Ken Stabler lived life to the fullest.
Friday night at Chaparral High School his life was remembered and celebrated before the Firebirds’ 35-28 overtime win over Mesa Red Mountain. Stabler passed away this past summer from complications resulting from Stage 4 colon cancer. He was 69.
“I’m very overwhelmed and humbled by the support for my dad,” daughter Kendra Stabler Moyes said after the ceremony. “I’m blown away.”
The school and “the Snake,” as the left-handed Super Bowl champion quarterback was affectionately known during his 15-year NFL career, share a close connection. Stabler’s two grandchildren, junior twins Jack and Justin Moyes, play for the Firebirds. Jack is a free safety and Justin a wide receiver/defensive back.
“He’d tell us how we practiced, how we played,” Jack Moyes told Sports360AZ.com. “It was always a good time just hanging around with him, playing catch and him telling us old stories.”
Stabler was a regular at his grandchildren’s games throughout their childhood and made just as big an impact in the twin’s life off the field as he did on it.
“He was super giving, he had the biggest heart,” Kendra Sabler Moyes said. “He knew every single one of Jack and Justin’s friends and their parents. He could meet somebody for two minutes and a year later [remember] their name.”
The 6’4″, 215-pounder was born in Foley, Alabama and earned his nickname from his high school coach. Stabler stayed in-state for college and played for the legendary Paul ‘Bear’ Bryant at Alabama, leading the Crimson Tide to a remarkable 28-3-2 record with him under center. He was selected in the second round of the 1968 draft by the Raiders and at the time became the fastest to win 100 games as a starting quarterback in NFL history. Presently only legends Terry Bradshaw, Joe Montana and Tom Brady have accomplished the feat faster.
The Moyes family isn’t quite sure what Stabler would think of Friday’s ceremony but knows he’s still watching every single day.
“He [wouldn’t] really like all the attention,” Justin Moyes explained with a wry grin. “It’s an honor for us to be able to honor him.”