Fran Tarkenton

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Fran Tarkenton
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{{for|the episode of Weeds named after this person|Weeds (season 6)}}{{short description|American football player}}{{Use mdy dates|date=January 2019}}

| birth_place = Richmond, Virginia| death_date =| death_place =| height_ft = 6| height_in = 0| weight_lbs = 190Clarke Central High School>Athens (GA)Georgia Bulldogs football>Georgia| draftyear = 1961| draftround = 3| draftpick = 29| afldraftyear = 1961| afldraftround = 5| afldraftpick = 34| pastteams = Touchdown>TD–INT| statvalue1 = 342–266| statlabel2 = Passing yards| statvalue2 = 47,003| statlabel3 = Completion percentage| statvalue3 = 57.0| statlabel4 = Passer rating| statvalue4 = 80.4| statlabel5 = Rushing yards| statvalue5 = 3,674| statlabel6 = Rushing touchdowns| statvalue6 = 32| nfl = TAR369148| pfr = TarkFr00| HOF = fran-tarkenton| CollegeHOF = 1778}}Francis Asbury Tarkenton (born February 3, 1940) is an American former football player who was a quarterback for the University of Georgia and, subsequently, in the National Football League (NFL). He played in the NFL for 18 seasons, spending the majority of his career with the Minnesota Vikings. After retiring from football, he became a television personality and computer software executive.Tarkenton's tenure with the Vikings spanned thirteen non-consecutive seasons, playing with the team for six seasons from 1961 to 1966, then for seven seasons from 1972 to 1978. In between his years in Minnesota, Tarkenton was a member of the New York Giants for five seasons. At the time of his retirement, Tarkenton owned every major quarterback record. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1986 and the College Football Hall of Fame in 1987.In addition to his football career, Tarkenton served as a commentator on Monday Night Football and a co-host of That's Incredible!. He also founded Tarkenton Software, a computer-program generator company, and he toured the U.S. promoting CASE (computer-aided software engineering) with Albert F. Case Jr. of Nastec Corporation. Tarkenton Software later merged with KnowledgeWare (with Tarkenton as president), until selling the company to Sterling Software in 1994.

Early life and education

Fran Tarkenton was born on February 3, 1940, in Richmond, Virginia. His father, Dallas Tarkenton, was a Methodist minister.WEB,weblink Father of Tarkenton Dies During Telecast, December 29, 1975, New York Times, September 20, 2019, Tarkenton went to Athens High School in Athens, Georgia, and later attended the University of Georgia, where he was the quarterback on the Bulldog football team and a member of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity.WEB,weblink Sigma Alpha Epsilon,, September 20, 2019, Under Coach Wally Butts and with Tarkenton as quarterback, Georgia won the 1959 Southeastern Conference championshipWEB,weblink History of all-time SEC football championships entering 2019, Bratton, Michael Wayne, July 2019, Saturday Down South, September 20, 2019, . Tarkenton was a first-team All-SEC selection in both 1959 and 1960.NEWS,weblink The Monroe News-Star, Auburn Lands 3 Lineman On All-Star Team, David M. Moffit, November 25, 1959, 23, June 11, 2015,, {{Open access}}NEWS,weblink The Delta Democrat-Times, November 22, 1960, 7, Gibbs and Tarkenton Named on UPI All-SEC,

