Why Roman Gabriel never gave Hall snub “a lot of thought”


There aren’t any quarterbacks on the short list of the Hall of Fame’s senior committee — at least, there haven’t been lately — and that includes guys like Ken Anderson, Cecil Isbell and Jim Plunkett.

But it includes former Rams’ and Eagles’ star Roman Gabriel, too, and, no, unlike the others, he didn’t win an NFL championship or appear in a Super Bowl. But he was such an accomplished quarterback that he was the league’s MVP and Bert Bell Award winner in 1969, its Comeback Player of the Year four years later and a four-time Pro Bowler and three-time All-Pro.

So why hasn’t he been mentioned as a Hall-of-Fame candidate? One reason is rings. He doesn’t have any, and that’s usually how we measure coaches and quarterbacks for Canton. Another is playoff wins. He doesn’t have any of those, either, and that ends the conversation.

But it shouldn’t. Because Roman Gabriel was one of the best quarterbacks of the 1960s. In fact, he was 41-11-4 during a four-year run where the Rams twice won division championships, and I know what you’re thinking: Yeah, well, big deal.

Actually, it is. Because the Rams had one winning year and no playoff appearances in the 10 seasons prior to 1966, the year George Allen named Gabriel his starting quarterback, and were a combined 43-83-4 during that time. Plus, they made that four-year push while sharing the division with the mighty Baltimore Colts and John Unitas.

Yes, the Rams had the Fearsome Foursome. But they also had a quarterback who twice led the league in touchdown passes and once in yards passing, who from 1966-72 ran for 22 touchdowns — more than any Rams’ running back — and who from 1962-76 had more rushing TDs (30) than any quarterback anywhere.

Moreover, Roman Gabriel still holds the Rams’ career records for most touchdown passes and victories by a starting quarterback.

So why hasn’t he at least been given a look by the Hall’s voters?

“I never really gave it a whole lot of thought,” Gabriel said on the latest Talk of Fame Network broadcast, “especially when it took my good friend, Kenny Stabler, to die to get in.

“I’m really pleased with my life. I’m in the Wilmington (N.C.) Hall of Fame, my hometown. I’m in Wilmington’s Walk of Fame. I’m in  my college’s – N.C. State — Hall of Fame. And the North Carolina Hall of Fame.

“Some things are good, and some things happen. If it happens, it happens. And it would be great. But I don’t think about it.”

There’s one other aspect to Gabriel’s candidacy. He was the first quarterback of Filipino descent to start in the NFL, and that should count for something — much like the Raiders’ Tom Flores becoming the first Hispanic quarterback in the NFL. One difference, of course: Flores won two Super Bowls as a head coach, one as a player and one as an assistant.  Gabriel did not.

“From what I’ve been told and what I researched, when I retired my numbers were comparable to some of the gentlemen that are in the Hall,” Gabriel said. “So I think that probably means as much as anything — the body of work.

“Like my good friend, David Ray, our kicker — at one time he led the league in points scored — (told me). Somebody asked him about me, and he says, ‘Well, where would the Rams have been without him?’ ”

It’s a good question … with a ready answer: Not at the top of their division.

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2 Comments

  1. Sports Fan
    June 4, 2018
    Reply

    Attn:
    NFL
    PFHOF
    &
    PFHIF 48 Selectors/Voters

    Must Read article by PFHOF Selector/Voter – Clark Judge

    Please cross-reference each point Mr Judge makes not only for
    Roman Gabriel
    but also PRECEDENCE HAS BEEN SET for both
    TOM FLORES
    &
    JIM PLUNKETT

    Fact:
    “I never really gave it a whole lot of thought,” Gabriel said on the latest Talk of Fame Network broadcast, “especially when it took my good friend, Kenny Stabler, TO DIE TO GET IN.”

    Fact:
    “Plus, there are SOCIAL IMPLICATIONS, with Gabriel the first Pacific islander to start at quarterback in the NFL. Gabriel is of Filipino descent”
    &
    “He was the first quarterback of Filipino descent to start in the NFL, and THAT SHOULD COUNT FOR SOMETHING — much like the Raiders’ Tom Flores becoming the first Hispanic quarterback in the NFL. One difference, of course: Flores won two Super Bowls as a head coach, one as a player and one as an assistant.”

    Fact:
    “What’s missing, of course, is a championship ring, BUT NO SWEAT. Dan Fouts doesn’t have one. Neither does Warren Moon. And it didn’t keep them out of Canton. It didn’t keep George Allen out, either, and he was Gabriel’s coach in L.A.

    Fact:
    “SMALL SAMPLE SIZES QUALIFY for Hall-of-Fame conversations ever since the induction of Terrell Davis last summer”

    Fact:
    “And that’s what I’m calling for here.
    I keep hearing people say he deserves to have his case heard by Hall-of-Fame voters, and, yes, I’d say he does.
    Just as Ken Anderson and
    JIM PLUNKETT DESERVE to have their candidacies heard.
    Like those two quarterbacks, Gabriel has been neither a finalist or a semifinalist, meaning he’s never been discussed by selectors”

    Fact:
    “AND THAT’S A SHAME”

    Fact:
    CLARK JUDGE May 15, 2018:
    “Not Plunkett? Agree with you on Anderson, but Plunkett’s TWO SUPER BOWLS MUST COUNT FOR SOMETHING.”

    Link:
    http://www.talkoffamenetwork.com/state-case-time-talked-roman-gabriel/

  2. Chris
    June 27, 2018
    Reply

    The NFL HOF old guard that limps in on HOF day with the gold blazers on would absolutely love getting Roman Gabriel in the HOF while he can still walk and think because the man can tell some stories. He’d do it all that week and maybe give 3-4 stories in his speech? Besides….he deserves being in the NFL Hall of Fame! He did a great job with less and if Roman were a high school QB today, he’d be on top of every college’s list! If he were graduating from NC State today, he’d be on the top of everyone’s list in the NFL. The guy was ahead of his time! He played in a pass on 3rd and long NFL and every player on every team makes the teams. Many great players don’t play for the top teams…..that’s a fact. You’re better off being 3rd round Russell Wilson on a good team than many 1st round QBs who get lost on lesser teams (Russ was a 1st round QB but lucky to be chosen by a competing team), luck of the draw. Look at Roman’s stats and compare them to 1960’s and 1970’s NFL QBs…..put him in the HALL!

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