Greatest Player: Fran Tarkenton
If you (or your Dad) were fortunate enough to grow up in the greatest decade of them all, the 1970’s, then you might have some sweet memories of Monday Night Football’s Howard Cosell delineating the greatness of “Sir Francis” leading the Vikings to victory after victory.
Even though Tarkenton always came up short in Super Bowls against superior AFC defenses (the AFC ruled the ‘70’s like the way the NFC would later rule the 80’s and most of the 90’s), there is no denying his greatness. With his combination of sure-fire passing and big-gain scrambling, one could reasonably argue Francis Asbury Tarkenton was the best quarterback in the NFL from 1973-to-1978, his final year.
Runner Up: Randy Moss
Nobody will dispute the fact that Randy Moss was one of the two most singularly dominant wide receivers in NFL history, standing alongside Jerry Rice. But in the 1998 NFL Draft, despite showing numerous glimpses of his almost otherworldly potential, 20 teams passed on Moss because of his checkered history of off-the-field incidents. Even the Dallas Cowboys, who reportedly promised they’d draft him, passed on him.
But after the Minnesota Vikings selected Moss with the 21st overall pick, he went on to win the NFL’s Offensive Rookie of the Year award in 1998, and was named to six Pro Bowls and 4 All-Pro First-Teams. He owns the record for most touchdown receptions in a season (23), and most seasons with 16+ receiving touchdowns (6). In 2018, he was inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame.