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The Best of Fran Tarkenton: The Giants Years (1967-1971)

M.S. : 6/15/2024 7:24 am

Putting aside the narration, this 17-minute YouTube video will give younger Giants fans a really good sense of what made Fran Tarkenton such a special QB.

I would never put him in the same class as Patrick Mahomes, but as you watch this film you will definitely see Patrick Mahomes-like throws -- not in the velocity of Fran Tarkenton's passes, but his ability to throw so well on the run, as well as his superior elusiveness within the pocket.

Had the Giants defense kept pace with the offense directed by Tarkenton, the team could have done some real damage. But alas, the Tarkenton years yielded mixed results.

Link - ( New Window )
The one bright light in the middle of the Wilderness Years.  
Ivan15 : 6/15/2024 8:33 am : link
6th all-time best player in AV?  
gridirony : 6/15/2024 8:57 am : link
Pro Football Reference lists him as the 6th all-time best player in unweighted Approximate Value. Perhaps regular season ratings only? He had three super ugly Super Bowl games.

Saw very little of Tarkenton. Those were my military years. But what  
Blue21 : 6/15/2024 9:24 am : link
little I saw of him I loved.
Ran The First "West Coast" Offense  
varco : 6/15/2024 10:02 am : link
Allie Sherman was a dreadful head coach but could sure run an offense. He and Tarkenton ran the first West Coast style scheme - short passes, etc. Very effective but the Giants' Offensive Line was porous and against top defensive lines, they were overmatched. At the very least, they were competitive and "in" almost every game. As I recall, Tarkenton left in a huff over some financial issues with ownership. Today, the amounts would be considered chump change. We got back Norm Snead in the trade. One good year from Snead and then a complete collapse. Tarkenton went on to great success with the Vikings in Part III of his terrific career.
Great qb  
HomerJones45 : 6/15/2024 10:23 am : link
Fran was smart, tough (he missed 7 games in an 18 year career in an era where there were zero qb protections), very accurate passer who had an uncanny knack for seeing how the play was going to develop and where everyone was going to be. Deservedly in the HOF.

SFGFNCGiantsFan : 6/15/2024 10:41 am : link
Wasn't alive when Fran was a Giant, but find it interesting that he started out a Viking, Minnesota traded him to us, & then we traded him back to Minnesota where he ended his career. That's gotta be rare.
RE: ...  
HomerJones45 : 6/15/2024 1:13 pm : link
In comment 16537383 SFGFNCGiantsFan said:
Wasn't alive when Fran was a Giant, but find it interesting that he started out a Viking, Minnesota traded him to us, & then we traded him back to Minnesota where he ended his career. That's gotta be rare.
Vikes traded him because they wanted to re-structure the team for defense and running and they got rid of Tarkenton and Van Brocklin and brought in Joe Kapp and Bud Grant.

After appearing in the Super Bowl, Kapp held out for more money and got traded to the Patriots. The 1970 Vikings had a great defense and finished 12-2 but were held back at the qb position. Same thing happened in 1971 when they finished 11-3. They desperately needed a qb and Tarkenton was available for peanuts.
SFGFNCGiantsFan : 6/15/2024 1:19 pm : link
Thanks for the info!
He was my QB when I became a fan.  
BigBlueNH : 6/15/2024 1:59 pm : link
Fran to Homer Jones. I was pretty bummed when they traded him. And we entered a long period of QB hell and overall shottiness. I think I saw it coming as an 11 y.o.
In 1967  
Gman11 : 6/15/2024 2:16 pm : link
the Giants had a preseason game against Atlanta in Ithaca. I was able to go to that game. Tarkenton played the entire game. Unfortunately, Homer Jones didn't play at all.

During that era the Giants really had no running game. Frederickson wasn't very effective after his knee injury. Ernie Koy barely averaged 3 yards per carry. Even Bobby Duhon wasn't much to get excited about. The receivers other than Jones were either old (Shoffner, Morrison) or nondescript. Still, Tark raised them from nothing to a .500 team and almost had them in the NFC Championship game in 1970 if it wasn't for the disaster against the Rams.
Thanks. Brings back a lot of memories.  
solarmike : 6/15/2024 3:38 pm : link
Not enough scrambling highlights  
HopePhil and Optimistic : 6/15/2024 4:02 pm : link
I have vague memories of watching him as a pre-teen, maybe even from his second tour with the Vikings, but this video shows him throwing lots of touchdowns from the pocket.

I did appreciate the black and white footage, and the simple spiking of the ball without excessive theatrics.
I forget if it was Deacon Jones  
M.S. : 6/15/2024 4:21 pm : link
Alain Page or some other famous defensive lineman, but there is a funny story about Tarkenton scrambling forever all over the field when one of these guys finally chased him out of bounds. He grabbed hold of Tarkenton and barely able to catch his breath he growled, “Don’t ever do that again… or else…”
Good QB for a bad team.  
Victor in CT : 6/15/2024 4:36 pm : link
Never did it with the money on the table. The one time with the Giants he had a chance to go to the playoffs he shit the bed against the Rams. Couldn't win the big one.
That was fun!  
JimInKgnNY : 6/15/2024 5:09 pm : link
Thanks for posting. It brought back a lot of childhood memories. Fran was my favorite offensive player (Spider Lockhart was my favorite defensive player). 1970 was a magical year as it was their first winning season that I saw them have. I was heartbroken when they traded Fran back to the Vikings, so I ended up becoming a closeted Viking fan just to keep cheering for him. The guy took Minnesota to 3 Super Bowls, although they had the misfortune of running into some great Miami, Pittsburgh and Oakland teams.

M.S. -- I remember hearing a similar defensive lineman encounter involving Big Daddy Lipscombe. He was chasing Tarkenton all over the field on one play that seemed to last an eternity. When he finally caught him, in between gasps he said "Little man, why you run so much?"

Fran Tarkenton  
Piranah In NC : 6/15/2024 6:44 pm : link
Was The Absolute Best Giants QB that could Roll away from pressure and Connect with a receiver as he was rolling. The Giants still had no effective Right tackle in those Tarkenton years. Rich Buzin, Charlie Harper, Steve Wright..No Wonder he was Rolling. Evan Neal would have been Right at home.
This was a very interesting video  
D HOS : 6/15/2024 6:58 pm : link
Thank you for posting this, MS. I shared it with my Dad as well, who would always tell me when I was growing up, that Fran Tarkenton was his favorite QB, and he loved the athletic, dynamic, improvisational part of his game. He loved what that did to playing offense.

I found the trade parameters both to and from the Giants very interesting.
Trading Tark back to Minnesota was just plain dumb  
GeofromNJ : 6/16/2024 7:59 am : link
After retiring, Tarkenton said for the record that his best years were with the Giants. "Who else could have gotten these stiffs to .500?", he reportedly said.
Bright spot on  
Bleedin Blue : 6/18/2024 3:02 pm : link
Dreadful team, went into QB hell after he left! Phil Simms turned that around!
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