When you think of players throughout the history of the Minnesota Vikings that would have been starting fights on the football field, the name of legendary quarterback Fran Tarkenton is likely not one that immediately comes to mind. However, a couple of days ago some rare footage was shared on Twitter that shows there was a time when he did exactly that.
On this date in 1974, Vikings QB Fran Tarkenton celebrated what seemed like a game-winning touchdown by spiking the ball off Patriots CB Ron Bolton's head and getting ejected after the ensuing fight. pic.twitter.com/oybbPLfIhR— Quirky Research (@QuirkyResearch) October 27, 2021
An account named “Quirky Research” posted some footage of a game between the Vikings and the New England Patriots from 1974 that shows Tarkenton running into the end zone for a touchdown and, after finally coming to a stop, rifling the ball off the back of the head of Patriots’ defender Ron Bolton, sparking a bit of a melee.
(Come for Tarkenton throwing a ball off someone’s noggin, stay for the late Mick Tingelhoff coming off of the top rope to defend his quarterback.)
Bolton, as it turns out, had intercepted Tarkenton twice during the contest. In the scrum that followed, he wound up breaking a couple of fingers.
The 3-yard run from Tarkenton came in the fourth quarter and put the Vikings back into the lead in the game by a score of 14-10. Unfortunately, the Vikings would end up losing the game by a score of 17-14 after the Patriots got a 10-yard touchdown pass from Jim Plunkett to Bob Windsor to take the Vikings down.)
Even Tarkenton himself said earlier today that he had never seen this footage before.
I’ve never seen this footage before but I remember it well! Watch for #53. That’s Mick Tingelhoff, my center with the Vikings. Sometimes I’d start a fight, but Mick would always finish it!https://t.co/hc5sRW7pCo— Francis Tarkenton (@Fran_Tarkenton) October 29, 2021
It’s not terribly relevant to what’s going on with the Vikings right now or anything, but it’s still kind of cool to occasionally get something that not a lot of people had previously seen. This game happened about two years before yours truly was even born, so I had no knowledge that anything like this had even happened.
Thanks to Quirky Research for putting this out there on social media for us to see.