Story of Three Alabama Quarterbacks
What do Bart Starr, Joe Namath, and Ken Stabler have in common?
Well, for one thing they all played for Alabama Crimson Tide. The other is, all three won Super Bowls. Bart Starr won Super Bowls I and II with the Green Bay Packers. Joe Namath won Super Bowl III with the New York Jets, and Ken Stabler won Super Bowl XI with the Oakland Raiders. What do Joe Namath and Ken Stabler have in common? They both played for Coach “Bear” Bryant. Bart Starr played for Harold “Red” Drew and J.B. Whitworth.
Bart Starr played for Alabama Crimson Tide from 1952-1955. He was drafted by the Green Bay Packers in the 17th round in 1956. When Bart Starr played for Alabama, they weren’t a great team. Alabama had 2 winning seasons when Bart Starr played for them. 1952, Alabama was 10-2, went to the Orange Bowl and beat Syracuse. 1953, Alabama posted a 6-3-3 record and went to the Cotton Bowl where they lost to Rice.
In 1954 and 1955, the Crimson Tide was under .500. In fact in 1955, the Alabama Crimson Tide didn’t win ANY games! They went 0-10, under J.B. Whitworth. Bart Starr didn’t play a whole lot during his junior and senior seasons. He injured himself by punting a football in the summer of 1954. He injured his back, which caused him to play sparingly during his last two seasons at Alabama. He played in the Orange Bowl and helped the Crimson Tide beat Syracuse 61-6. He threw for 93 yards with one touchdown in that game.
In 1953, Bart Starr threw for 870 yards with 8 touchdowns. He helped the Crimson Tides to reach the Cotton Bowl. Bart Starr played in the Blue-Gay All Star game in 1955. Alabama basketball Head Coach Johnny Dees was a close friend to Jack Vainisi who was the personal director of the Green Bay Packers. Coach Dees suggested Bart Starr to Jack Vainisi to play for the Packers. Vainisi went along with the idea and drafted Bart Starr.
In 1956, Bart Starr was the back up quarterback to Tobin Rote and Babe Parilli. In 1959, Vince Lombardi came to Green Bay; he decided to have Bart Starr to be the starting quarterback over Lamar McHan after the season was started. Green Bay went 7-5, their first winning season since 1947. In 1960, Green Bay Packers went 8-4, played in the NFL Championship Game. The Packers lost to the Philadelphia Eagles. Bart Starr was the starting quarterback. In 1961 and 1962, the Packers won the NFL Championships. Bart Starr was a pivotal piece to the 1962 team that won 13 regular season games. Both 1961 and 1962, the Packers beat the NY Giants in the championship game.
Green Bay won the NFL Championship in 1965 when they beat the Cleveland Browns. In 1966, the Green Bay Packers went 12-2; beat the Dallas Cowboys in the NFL Conference Championship game. The Packers met the KC Chiefs on January 15, 1967 for the first NFL-AFL Championship Game. Which is known as Super Bowl I. The Green Bay Packers beat the KC Chiefs 35-10. Bart Starr threw the first Super Bowl touchdown pass to Max McGee. It was a 37 yard touchdown to Max McGee to give the Packers a 7-0 lead. Bart Starr would throw another touchdown pass to Max McGee in the 3rd quarter to make a 28-10 lead.
In Super Bowl II, the Packers beat the Oakland Raiders 33-14. In that game, Bart Starr threw 1 touchdown pass to Boyd Dowler. It was a 62 yard pass. Bart Starr threw for 202 yards, but the defense helped keep Green Bay from losing the game. Herb Adderley intercepted a Daryle Lamonica pass and ran for 60 yards for a touchdown. That was the only two Super Bowls that Bart Starr won. He would not go to another Super Bowl as a player or coach. Bart Starr played for the Green Bay Packers from 1956-1971. Bart Starr coached the Green Bay Packers from 1975-1983, he was 52-76-3. During his coaching career, the Packers made the postseason one time, 1982 season.
Joe Namath is the second Alabama quarterback that won a Super Bowl. Joe Namath helped the New York Jets defeat the Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl III. That was the only time that the Jets ever reach the Super Bowl. Joe Namath played for the Alabama Crimson Tide from 1962-1964. Alabama won the Co-National Championship in 1964. They finished a tie with Arkansas Razorbacks. In 1962, Alabama won 10 games, went to the Orange Bowl and beat Oklahoma 17-0. Joe Namath had a great season; he had 13 touchdowns, 1192 passing yards, and rushed for 321 yards. He had a 52.1 passing percentage that season.
