Selma boasts unique Super Bowl connection

Published 6:18 am Sunday, February 11, 2024

Selma has a unique connection to the Super Bowl, through a well known, winning Alabama quarterback. 

Former Alabama quarterback Kenny “the Snake” Stabler, who won a Super Bowl title with the Oakland Raiders in 1977, was represented by Selma attorney Henry Pitts.  

Photos of Stabler, a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, filled a big part of  Pitts’ office. Stabler often came to Selma to visit the grandmother of his first wife, Isabele Clark. He met Pitts after his collegiate career ended at Alabama and he was drafted by the Oakland Raiders in 1968.  

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Pitts said later that at the time he wanted to represent  professional athletes, beginning with Stabler.

Stabler spent his rookie year on the injured reserve list in 1968. During his second NFL season, Stabler left the Raiders in 1969 training camp, moved to Tuscaloosa and ended up in Selma. 

Once out of football, Stabler started a sports talk show on WAMA, a local Selma radio station at the time. Pitts helped Stabler return to Oakland in 1970.  He worked with Oakland Raiders coach John Madden to bring Stabler back to the team. Six years later, Stabler guided the Raiders to a win in Super Bowl XI.

Stabler paid another visit to Selma in 1980 during a campaign for Mayor Joe Smitherman at the Black Elks Country Club. At that time, he was traded from Oakland to the Houston Oilers.

Another memorable visit to Selma came during the 1990’s when Stabler was hired as the color analyst for Alabama football and appeared at Pine Belt Communications. 

“I have spent a lot of time in Selma in the 1960’s,” Stabler told the Selma Times-Journal at the time.  

Stabler died of colon cancer in 2015 and was posthumously named to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2016. Pitts passed away in 2020. 

Alabama football play-by-play commentator Eli Gold, who worked alongside Stabler for many years, praised the left-handed quarterback during one of his visits at the Selma Quarterback Club.

He never really bragged on himself,” Gold said. “He didn’t have to, everybody knew the guy was great, and no need to remind anybody, and if folks wanted to brag on him, well that was fine, but you never really heard Snake tell many stories or accolades. The only stories that he did tell were the funny ones, the breaking of the curfew, and ‘How I did this’ or ‘This guys did that.’