Teams: Minnesota Vikings, New York Giants
Accomplishments: Hall of Fame, 1975 NFL MVP, 1975 Offensive Player of the Year, 9x Pro Bowl, 1x All-Pro
Tarkenton played for Wallace Butts at Georgia and in 1959 he led the Bulldogs to a 10-1 record and their second-ever Orange Bowl win. Then, after the 1960 season, he was a third-round pick in the 1961 draft, No. 29 overall to the Minnesota Vikings.
In his first game, he came off the bench to throw four touchdowns and run for another to beat the Chicago Bears. He was the runner-up for Rookie of the Year and played in Minnesota for five seasons, making two Pro Bowls before he was traded to the New York Giants for two first-round picks and two second-round picks.
In five seasons with New York, he made five Pro Bowls before being traded back to Minnesota in 1972. He led Minnesota to back-to-back Super Bowls but lost to Miami and Pittsburgh in consecutive years.
As a 35-year-old in 1975, Tarkenton completed 64.2% of his passes for 2,994 yards and 25 touchdowns. He was named the league’s MVP. Tarkenton retired after the 1978 season, a year in which he threw for a career-high 3,468 yards, but also threw 32 interceptions.
When he did retire, he held every significant passing record in NFL history, with 3,686 pass completions, 47,003 passing yards, and 342 touchdowns. Though excellent as a passer, Tarkenton was best known for his scrambling ability which made his the league’s most exciting quarterback.