Ron Agostini

Agostini: Remembering Stabler, the perfect Raider

Reading time, two minutes:

▪ Ken Stabler was the perfect Raider of the 1970s: Partied hard, rough around the edges, but – after kickoff – lethal and cool in the clutch.

▪ To millennials: Google the “Sea of Hands,” “Ghost to the Post” and “Holy Roller.” His comebacks had names!

▪ And, when the game was over, you could raise a glass with the Snake. He always was out on the town.

▪ My favorite Stabler quote: “There’s nothing wrong with reading the game plan by the light of the jukebox.”

▪ Not forgotten by Raider Nation: Stabler’s improbable scramble for a touchdown that should have beaten the Steelers. Moments later, it was trumped by the “Immaculate Reception.”

194 The number of touchdown passes thrown by Ken Stabler

▪ The reality was as good as the legend: Stabler, the lefty spinning it sidearm, throwing to Fred Biletnikoff, Dave Casper and Cliff Branch, or handing it off to Clarence Davis.

▪ He’s not in the Pro Football Hall of Fame because he threw more interceptions than touchdown passes. Excuse me, but so did Joe Namath.

▪ Only for the critics of women’s sports: The Women’s World Cup final was the most-watched televised soccer game (an average of 25.4 million viewers) in U.S. history. More viewers than Game 7 of the 2014 World Series.

▪ Listen, if you can find it: Andrés Cantor’s call of Carli Lloyd’s 56.9-yard kick into the net. One clue: “Gooooooaaaalll!!!

▪ Had Ian Darke called it: “Sheer speculation by Carli Lloyd, but what a spectacular return on the investment!”

▪ Rory McIlroy’s absence will hurt, but: Jordan Spieth stalking the Grand Slam always was going to be the story at the British Open.

▪ The Giants’ strength up the middle is compromised: Buster Posey rotates between catcher and first base while Angel Pagan’s legs ache in center.

▪ Overdue: The NCAA will lift its 15-year ban on championships in South Carolina when the Confederate flag is lowered for good in Columbia. It happened Friday.

▪ About Pete Rose being honored at the All-Star Game next week at Cincinnati: Fine, but that is as far as it should go.

▪ The Kings and the Spurs did business this week. The record says the Spurs win this matchup. Every time.

▪ Kings vice president of basketball and franchise operations Vlade Divac admits the relationship between coach George Karl and star DeMarcus Cousins “is not pretty.” Behind closed doors, Divac’s message to them: Make it work.

▪ Just a guess, but the Spurs’ relationship with Gregg Popovich over the years sometimes “is not pretty.”

▪ The performance by Oregon’s Jenna Prandini (Clovis) at the NCAA Women’s Track and Field Championships suggests she is the nation’s next track star.

▪ Meanwhile, another sprinter continues to defy time: Justin Gatlin.

▪ The Modesto Nuts’ Harrison Musgrave (10-1) earned his promotion this week to Double-A. And how.

▪ Six weeks before the start of college football. Never gets old.

▪ Just because, while we remember Stabler: Mark van Eeghen.

▪ True: Stabler, after the Raiders finally dethroned the Steelers in 1976, handed a kid a cigar outside the team party.

There’s nothing wrong with reading the game plan by the light of the jukebox.

Ken Stabler

▪ Stabler wouldn’t have lasted five minutes at the NFL combine. His measurables were wins.

▪ The early confusion about Stabler’s death wasn’t surprising. Thought for a moment he was rallying one more time in the fourth quarter.

▪ “The Autumn Wind is a Raider, pillaging just for fun.” That had to have been inspired by Stabler.

▪ Stabler’s only problem was his attention span. You didn’t get the full-throttle Snake until the game was on the line.

▪ Stabler’s heyday coincided with arguably the peak of the Raiders’ popularity in the Bay Area. They owned it until, 1. Bill Walsh and Joe Montana and, 2. They left.

▪  How Stabler checked out: Surrounded by family, listening to Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Sweet Home Alabama.”

▪ Gunslinger royalty: Coached by Bear Bryant, signed by Al Davis and coached in the NFL by John Madden.

▪ They knew an original when they saw one.

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