Remembering Roman Gabriel: N.C. State Wolfpack, LA Rams, Philadelphia Eagles, Raleigh-Durham SkyHawks, Carolina Panthers(Guys like Roman and Sonny Jurgensen were Special back in the day)

Roman Gabriel died on Saturday at age 83….He was Roman Ildonzo Gabriel Jr. and I wondered about that middle name of Ildonzo, and then I saw more background on Roman Gabriel, and it said his father was Roman Ildonzo Gabriel Sr., a Filipino immigrant, who raised his family in Wilmington, N.C.

The lifeline on Roman Gabriel goes, (August 5, 1940 – April 20, 2024)….And why is Wilmington, N.C. so important in his storyline??? Well, he played his high school football at Wilmington New Hanover High School, and he did very well at New Hanover HS, as did another quarterback that came before him there, and that would be Sonny Jurgensen…

Among high school athletes to come out of the state of North Carolina, you mention the names of Roman Gabriel and Sonny Jurgensen and you are talking about revered names…They are like icons from our past…You really need to stand and look up to sky when you bring up the names of Roman Gabriel and Sonny Jurgensen….Sonny is still with us, and he is now 89 years old…

Those two QBs, out of Wilmington New Hanover High School, were both superstars, and Sonny went to Duke University, and about four years after Sonny hit the Atlantic Coast Conference/ACC, Roman landed at N.C. State, in Raleigh….

Sonny was very competitive, but sort took it all in stride, but Roman came on strong, and maybe it was because of the fact that his family, being Filipino immigrants, struggled to make it times, any ways, Roman had a rocket arm, and he made the most of it…

At N.C. State, Roman won all kinds of awards….It would probably take a week or two, to list all that Roman Gabriel did while at N.C. State, but here are just a few of his accomplishments for starters…
He was a two-time All-American and two-time ACC Player of the Year (1960–61), Roman finished his college career holding virtually every Wolfpack passing record. An academic All-American, Gabriel saw his jersey retired (the first in program history) after his senior season and then presented to him by North Carolina governor Terry Sanford on January 20, 1962, at halftime of an NC State-Maryland basketball game in Reynolds Coliseum. As captain of his team, Gabriel set 22 school and nine conference football records. He threw for 2,961 yards and 19 touchdowns.

So, Roman did very well while playing for the N.C. State Wolfpack, but he did equally as well when he made it to the NFL….And for me, I pretty much always called him Roman, and I call Sonny Jurgensen, Sonny, because they both were just that well known and pretty much both Roman and Sonny were down here with us in North Carolina, on the people’s level…

Roman did a heck of job, when LA Rams coach George Allen finally gave him the full-time starting quarterback job…To me, and again this is how my sports life has run, I always felt like George Allen was the Greatest NFL Football Coach of All Time…With the Rams, you had guys like Roman Gabriel, Merlin Olsen, Rosey Grier, Deacon Jones, and Jack Pardee…George Allen left the Rams, and came to coach the Washington Redskins, and brought Deacon Jones, Jack Pardee, and others with him…George Allen had the motto we all should live by, “The Future Is Now”…..

While with the Rams, Roman was the NFL Most Valuable Player in 1969, and he was named to the Pro Bowl three times, from 1967-1969….Roman then got traded to the Philadelphia Eagles, and he was named the NFL Comeback Player of the Year in 1973….

After his work with the Eagles, Roman Gabriel did some football commentary work for CBS Sports, and then he became the head football coach at Cal Poly Pomona, where over three seasons(1980-1982), his record was (8-24)…In 1982, Roman become the offensive coordinator for the Boston Breakers of the USFL….

They say all head coaches live to coach again, and in 1991, Roman Gabriel was named the head coach of the Raleigh–Durham Skyhawks of the World League of American Football…That gig only lasted one year, as the Skyhawks went (0-10) and the team folded…They were playing in a Spring football league, and I must say, I did get to attend one of their games there in Raleigh, at Carter-Finley Stadium, home of the N.C. State Wolfpack, and it was not a bad show…

In my own opinion, or might I say, and is this how it is stated these days, IMHO….The best job Roman Gabriel did outside of playing football, as the outstanding and charismatic QB he was, was the job he did when he became the first color commentator/analyst for the Carolina Panthers football broadcasts on the radio…Roman was great at this in my opinion/IMHO….He was back in his old home state, and he sounded great as called the Panthers games alongside play-by-play man Bill Rosinski, and the other Panthers’ analyst, Jim Szoke…To me, and again, this is just my humble opinion/IMHO, Roman Gabriel, Bill Rosinski, and Jim Szoke were the best announcing team in the history of the Carolina Panthers games being announced on the radio…

The team of Bill, Roman, and Jim, lasted from 1995 until 2002, when Roman was replaced by Eugene Robinson…

Another thing that I will always remember about Roman Gabriel was that, Roman had that look…Dark haired guy, maybe the Filipino in him, and it made him look like an indian/Native American to me, but he used those good looks to his advantage, as he found work playing character roles in several Hollywood films/movies, and also had parts on several television shows…

Roman Gabriel was the man, and I also remember he had a couple of sons, and one was Roman Gabriel III me thinks, and the other was called Ram Gabriel…Roman did quite a bit, and he made the utmost of with what he had to work with…He took his talents and made his journey a long and successful one, and I for one enjoyed following him, along the way….

Sports stars like Roman Gabriel and Sonny Jurgensen are one in a million, but for those two, Roman and Sonny, they WERE SOMETHING SPECIAL

RIP:Roman/Roman Gabriel

from the TwitterVerse:

Bill Rosinski….Responding to Roman Gabriel III’s news post…
@RosinskiBill
Seven years sharing the broadcast booth with your Dad doing
@Panthers football is a time I will always cherish

Roman Gabriel 3
@RomanGabriel3rd
Apr 20
I am sad to announce my father Roman Gabriel @RGabriel4HOF passed away peacefully this morning of natural causes at his home . The entire family asked for your prayers , and to please respect our privacy ??- I love you dad

more from Bill Rosinski:
@RosinskiBill
One of the great nights I remember with Roman Gabriel was when the two of us met Jack Snow for dinner in St. Louis. I had worked with Jack at
@westwood1sports
. The two told stories for two hours about their days with the Rams and living near Hollywood. I just listened.