Professional football career

The Minnesota Vikings drafted Tarkenton in the third round of the 1961 NFL Draft, and he was picked in the fifth round of the 1961 AFL draft by the Boston Patriots. He signed with the Vikings. Tarkenton, 21, played his first National Football League game (and the Vikings' first game) on September 17 against the Chicago Bears coming off the bench to lead the Vikings to a come-from-behind victory by passing for 250 yards and four touchdown passes and running for anotherWEB,weblink Countdown to the 2013 NFL Draft, National Football League, April 2, 2013, as the Vikings defeated the Bears 37–13. He was the only player in NFL history to pass for four touchdowns in his first NFL game, until the feat was repeated by Marcus Mariota in the Tennessee Titans' 2015 season opener versus the Tampa Bay Buccaneers."A Look at Marcus Mariota's Rookie Accomplishments" by Jim Wyatt, Titans online, December 31, 2015File:Tarkenton Scrambling.PNG|thumb|160px|left|Tarkenton scrambling (1974)]]He played for the Vikings from 1961 to 1966. His early years with the team were plagued by the trouble expected for a newly created team, with the Vikings winning a total of 10 games combined in their first three seasons, with Tarkenton winning eight of them. He threw 18 touchdowns and 17 interceptions for 1,997 yards in his first season. He rushed for 308 yards on 56 rushes for five touchdowns. The following year, he threw 22 touchdowns and 25 interceptions for 2,595 yards. He rushed for 361 yards on 41 rushes for two touchdowns.Tarkenton was traded to the New York Giants in 1967, at which time he moved to the New York City suburb of New Rochelle, New York.Kriegel, Mark. Namath:A Biography; Penguin Books; 2005; {{ISBN|978-0143035350}}; p.210 In the first game of the 1969 season, Tarkenton's Giants played the Vikings. After trailing 23–10 in the fourth quarter, Tarkenton threw two touchdown passes to secure a 24–23 comeback victory over his former team."Minnesota Vikings at New York Giants - September 21st, 1969", The 24 points allowed by Minnesota's defense were a season-worst for the unit, one more point than the Vikings allowed in losing Super Bowl IV to the Kansas City Chiefs."1969 Minnesota Vikings", Pro-Football-Reference.comTarkenton enjoyed his best season with the Giants in 1970. The club overcame an 0-3 start to win nine of 10 and move into position to win the NFC East division championship in week 14. However, New York was routed 31-3 by the Los Angeles Rams at Yankee Stadium, leaving the Giants 9-5, one game behind the division champion Dallas Cowboys and the wild card Detroit Lions. 1970 was the closest the Giants came to making the playoffs during a 17-year drought, spanning the 1964 through 1980 seasons.Tarkenton was traded back to Minnesota in 1972, for three players (Norm Snead, Bob Grim and Vince Clements), plus a first and second round draft choice."Scramble Back To The Deep Purple", Sports Illustrated, February 7, 1971 He led the Vikings to three National Football Conference championships, but in each instance the Vikings lost the ensuing Super Bowl. In Tarkenton's first Super Bowl appearance his team lost to the Miami Dolphins 24–7 in Houston. They lost the second to the Pittsburgh Steelers 16–6 in New Orleans, and in the last Super Bowl Tarkenton played (and Minnesota's last Super Bowl to date), the Vikings lost to the Oakland Raiders 32–14 at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California.(File:Tarkenton calling vikings.jpg|thumb|right|170px|Tarkenton calling signals for the Vikings)In his 18 NFL seasons, Tarkenton completed 3,686 of 6,467 passes for 47,003 yards and 342 touchdowns, with 266 interceptions, all of which were NFL records at the time of his retirement. Tarkenton's 47,003 career passing yards rank him 8th all time, while his 342 career passing touchdowns is 6th all time in NFL history.{{citation |url= |title=Manning Passes Tarkenton with 343rd Career TD |work=Sports Illustrated |date=October 11, 2009 |accessdate=October 12, 2009}} He also is 6th on the all-time list of wins by a starting quarterback with 124 regular season victories. He also used his impressive scrambling ability to rack up 3,674 rushing yards and 32 touchdowns on 675 carries. During his career, Tarkenton ran for a touchdown in 15 different seasons, an NFL record among quarterbacks. He ranks fifth in career rushing yards among quarterbacks, behind Randall Cunningham, Steve Young, Michael Vick and Cam Newton. He is also one of four NFL quarterbacks ever to rush for at least 300 yards in seven different seasons; the others are Cam Newton, Michael Vick and Tobin Rote. When he retired, Tarkenton held NFL career records in pass attempts, completions, yardage, and touchdowns; rushing yards by a quarterback; and wins by a starting quarterback.The Vikings finished the 1975 season with an NFC-best 12–2 record and Tarkenton won the NFL Most Valuable Player Award and the NFL Offensive Player of the Year Award while capturing All-Pro honors in the process. He was also a second-team All-Pro in 1973 and earned All-NFC selections in 1972 and 1976. He was named second-team All-NFC in 1970 and 1974. Tarkenton was selected to play in nine Pro Bowls.Tarkenton, Professional Football Hall of Fame websiteTarkenton was indecisive on his retirement during the last seven years of his playing career."Tarkenton Has Retired, Giants Say", Chicago Tribune, Αugust 10, 1971Quote Of The Day, The Ledger, March 22, 1978Despite not winning a Super Bowl, he won six playoff games, and in 1999 he was ranked #59 on The Sporting News list of the 100 Greatest Football Players.Tarkenton was inducted into the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame in 1977,Inductees, Georgia Hall of Fame website the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1986, the College Football Hall of Fame in 1987,Inductees, College Football Hall of Fame website and the Athens, Georgia Athletic Hall of Fame in 2000.2000 Inductees {{webarchive|url= |date=August 22, 2016 }}, Athens Hall of Fame website