In 1963, Joe Namath was suspended in the final two games of the regular season. Alabama went 9-2, played in the Sugar Bowl. Alabama beat Ole Miss in the Sugar Bowl 12-7. In 1964, Alabama went 10-1; beat Texas Longhorns in the Orange Bowl. In that season, Joe Namath injured his knee and he didn’t play a whole lot. He threw for 756 yards, with 5 touchdown passes. He did play in the Orange Bowl. Joe Namath threw 2 touchdown passes and had 255 passing yards in the Orange Bowl.
In 1965, New York Jets selected Joe Namath in the AFL’s first draft pick. Joe Namath was drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals in the 12th overall pick in the NFL Draft. He decided to sign to the New York Jets. Joe Namath was named AFL Rookie of the Year in 1965. In 1967, he was the first quarterback to throw for 4,000 yards in a season. 1968, NY Jets won 11 games. They played the Oakland Raiders in the AFL Title Game; beat the Raiders 27-23. Before Super Bowl III, some football junkies called out Joe Namath and mentioned that the Baltimore Colts are gonna beat the NY Jets. Joe Namath called out and said “We are going to win the game, I Guaranteed It”.
Well the NY Jets beat the Baltimore Colts 16-7 on January 12, 1969. Joe Namath threw for 206 yards with no touchdowns and no interceptions. He was the game’s MVP. Joe Namath would have 4 knee operations throughout his career. He didn’t play a complete season after playing a full season for the first 5 years. In 1977, Joe Namath played one season for the LA Rams. He started the season on a winning note, but then took a tumble on a Monday Night game against the Bears. His body couldn’t take another beating. Joe Namath retired after the season was through.
Ken Stabler is the 3rd Alabama quarterback that won a Super Bowl. Ken Stabler helped the Oakland Raiders beat the Minnesota Vikings in Super XI 32-14. Ken Stabler played for the Alabama Crimson Tide 1965-1967. Ken played a couple of games in 1965. He was the backup quarterback behind Steve Sloan. In 1966, Ken Stabler was the starting quarterback for the Crimson Tides. On October 15, 1966, Ken Stabler helped guide Alabama to a comeback win over Tennessee in Knoxville. Tennessee was leading 10-0, and then Alabama stormed back and beat the Volunteers 11-10. He threw a touchdown and kicker Davis kicked a field goal.
Alabama did not win the National Championship in 1966 even though they went 11-0. Ken Stabler got the nickname “The Snake” because of his speed and he can run through the defensive lineman. Ken Stabler had a good career at Alabama; he threw 18 touchdowns, with 18 interceptions. He threw for 2,196 yards and he rushed for 838 yards career. He had 9 rushing touchdowns; he had 5 rushing touchdowns in 1967. Ken Stabler was drafted by the Oakland Raiders in 1968 in the 2nd round. He didn’t play until 1970. In 1968 and 1969, Ken Stabler played for Spokane, a Continental Football League. His first big game that attracted the NFL was the 1972 playoff game that featured the Oakland Raiders and the Pittsburgh Steelers. In that game, Ken relieved Daryle Lamonica, and scored a go ahead touchdown. He scored on a 30 yard touchdown run. Steelers did come back and beat the Raiders.
Ken Stabler was named the AFC Player of the Year in 1974 and 1976. In 1976, the Oakland Raiders won 13 games and lost only 1 game. The Raiders beat the Vikings 32-14 in Super Bowl XI. Ken Stabler threw 1 touchdown and had 180 passing yards in the game. In this game, it was a matchup of two SEC quarterbacks. Fran Tarkenton who was the quarterback for the Minnesota Vikings, played for Georgia, and of course Ken Stabler of Alabama. Fran Tarkenton threw 1 touchdown but had 2 interceptions on the game. He threw for more yards than Stabler. Ken Stabler played for the Oakland Raiders 1970-1979. He then went to play for the Houston Oilers for two seasons (1980-1981). In 1982, Ken Stabler went to the New Orleans Saints; he was the backup quarterback to former Ole Miss Archie Manning. Ken Stabler finally retired from football in 1984 after spending 3 seasons with the Saints.
So those are the 3 quarterbacks that won at least one Super Bowl that played for the Alabama Crimson Tide.
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