New York Giants: 15 G-Men who changed the game forever

Odell Beckham, New York Giants. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
Odell Beckham, New York Giants. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images) /
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New York Giants
Fran Tarkenton, New York Giants. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images) /

8 – Fran Tarkenton

In today’s NFL, the sight of a quarterback scrambling out of the pocket to make a play is common. Week after week players such as Cam Newton, Russell Wilson, and Dak Prescott do it repeatedly. In fact, getting the quarterback outside of the tackles is part of many designed plays.

Back in the 1960s and 70s, it was virtually unheard of. For Fran Tarkenton, it was business as usual. Drafted out of the University of Georgia by the expansion Minnesota Vikings, he was often forced to scramble for his life behind an awful offensive line. Tarkenton could extend a play in a way that was never seen before. By 1966, he had enough and demanded a trade out of Minnesota.

The New York Giants were happy to oblige, they sent a package to Minnesota that included two first and two second round picks (one was converted into HoF tackle Ron Yary and another into perennial Pro Bowler, guard, Ed White). He made an immediate impact. The G-Men improved from 1-12-1 in 1966 to 7-7 over the next two seasons.

“Saint Francis” lasted five seasons in the Big Apple before he was dealt back to Minnesota. While the Giants didn’t get quite return as what the initially traded away, they still received quarterback Norm Snead and used one of the two draft picks acquired to select future defensive mainstay, linebacker, Brad Van Pelt.

Tarkenton’s game would be very effective in today’s NFL. It’s mind-boggling to think what he could have done with the type of modern run/pass option play calls used today. Then again without the groundwork, Tarkenton laid, it’s doubtful the RPO would exist in the first place.