A biography of Tarkenton titled Better Scramble than Lose was published in 1969.Olsen, Jack. Better Scramble Than Lose; Four Winds Press; 1969 This followed Tarkenton's 1967 autobiography No Time for Losing and preceded by several years his 1977 autobiography Tarkenton co-written with Jim Klobuchar. The autobiographies chronicle not only his football career but also his personal evolution from his early football days as a preacher's son. Tarkenton co-wrote with Brock Yates a book in 1971 titled Broken Patterns: The Education of a Quarterback, a chronicle of the 1970 New York Giants season.Tarkenton, Fran & Brock W. Yates. Broken Patterns: The Education of a Quarterback; Simon and Schuster, 1971, {{ISBN|978-0671210533}}In 1986, Tarkenton, with author Herb Resincow, wrote a novel titled Murder at the Super Bowl, the whodunit story of a football coach killed just before his team is to participate in the championship game.Tarkenton, Fran & Herb Resincow. Murder at the Super Bowl; William Morrow & Co; 1st edition : October 1986; {{ISBN|978-0688067168}}Tarkenton wrote the self-help, motivational books Playing to Win in 1984,Tarkenton, Fran, Playing to Win, 1985, Bantam Books {{ISBN|0-553-25079-5}} and How to Motivate People: The Team Strategy for Success in 1986.Tarkenton, Fran and Tuleja, Tad 1986, Harper and Row {{ISBN|0-06-015543-4}} He also wrote the motivational self-help business book titled What Losing Taught Me About Winning,Tarkenton Fran. What Losing Taught Me About Winning: The Ultimate Guide for Success in Small and Home-Based Businesses ; Fireside Books; 1997; {{ISBN|0-684-83879-6}} and Every Day is Game Day.Tarkenton, Fran and Bruton, Jim. Every Day Is Game Day; Triumph Books; 2009; {{ISBN|1-60078-253-1}} In 1987, Tarkenton hosted a Think and Grow Rich TV infomercial that sold the book with an audio cassette version (the audio cassettes contained an introduction and conclusion by Tarkenton)."Partners in Time : Guthy-Renker, Charles Wesley Orton", Response magazine, May 2001

Business ventures and investments

Mark McCormack helped Tarkenton invest, making him wealthy enough to "retire this week if [he] wanted to", as New York magazine wrote in 1971.Axthelm, Pete. ""The Third Annual Permanent Retirement of Joe Namath", New York magazine, July 7, 1971, pp.47-49 Tarkenton was a pioneer in computer software, and founder of Tarkenton Software, a program generator company. He toured the United States promoting CASE or "computer-aided software engineering" with Albert F. Case, Jr. of Nastec Corporation, but ultimately merged his software firm with James Martin's KnowledgeWare, of which Tarkenton was president until selling the company to Sterling Software in 1994.In 1999, Tarkenton was fined by federal regulators as part of a securities fraud sweep. According to the LA Times, "In Tarkenton's case, the Hall of Fame quarterback and 10 other former executives of his computer software and consulting firm, KnowledgeWare Inc., were accused of inflating by millions of dollars the company's earnings in reports for its fiscal year ended June 30, 1994. The former Minnesota Vikings quarterback agreed to pay a $100,000 fine and $54,187 in restitution. He did not admit any wrongdoing".LA Times, September 29, 1999Since then, Tarkenton has been promoting various products and services including Tony Robbins and 1-800-BAR-NONE. He also founded GoSmallBiz, a small-business consulting website. He also operates an annuity marketing firm called Tarkenton Financial.


