Joe Montana, Terry Bradshaw, Johnny Unitas, Brett Favre, Tom Brady, Peyton Manning or John Elway are the most common names that pop up in the "Who is the greatest quarterback of all-time?" debate.
Fran Tarkenton's name is rarely mentioned when considering the best ever, and Tarkenton thinks that's garbage.
“I feel like I can outplay any of the quarterbacks that ever played,’’ Tarkenton said in a phone interview with the Pioneer Press. “Go look at my record. Go look at my record in that era and what I did, the results that I got from passing and rushing. … In my mind, I played better than anybody that has ever played the position.’’
There's no question that Tarkenton's career numbers stack up with the all-timers.
“It’s amazing,’’ Tarkenton said. “I haven’t played the game since the 1970s and I’m still up in the top five or six. Think of that. Who else of my era is even close? … The game has changed, and I’m still sitting up there in pretty good position.’’
Only Favre, Manning, Marino, Elway, Warren Moon, Drew Brees and Brady have thrown for more yards. Favre, Manning, Marino, Brees and Brady are the only names ahead of him in career touchdown passes. Marino, Manning, Elway, Favre, Brady and Moon and the only QB's with more career game-winning drives.
Tarkenton, Marino and Moon and the only three among that elite group without a Super Bowl.
Tarkenton was known as a scrambling quarterback. His ability to run as a quarterback helped him rush for 3,674 yards and 32 career touchdowns. Here's how ESPN describes Tarkenton's ability to make plays with his arms and legs.
"Add his career rushing total to his 47,003 passing yards, and Tarkenton accounted for 50,677 yards of offense, almost 29 miles or 500 football fields. He was the central figure in two blockbuster trades between the Minnesota Vikings and New York Giants."
Tarkenton, who won the MVP Award in 1975 and went to nine Pro Bowls, said he'll never be mentioned as the greatest ever because he never won a Super Bowl.
“They will never mention me,’’ Tarkenton said. “That’s fine. Because we never won a Super Bowl.’’
He may not have a Super Bowl, but he's a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He was inducted in 1986.