Tag Archives: Ken Stabler

Greg McElroy and Alabama’s history of starting QBs in the NFL

New York Jets quarterback Greg McElroy gets the call for Sunday's game against San Diego. (AP photo by Kathy Willens)

New York Jets quarterback Greg McElroy gets the call for Sunday’s game against San Diego. (AP photo by Kathy Willens)

New York Jets quarterback Greg McElroy will make his first professional start Sunday when his team hosts San Diego. It marks the first time a former Alabama quarterback has started in the NFL since Brodie Croyle led the Kansas City Chiefs for one game in 2010. The Chiefs lost 31-0 at San Diego.

Some other little factoids about Alabama quarterbacks starting in the NFL, with plenty of help from pro-football-reference.com:

–The last time a former Alabama quarterback started and won in the NFL was Nov. 15, 1987, when Jeff Rutledge led the New York Giants past the Philadelphia Eagles 20-17. Rutledge threw for 298 yards and led New York back from a 17-10 third quarter deficit. He was replacing the injured Phil Simms.

–Before Rutledge won two starts in 1987, the last Alabama quarterback to win as an NFL starter was Richard Todd. On his 31st birthday, Nov. 19, 1984, he quarterbacked the New Orleans Saints to a 27-24 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers on Monday night. The Saints trailed 17-13 in the fourth quarter before Todd rallied them.

–McElroy will be the third former Alabama quarterback to start for the Jets. Joe Namath started 126 games for them during 1965-76, and Todd started 94 during 1976-83. The last start came Dec. 16, 1983, when Todd threw for 230 yards in a 34-14 loss at Miami. The first came Sept. 26, 1965, when the Jets lost 33-21 at Buffalo as Namath threw for 287 yards and a pair of touchdowns.

–The last time an Alabama quarterback started and won a playoff game was Jan. 15, 1983, when Todd led the Jets to a 17-14 win over the Raiders. New York won when Todd rallied the Jets to a late fourth-quarter touchdown.

Alabama started quarterbacks in the NFL and their teams’ records when they started:

Ken Stabler (1970-84), 96-49-1
Joe Namath (1965-78), 62-63-4
Bart Starr (1956-71), 94-57-6
Richard Todd (1976-85), 48-59-1
Scott Hunter (1971-79), 21-18-3
Harry Gilmer (1948-56), 0-10-0
Jeff Rutledge (1979-92), 2-7-1
Brodie Croyle (2006-10), 0-10-0
Steve Sloan (1966-67), 0-1-0

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Flashback: Field goal lifts Alabama in 1966 showdown in Knoxville

Alabama’s closest call in its unbeaten, untied 1966 season came on a rainy day in Knoxville. The Crimson Tide survived with an 11-10 win, but needed a comeback to secure the victory.

Tennessee led 10-0 going into the fourth quarter as Austin Denney scored on a 4-yard pass from Dewey Warren and Gary Wright kicked a 40-yard field goal.

Alabama quarterback Ken Stabler, later an NFL MVP with the Oakland Raiders, rallied the Crimson Tide. Stabler’s quarterback sneak from the UT 1 made it 10-6. He then completed a 2-point pass to Wayne Cook to make it 10-8. Steve Davis put Alabama ahead 11-0 with a 17-yard field goal.

Tennessee had a chance late when Wright lined up for a 20-yard field-goal attempt with a bad angle. The kick drifted wide right.

Wright told author Al Browning for the book “Third Saturday in October” his middle initial was W, and later, a Tennessee manager nicknamed him Wide Wright.

We have video from the game, although it doesn’t include Wright’s miss. That’s a shame, because that’s the one play I’d like to see because so many people have talked about it for so many years.

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