(File:Fran Tarkenton 2016 RNC.jpg|thumb|Tarkenton speaking at the 2016 Republican National Convention)During the 2016 Republican National Convention, Tarkenton gave a speech endorsing Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump."Vikings veteran Fran Tarkenton speaks at Republican convention", Star Tribune, July 21, 2016

NFL career statistics{| class"wikitable"

! colspan="2"|Legend| Led the league| AP NFL MVP| Bold| Career high{| class="wikitable sortable" style="text-align:center;" ! rowspan="2"| Year ! rowspan="2"| Team! colspan="2"| Games ! colspan="9"| Passing! G !! GS !! Cmp !! Att !! Pct !! Yards !! TD !! Int !! Lng !! Y/A !! Rate ! 1961 !! MIN| 74.7! 1962 !! MIN89 7.9 66.9 ! 1963 !! MIN| 78.0 ! 1964 !! MIN| 91.8 ! 1965 !! MIN| 83.8 ! 1966 !! MIN| 73.8 ! 1967 !! NYG29 >| 85.9 ! 1968 !! NYG| 84.6 ! 1969 !! NYG| 87.2 ! 1970 !! NYG| 82.2 ! 1971 !! NYG| 65.4 ! 1972 !! MIN| 80.2 ! 1973 !! MIN| 93.2 ! 1974 !! MIN| 82.1 ! style="background:#FFFF00; width:3em;"|1975 || MIN273 style="background:#cfecec; width:3em;"64.2 >25 13 46 7.0 91.8 ! 1976 !! MIN255 412 61.9 2,961 17 8 56 7.2 89.3! 1977 !! MIN60.1 1,734 9 14 59 6.7 69.2 ! 1978 !! MIN345 style="background:#cfecec; width:3em;"572 >3,468 25 style="background:#cfecec; width:3em;"32 >| 68.9 ! colspan="2"| Career !! 246 !! 239 !! 3,686 !! 6,467 !! 57.0 !! 47,003 !! 342 !! 266 !! 89 !! 7.3 !! 80.4

Personal life

Tarkenton has been married twice and has four children.His first marriage was to Anna Elaine Merrell of Decatur, GA. They wed on December 22, 1960, at First Baptist Church in Decatur, Georgia, and divorced in March 1982. Children with his first wife are daughter Angela (born 1964), son Matthew (born 1968), and daughter Melissa (born 1969).MAGAZINE, Looney, Douglas S., October 25, 1982, Fran Tarkenton,weblink People, Meredith Corporation, September 21, 2019, MAGAZINE, Martin, Frank, October 4, 1976, Ping-Pong Ace, Record-Setting Quarterback, Fran Tarkenton Battles a Runner-Up Image,weblink People, Meredith Corporation, September 21, 2019, Tarkenton married his second wife Linda Sebastian in the mid-1980s. They have one daughter, Hayley Grey (born 1988), a singer-songwriterweblink

See also


{{Reflist|30em}}{{Commons cat|Fran Tarkenton}}{{Navboxes| title = Fran Tarkenton—awards and honors| list1 ={{Georgia Bulldogs quarterback navbox}}{{Vikings1961DraftPicks}}{{Patriots1961DraftPicks}}{{1961 Minnesota Vikings}}{{Minnesota Vikings starting quarterback navbox}}{{New York Giants starting quarterback navbox}}{{AP Offensive Players of the Year}}{{AP NFL MVPs}}{{Bert Bell Award}}{{NFL passing touchdown leaders}}{{NFL passing yardage leaders}}{{Vikings Retired Numbers}}{{Vikings Ring Of Honor}}{{1986 Football HOF}}{{Pro Football Hall of Fame members}}}}{{Authority control}}

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