UPDATED: CANTON, OHIO –Quarterback Ken Stabler and guard Dick Stanfel were selected as senior finalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame's Class of 2016. Stabler and Stanfel were picked by the Hall of Fame's Seniors Committee that met in Canton today.
"This is wonderful news for the Snake, wonderful news for anybody that has ever associated with Stabler, the Raider Nation, the Raiders, all of the coaches and players who ever played with him.
"Everybody that played with him and coached him knew that he had those qualities. He was a Pro Football Hall of Fame candidate way back then. So, it's magical that he finally made it (as a finalist). It's long overdue and I'm very happy for him."
- Former Raiders Head Coach Tom Flores
Stabler was drafted in the second round out of Alabama by the Oakland Raiders in 1968. The left-handed quarterback was known for his exciting style of play and ability to win games. He compiled an impressive .661 winning percentage over his 15-season career with the Raiders (1970-79), Houston Oilers (1980-81) and New Orleans Saints (1982-84). In all, "The Snake" threw for 27,938 yards and 194 touchdowns in his 184-game career. Stabler, who passed away on July 8, 2015, was the only quarterback since the AFL-NFL merger to lead his team to five consecutive conference championship games. He guided the Raiders to the AFC title game each season from 1973-77. He also quarterbacked Oakland to a victory in Super Bowl XI with a 32-14 win over the Minnesota Vikings.
Stabler was twice named the NFL's Most Valuable Player (1974 and 1976) and voted to the NFL's All-Decade Team of the 1970s.
Stanfel, who passed away on June 22, 2015, was selected in the second round of the 1951 draft by the Detroit Lions. In seven seasons with the Lions (1952-55) and Washington Redskins (1956-58), he developed the reputation as one of the finest guards in the NFL.
The former University of San Francisco standout was named first-team All-NFL five times, voted to four Pro Bowls and selected to the NFL's All-Decade Team of the 1950s. He also was once voted by his teammates as the Lions Most Valuable Player. Noted as a team leader, Stanfel was an integral part of the Lions teams that appeared in three straight NFL championship games. Detroit captured back-to-back NFL titles in 1952 and 1953.
The Seniors Committee is comprised of nine members of the overall selection committee. Through mail vote, the 2016 senior nominees were reduced to a final list of candidates. Then, on a rotating basis, five of the nine members meet at the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton to discuss each of the senior candidates and select the finalist. A senior nominee is a player whose career ended at least 25 years ago.
Stabler and Stanfel must receive the same 80 percent voting support that is required of all finalists. The Hall's Selection Committee, at its annual meeting to be held on Saturday, February 6, 2016 in San Francisco, Calif., will consider 18 finalists, including two Seniors (Stabler and Stanfel), one Contributor (to be named in early September), and 15 Modern-Era candidates (to be determined from a preliminary list announced in mid-September). Current bylaws call for a class no smaller than four or larger than eight. The Seniors finalists will be voted on for election independent of the other finalists.
The Pro Football Hall of Fame's Class of 2016 will be formally enshrined during the Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Weekend in Canton, Ohio on Aug. 4-7, 2016. The Enshrinement Ceremony is televised nationally by the Hall of Fame's broadcast partners, NFL Network and ESPN.