Legendary Rams QB Roman Gabriel, NFL MVP in 1969, dies at 83

Legendary Rams QB Roman Gabriel, NFL MVP in 1969, dies at 83

By Oghale Apr20,2024

Legendary Los Angeles Rams quarterback Roman Gabriel died Saturday morning at age 83, the team confirmed in a statement.

“We mourn the loss of Rams legend and football pioneer, Roman Gabriel,” the Rams said. “We extend our condolences to his family and friends during this difficult time.”

Gabriel’s son, Roman Gabriel III, shared on X that his father died of natural causes at his home.

Gabriel had a chance to play in the AFL with the Oakland Raiders, who selected him No. 1 in the 1962 AFL Draft, but chose the Rams, who took him at No. 2 in the NFL Draft that year.

By the late ’60s, Gabriel was a star quarterback and earned Pro Bowl selections for three straight seasons (1967-69). He also earned NFL MVP and All-Pro honors in 1969 while leading the league in touchdown passes with 24.

That year, the Rams opened the season on an 11-game win streak and finished at 11-3 with a loss to the Minnesota Vikings in the divisional round.

After 11 seasons with Los Angeles, Gabriel signed with the Philadelphia Eagles ahead of the 1973 season. His first Eagles season included a fourth Pro Bowl selection and winning Comeback Player of the Year after leading the NFL in completions (27), passing touchdowns (23) and passing yards (3,219).

Gabriel retired from the NFL in 1977 after five seasons with the Eagles. He amassed 201 touchdowns for 29,444 yards in 183 career games.

After his playing career, Gabriel coached at Cal Poly Pomona from 1980 to 1982 and served as offensive coordinator of the USFL’s Boston Breakers in 1983. Gabriel, a standout quarterback at NC State, was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1989.

(Photo: Focus on Sport / Getty Images)

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