who is a friend of Stabler’s, may have shortchanged us in anticipation of another book.
Good book for football fans!