Your touching communiqué to your friends and teammates is heartwarming. I like it that sentimentality has smitten you as you turn 70. You have a lot of close friends who care about you because you care about them. Gratefully, I feel that I am in that group.
None of us is without flaws or shortcomings, failures or setbacks, but each of us should have some redeeming feature in our lives. With you, it is your consummate underscoring of an upbeat tempo. Nobody I know has ever accentuated the positive more than you. You have been on “uppers” all your life. What a joy to see that in a friend and know it is natural. That is why I am always trying to find my way to Atlanta to see you. You’re busy, but you always make time for your friends. For that, I am truly grateful.
You are a gifted conversationalist. I’ve known nobody with a greater gift of conversation than you – unless it is Lee Trevino. Whenever I get to see him when I am in Dallas, I come away with the greatest feelings. Like you, when he talks – about anything – he has something to say. With a lot of people, conversation is meaningless. No substance. Like that good looking girl Jerry Burns talked about.
Another very important asset in your life is your loyalty to your friends. You also inspire loyalty from your friends which is why I drove my Volkswagen, in 1965, to Baltimore (to see Raymond Berry and then took the train to NY to the World’s Fair); then reclaimed the VW and drove across to Chicago and up to Bemidji to see you at the Viking training camp. You got me a room in the dorm at the college, you arranged for me to eat at the training table, and if we went out, you got the check. I wasn’t freeloading, but if you hadn’t done that, the trip would have had to have been aborted. (If the state trooper in Indiana had given me a ticket for speeding instead of a warning, that would have also cause me to abort.) While I was moving around the country, Myrna was studying at Northwestern for a few weeks. Leaving Minnesota, I picked her up in Evanston. We drove to St. Louis to see Charley Trippi who was coaching with the Cardinals at that time. Other than gas, and you know how many miles you can travel with a full tank in a VW, I bet we didn’t spend $250. We were rich from the experience, however.
When we got home, we were so grateful for our summer sojourn, all inspired by loyalty to a friend. This is why I have always had the greatest appreciation for our friendship.
Big playoff game Sunday, right? Vikings vs. Cowboys. I decided to talk to somebody with some perspective on that rivalry. So, I put in a call to Fran Tarkenton, who knows a little something about playing Dallas in the postseason. When he quarterbacked the Vikings, they faced the Cowboys three times in the playoffs and lost twice. As always, Tarkenton had plenty to share. View Full Story
Fran’s continuing to be interviewed about his new book, Every Day is Game Day. You may want to catch some of Fran Tarkenton’s interviews this week. See details below:
Wednesday, October 14, 2009:
LIVE Telephone Radio Interview
Interview Time: 4:00 PM ET
Station: 1140 KHTK-AM
Show: “The Jim Kozimor Show”
Hosts: Jim Kozimor
Show Description: With his Midwest upbringing, “Koz” knows there’s more to life than scores and stats. “The Jim Kozimor Show”
is a daily slice of life inside and outside of the games.
Thursday, October 15, 2009:
2nd Radio Tour with ABC Radio Network Stations (all times TBD):
WBZ RADIO - Boston, MA
KEX RADIO - PORTLAND OR
KBOT RADIO - Detroit Lakes, MN
KWNG RADIO - Red Wing, MN
WDUN RADIO - Gainesville, GA
WXZZ RADIO - Lexington, Kentucky
WHWK RADIO - Binghamton NY
WKKX RADIO - Wheeling, WV
WCSX RADIO - Detroit, MI
KIBZ RADIO - Lincoln, Nebraska
WKLH RADIO - Milwaukee, WI
KFMA RADIO - Tucson, AZ
KCAL RADIO - Redlands, CA
WQBW/WZEE RADIO - Greenfield, WI
WRXR RADIO - Chattanooga, TN
KMOX Radio - St. Louis, MO
KZOK RADIO - Seattle, WA
KLOS RADIO - Los Angeles, CA
Friday, October 16th, 2009:
LIVE Telephone Radio Interview
Outlets: Sirius/XM Radio (across North America), The Score
Television Network (across Canada)
Hosts: Gabriel Morency
Interview time: 6:00 PM ET
Audience: 12 million subscribers on Sirius radio and roughly 50,000 Canadian viewers on The Score and web
Did you watch that Monday Night Football game? Green Bay Packers - Minnesota Vikings. With all the circus that’s gone around that Brett Favre, you know, retiring not retiring, coming to Minnesota and so forth — and I’ve been very outspoken about it — it was theater at its best. I will bet you that was pretty much the highest rated Monday Night telecast every with all the theater and drama that you could want.
Green Bay Packers and Minnesota Vikings: I played in the very first game back in 1961. In 1963 or ‘64 I played in the first game that the Vikings ever won against the Packers. So it’s a great rivalry but now it’s been made even more because Brett Favre, the icon of the Packers, is now wearing the Purple helmet and jersey of the Vikings. Tremendous controversy and a lot of feeling about whether he should or whether he shouldn’t. But here’s what happened last night.
Brett Favre looked like at 21-year old Brett Favre. He played an absolute great game. He made throws like I’ve never seen him make before. He’s got a great powerful arm and the ability to make all the throws. He made all the throws. He made great decisions. He played an absolute sensational game in the 30 - 23 victory over his old team, the Packers.
At the same time, Aaron Rodgers was at least equally as good because he got sacked 8 times. He had injuries in the offensive line going into the game and injuries in the offensive line coming out of the game. If you get sacked 8 times, that means your offense is just not functioning. You don’t have time to throw the ball. He threw the ball for over 380 yards and 2 touchdowns. It was a magnificent performance by Aaron Rodgers.
