Cards That Never Were is a recurring series in which I create virtual trading cards for players missed in various sets. It is a concept I have borrowed from too many to list, but I appreciate all of their efforts.
After a stellar career at Alabama, Ken Stabler was selected in the second round of the 1968 NFL/AFL Draft by the Oakland Raiders, the reigning AFL champions. He was also drafted to play baseball by the New York Yankees in 1966, the New York Mets in 1967 and the Houston Astros in 1968. He signed with the Raiders, who sent him to the Spokane Shockers of the Continental Football League for the 1968 season. He rejoined the Raiders and left the team a couple times in 1968 and '69, before returning to the Raiders for the '70 season.
Being behind George Blanda and Daryle Lamonica, Stabler saw very little action in '71 and '72. He became a starter in '73 and held that position through 1979. He was traded to the Houston Oilers, where he played for two seasons and then finished his career with three seasons in New Orleans.
Fittingly, Topps gave Stabler his first card in the 1973 set. He continued to get cards every year until 1984, when he was left out. He also did not get a "career capper" card in the 1985 set.
I decided to fix the glaring omissions. I did not attempt a card for '69 or '70, as he did not get on the field and was barely with the team. I created a card for 1971, '72, '84 and '85, to fill in the other gaps. The '71 card features him as a holder, his primary position, since he only attempted seven passes all season.
For 1972, I created two cards, which I rarely do. The first was the best actual shot. I just thought the second looked cool. I liked the concept that Stabler was behind Blanda and Lamonica in line for the QB job.