It is sad. It truly is sad when you look at the game of football and you see all these great players and yet some will never show a Super Bowl ring. The saddest ones are the QBs that drive their teams to playoffs and even to the bowl but don’t make it. It is sad how a medium QB like Terry Bradshaw or Brad Johnson get Super Bowl rings because of their defense.
Yes I said Terry Bradshaw. That man had 212 touchdowns to 210 interceptions. He had 27,989 yards passing with a 70.9 QB rating. He was great because of his teams ability and support only.
Tarkenton retired as the QB that rushed for the most career yards. But that overshadowed the fact that he had broken every passing record at that time. He had more yards with 47,003 yards. He had more touchdowns with 342 to 266 interceptions over an eighteen-year career while missing only one game. He had more completions with 3,686 and to top it off he led Vikings to the Super Bowl three times and was the NFL MVP of 1975 and the offensive player of the year in 1975 along with other awards. His Viking number is retired and he was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1986.
His coach Bud Grant said he was “the greatest quarterback who ever played.” Well we might not be sure about that but he is definitely close to it.
The strangest thing about him is he was about my size when he entered the league. He wouldn’t be drafted high today because he was 6 ft and weighed 180 lbs. Yet took blow after blow and still only missed one game in his career. Deacon Jones, who was probably the most gruesome DE in the game, admitted in interviews that he tried desperately to end Tarkenton’s career. Yet Tarkenton would not let that happen.
What makes Tarkenton so great is that while today QBs like McNabb and former QB Vick get praise for their running, Tarkenton was ridiculed because he left the pocket and scrambling around like a soldier avoiding a sniper. That’s why Deacon was out to get him because he didn’t want to be chasing this shrimp around all day.
“I was a freak.” That’s what Tarkenton said to describe himself as a runner at that time. He says he didn’t invent scrambling. Well, he perfected it then. Before anybody contradicts we must ask if he was only a runner, how did he break all those passing records. He didn’t run, he scrambled and moved to keep from getting sacked while looking for a receiver. He moved back more than front.
He is on the short list for "Who is the best Minnesota Vikings player?" He is just a guy you couldn't help but admire because of what he did and how he never gave up even when it was bad.
He never won the big game but he lost to the Dolphins, Steelers and Raiders in the Super Bowl. You can't say he is bad because he lost to those really good teams. He’s probably better than some who actually won it because to pass while scrambling is harder that in the pocket and yet he did it spectacularly.
To Fran Tarkenton
For making the QB position a cool position.
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