Stabler didn’t have the numbers nor the longevity. He threw more interceptions than touchdowns — 222 compared to 194 — and had a sub-60-percent career completion rate. He had an outstanding run in Oakland with a legendary coach and one of the best collections of offensive weapons the game has ever seen; but once that run came to an end in the form of a trade, Stabler’s career kind of fizzled out, while Oakland kept going. The Raiders won two of the next four Super Bowls without him.
Stabler was kept out of the Hall for so many years because he didn’t make the most of what he had. Teammates “couldn’t respect” his lack of effort. Casper, the recipient of so many Stabler passes, said that when Stabler would receive his weekly gameplan, “he probably takes it and throws it in the waste basket.” The perception was that Stabler fell into a great situation, and was merely a cog in the Raiders’ machine rather than its engine.
Case for his bust in Canton
Sports, in the end, are entertainment. Football is the most entertaining of them all. And you could argue that its history hasn’t included a single player more entertaining than Stabler. The flamboyant Alabama native brought joy, amusement and astonishment to so many in and outside of the game. The endless string of memories is immortal for those who were witnesses. It seems only right that the Hall of Fame cement its immortality for all.
“I started my life third-and-long. I skipped practices. I got kicked off my high school team. I got kicked off my college team. I’ve had third-and-15 my whole life. Everybody’s had rocky moments from Day 1. But sometimes you pick up third-and-long, and that’s where you make your money. That’s where the satisfaction comes, from the game and from life.”
In a nod to a hard-working undrafted free agent, and a warning to a highly touted second-round pick, Buccaneers coach Dirk Koetter confirmed a shakeup atop the team’s tight end depth chart Wednesday.
Cameron Brate, a Harvard graduate who signed with the Bucs in 2014, only to bounce onto New Orleans’ roster last year before returning to Florida, is the team’s starting tight end. For those with an eye on the Bucs, it seems the proclamation has been a long time coming. Brate came on strong this offseason and is flashing early in his second go-round with the team.
“I don’t think it’s any big secret that Cam’s been working with the first group,” head coach Dirk Koetter said, via The Tampa Bay Times. “We’re deep at tight end and Cam’s at the top of the depth right now. (Austin Seferian-Jenkins) is working hard, working at it. Austin’s trying to get better every day. … Austin’s working at it and that’s all he can do right now. He’s just got to work. That’s all anybody that’s fighting for a job can do. The guys that are playing the best are going to play.
“Catching up for some guys is knowing what they’re doing. Catching up for other guys is you’ve got to play better, and he falls into that category.”
The immediate question is obvious: Where does this leave Seferian-Jenkins?