“The Snake” is being honored with his Pro Football Hall of Fame Ring of Excellence before the Raiders take on the Steelers on Sunday at Allegiant Stadium.
Represented by about 10 members of his family, Ken Stabler will be awarded his ring posthumously before the Raiders’ home opener against one of their all-time rivals. Pro Football Hall of Fame President Jim Porter will preside over the ring presentation.
Several Hall of Famers will join Stabler’s family and Raiders owner Mark Davis in the pregame ceremony. Fans are encouraged to arrive an hour before the game’s 5:20 p.m. kickoff to catch the event.
Beginning with Raiders great Cliff Branch, the Hall of Fame revised its policy of presenting rings to enshrinees elected posthumously, after previously restricting the Rings of Excellence to living inductees. Branch was enshrined in August 2022.
Davis, a member of the Hall’s Board of Trustees, let the movement for the Hall of Fame to reconsider its ring-presentation policy. Virginia Madden, widow of the late legendary Raiders coach and broadcaster John Madden, joined Davis in the effort. Madden, who died Dec. 28, 2021, was inducted into the Hall in 2006.
Stabler died July 8, 2015. The crafty left-hander led the Raiders to their first of three Super Bowls victories, 32-14 over the Vikings in Super Bowl XI at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena in January 1977. He played 10 seasons in Oakland, 1970-79, and is considered one of the team’s all-time greats.
Rap star Lil Wayne is Sunday’s halftime headliner. The top-selling hip-hop artist performs Friday at iHeartRadio Music Festival at T-Mobile Arena, with Flavor Flav introducing.
Lil Wayne has announced “Tha Fix Before Tha VI” as his next release, posting a pre-sale link on his X account Wednesday.
A close friend of Deion Sanders, Lil Wayne walked out the Buffs’ head coach prior to Saturday’s Colorado-Colorado State game in Boulder. Wayne also performed “Uproar” in the pregame.
Recording star Jordin Sparks returns to sing the national anthem, returning to Allegiant Stadium after performing the anthem prior to the Raiders-Patriots preseason game in August 2022. Sparks also sang the national anthem at Super Bowl XLII in Glendale, Arizona. (The Giants beat the Pats 17-14 on David Tyree’s famous “Helmet Catch.”)
The team is also returning its ceremonial lighting of the Al Davis Memorial Torch for all home games this season. The honoree Sunday is said to be a heavy, heavy hitter.
John Katsilometes’ column runs daily in the A section. His “PodKats!” podcast can be found at reviewjournal.com/podcasts. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @johnnykats on X, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.