The game of football is constantly evolving, but there are some players that could have played in any era. Before scrambling quarterbacks such as Lamar Jackson, Russell Wilson, Michael Vick, Randall Cunningham, and Steve Young, there was Fran Tarkenton.
Tarkenton’s scrambling prowess is hard to match throughout football history — the way he was able to buy time by twisting and turning, circling this way and that way. The old highlights of Tarkenton still seem modern in the ways he was able to generate yards with his feet and buy time to deliver a deep strike throwing on the run. Tarkenton is an excellent example of what a top-level dual-threat quarterback can bring to an offense.
Tarkenton last played in 1978 and still ranks 7th all-time in NFL history with 3,674 yards rushing at QB, 11th in passing touchdowns (342), and 14th in passing yards (47,003).
Tarkenton noticed a play made by J.J. McCarthy that drew comparisons to Tarkenton by commentator Gus Johnson.
In the video McCarthy does something reminiscent of what Tarkenton used to do with regularity. McCarthy doesn’t like giving up on the play, and in this 3rd & 7 situation with Michigan trailing, he didn’t want the punt team to trot onto the field. McCarthy continues to buy time running this way and every way, resetting and keeping his eyes downfield, before taking off and restarting the process before finally running swiftly from one side of the field to the next for the first down. While McCarthy must be more careful and not take big hits in these situations, his effort is admirable and his scrambling skills are undeniable.
“Some great games this weekend? Ya’ll see Michigan’s quarterback J.J. McCarthy scramble against Maryland?”, Tarkenton said on Twitter, tagging McCarthy in the post.
Earlier in the day, I posted a montage of Tarkenton and McCarthy side-by-side.
If you wanted to see a Fran Tarkenton/J.J. McCarthy mashup with NFL Films music, this tweet is for you. pic.twitter.com/7ep7YRd2ve— Trevor Woods (@WoodsFootball) September 25, 2022
Having a little bit of Fran Tarkenton in McCarthy’s repertoire should only serve him well. That means he’s a good runner and thrower alike.