Former Houston Oilers Quarterback Ken Stabler Dies At Age 69

A teammate and a local journalist are remembering former Oilers quarterback Ken Stabler, a charismatic leader on the field who spent two years here in Houston. Stabler died Wednesday, and as News 88-7’s Pat Hernandez reports, he made some big impressions.

Quarterback Ken Stabler #12 of the Houston Oilers drops back to pass against the New York Jets during an NFL game November 23, 1980 at Shea Stadium in the Queens borough of New York City. Stabler played for the Oilers from 1981-82. CREDIT: FOCUS ON SPORT


Longtime Houston Chronicle sports writer Dale Robertson says Ken Stabler came to Houston as a larger-than-life personality.

“And he was brought in specifically for one reason, only by Bum Phillips to get the Oilers past the Pittsburgh Steelers. Stabler had enjoyed a good measure of success against the Steelers over the years, so Bum’s thinking, ‘If you can’t beat ’em, find somebody who can’,”  Robertson says.

Before Mike Barber went into prison ministry around the country, he played tight-end with the Houston Oilers. He says when Stabler came to town, he helped establish a new offensive formation.

“He enjoyed throwing to the tight end, course he had one of the best with Dave Casper. And I remember when they traded for Casper, he and I basically started the two tight-end offense in the league, and it was a pleasure to play for him,” Barber says.

Stabler played for the Oilers in 1980-81, after he was traded to Houston for quarterback Dan Pastorini.

Stabler died Wednesday, after a battle with colon cancer. He was 69.

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