SNAKE by Ken & Berry Stainback Stabler

SNAKE

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Billy Clyde Puckett in the flesh, but with enough indiscretions thrown in to make the original blush. From the time he was old enough to toddle the sandlots of Foley, Alabama, Stabler had good ol' boy superjock written all over him. Here he tells of his tempestuous youth (sports, more sports, more women, cop trouble, father trouble--an alcoholic with a mean streak whom Stabler worshipped--and drinkin', ridin' and your general carousin'), college days at 'Bama with Coach Bear Bryant (""It was not easy for football players at Alabama to fail courses, particularly physical education majors. All you had to do was show up""), and on to a storied professional career with the Oakland Raiders. Stabler had a reputation as an unflappable field general with a deft passing touch and an instinct for the end zone. Maintaining a good relationship with Coach John Madden and a tumultuous one with owner Al Davis, Stabler took the rowdy Raiders to winning seasons and championships. Aided by an adventurous approach to off-field activities--sex, drinking, machines that move rapidly--and unrestrained by anything so mundane as decorum, Stabler earned a reputation for outrageousness on a team that tried to reinvent the word, often with the pregame help of amphetamines, there for the taking in the locker room. After the first pass at off-field adventures, Stabler's bio tends to bog down in repetition. The big game followed by the big score; shuffled in are ribald portraits of friends and teammates (who seem like stock characters from a Burr Reynolds movie) limned in four-letter words. Retired now after knees and other injuries took their toll, and happily, loyally married to a former Miss Alabama (after two half-tries), Stabler leads the quiet life, lacking only the sustenance of a beer commercial to seal his golden past. Vicariously entertaining, Snake, in terms of candor (and, be warned, vulgarity), is head and shoulder pad above the typical sports bio. Stabler and Stainback pull no punches and that alone should satisfy even the marginal sports fan.

Pub Date: Sept. 5th, 1986
Publisher: Doubleday