Before we get into who the next “Top 100” player is, I think it makes sense to take a look at the first nine. The 10th player is on a team that so far has no representatives, so he would have no impact on this summation.
Of the first nine players, only Lenny Moore of the Colts and Joe Namath of the Jets did not have compatriots. The Giants landed a whopping three players in Michael Strahan, Mel Hein and Sam Huff. The Cowboys landed two in Larry Allen and Michael Irvin, and the Buccaneers landed two in Derrick Brooks and Lee Roy Selmon. Noticeably absent are any players from other long-established teams, such as the Chicago Bears and the Green Bay Packers.
A surprise to me was there were five players from teams that emanated from the American Football Conference (AFC) compared to four from the National Football Conference. There were five offensive players compared to four defensive players.
The player who ranked Number 91 on the NFL Network’s “Top 100” is Fran Tarkenton. He was ranked Number 50 by the fans. Tarkenton is a legendary quarterback for the Minnesota Vikings, and also, after his career, was a long-time fixture on commercials.
Tarkenton was a player who was drafted 29th in the third round by the Minnesota Vikings out of the University of Georgia. He immediately threw four touchdown passes in his first game.
Tarkenton brought to the league the term “scrambler.” He was extremely elusive and caused defenses fits. (Especially among my Chicago Bears.)
Fran Tarkenton was in the National Football League for an incredible 18 years and played in 248 games. He had split affiliations; he was with the Vikings from 1961-66, the Giants from 1967-1971 and then back to Minnesota 1972-1978.
When Tarkenton left the NFL, he owned all passing records in the league. He completed 3,686 passes for 47,003 yards and 343 touchdowns. Further, he rushed for 3,674 yards and 32 touchdowns.
As I said, being in the same conference, he ruined many Bears games for me.
One thing that was very sad in Tarkenton’s career was that the Minnesota franchise made it to the Super Bowl four times, three under his leadership, and still failed to win a Super Bowl Ring.
He should probably be a little further down the list. He was truly an iconic player and ,as such, was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1986.
He changes the summation to six offensive players in the first 10 and also brings another AFC team for a total of six.
It is amazing how much impact the AFC has had so quickly; that can probably be traced to the luck of getting Number 100 Joe Namath.