So kudos to both Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers. They put on a show. They gave their teams chances to win and the Vikings won. It was the the last game that Brett Favre will play in the 30’s — he’s now turning 40. I don’t think anybody in the history of football that was his age has ever had that kind of game. He’s back to the fountain of youth. If he continues to play that way — I don’t see any reason why they shouldn’t — the Vikings are serious contenders to go to the Super Bowl this year.
Yesterday, Peyton Manning tied my record of touchdown passes of 342 touchdown passes in his career. I set that record a lot of years ago. It stayed for about 15 or 16 years and it was broken later by Dan Marino and then Brett Favre broke Marino’s record. Peyton Manning, one of my very favorites, tied it yesterday.
I wrote Peyton a note today, and I congratulated him on 342 touchdown passes and told him he’ll go on to set the record of touchdown passes and I believe Peyton Manning will go on to be known as the greatest quarterback that ever lived. And I think he deserves it. He has absolutely handled himself as good as a person can handle it. This year he’s off to his best start. He’s got a new coach. He’s got new receivers. It makes no difference because Peyton Manning is all about team. He’s just a consummate professional, handles himself great but he comes from great stock.
His dad, Archie Manning, I played against in pro football, and Archie also played at Ole Miss. Archie was certainly one of the greatest — if not the greatest — college quarterbacks that ever played. He was s big strapping tall guy 6′ 4″. He could throw it on the run. He could run. Different kind of quarterback than Peyton and Eli. He really had great great running ability as well as could throw the ball. Unfortunately for him, he didn’t play on a good team in pro football.
He played for the old New Orleans Saints. It kind of speaks to something that’s important for all quarterbacks. We cannot be great quarterbacks if we don’t have great teammates, great coaches and stable organizations. He just didn’t have that in New Orleans. And so he couldn’t set the records that his sons are setting but he was every bit as good. But he’s been a great father and a great role model and a great mentor to Peyton and to Eli and now in this family that’s just amazing.
You’ve got Eli who’s now, I think, coming to the top rung of pro quarterbacks. He is now matured. He is a great great player. And he compares with the great ones playing today and he’ll probably go after Peyton’s records too.
What an extraordinary family and the rock of it is their mother who has been the solid foundation for the boys and for Archie and she’s just a wonderful lady. As I told Peyton in the note I wrote to him that your mom, Olivia, has just been the rock.
A toast to the great Manning family: Boy, they just do it right. Great great production from the sons and the father in his day and they just are thorough professionals and they handle themselves well and they are great role models for everybody.
This blog (post) is about football and it’s about defense. Last Sunday, I watched Tom Brady who some think is the greatest quarterback that ever lived. He’s certainly been a great one. He played against the New York Jets. and Tom Brady’s team did not score a touchdown. Tom Brady was reduced to an average player. And why was that?
It’s because the head coach of the NY Jets, Rex Ryan son of Buddy Ryan (who had the great Bear defense of the 1985-1986 when they won the World’s Championship), and they did it by pressuring the quarterback. Rex Ryan said we’re not going to let Tom Brady have time to throw. We’re going to rush 6, 7, even 8 people if we have to to put pressure on the quarterback because he knows and I know, as a quarterback, that if you pressure the quarterback and knock the quarterback down, he’s not going to complete passes and score touchdowns.
But most defenses don’t get it. They try to rush the quarterback with a 4-man rush or a 3-man rush and they don’t get there and quarterbacks eat them alive and throw for 300 and 400 and 500 yards a Sunday. And they wonder…well why didn’t we win? Because we didn’t’ pressure the quarterback. Because they did not commit enough people to the rush. Ryan did it all day long. 80% of his defenses were blitzing defenses but not just a 1-man blitz rushing 5 people. He rushed 6, 7 and sometimes 8 and here is really the defining moment of his defense. They’re ahead by 7 pts — 16 - 9 I think the score was. All the timeouts were gone by New England. Brady has the ball on his own 10 or 12 or 15 yard line with no time outs and one minute left.
Now you think about it. 99% of coaches in football college or pro would go to the prevent defense 2 man rush line, 3 man rush line and not pressure the quarterback and you’ve seen them lose games all the time doing that. Ryan went with blitzes: 6, 7, 8 man fronts, rushing and pressuring the quarterback. Brady tried to throw four times. He threw weak, wobbly passes 4 times because he was off balance.
I played the game for 18 years. Set all the passing records. If you didn’t rush me, if you didn’t put pressure on me, I’d kill you. But when they did and they knocked me down and rushed me I became very ordinary. Why don’t defensive coordinators understand this?
I watched the Georgia Bulldogs play Arkansas. Georgia with a quarterback that’s starting for his first year. Arkansas with a quarterback starting with his first year and they put up 90 something points on the board. I think the quarterbacks threw for 9 passes. Why? Because they didn’t put pressure on the quarterback. It’s almost impossible to put pressure with 3-man and 4-man fronts or even a 5-man rush. You’ve got to be be willing and courageous enough to have creative blitzing with 6 and 7 and 8-man rushes.
I will to tell you…I watched the game and Rex Ryan had very sound creative blitzes that confused Tom Brady and the New England offense coached by the guru of all coaches Bill Belichick http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bill_Belichick. and what’s the end of this story. The end of this story is here. Defensive coaches around the world, if you want to keep points off the board and keep people from lighting you up for 300 and 400, 500 yards, you’ve got to be willing to go and have sound fundamental blitzes with 5, 6, 7 and even 8 people coming! When you do that you give yourself a chance to be able to win football games.