In 1974, Fran Tarkenton definitely engaged in taunting

Fran Tarkenton, Denver Broncos Vs. Minnesota Vikings Gameplay
Getty Images

With so much talk this season about the NFL’s renewed emphasis on taunting, a clip posted Wednesday on social media provided an example of a clear violation of the rules regarding celebrations directed at an opponent.

On October 27, 1974, Vikings quarterback Fran Tarkenton literally directed a celebration at an opponent.

The account @QuirkyResearch shared video from a game between the Vikings and the Patriots. With the Vikings trailing 10-7, Tarkenton ran the ball in for a go-ahead touchdown. He then wound up and fired the ball into the back of the helmet of Pats cornerback Ron Bolton.

Bolton, who had intercepted Tarkenton twice during the game, attacked Tarkenton, and they got into a full-blown fracas. Both Tarkenton and Bolton were ejected. Bolton broke two fingers when punching Tarkenton in the facemask.

The Patriots, led by quarterback Jim Plunkett, eventually won the game, 17-14. That year, the Vikings eventually went to the Super Bowl and lost to the Steelers, 16-6.

28 responses to “In 1974, Fran Tarkenton definitely engaged in taunting

  1. We need more full blown fracas’s in modern day NFL. As Tom Brady says, the game has gotten so soft.

  2. I guess Tarkenton really took being intercepted personally.

    He probably cost his team the game by being a headcase.

  3. Now that’s the kind of content I’d love to see more of. I can’t stop laughing. Shame on me.

  4. I don’t blame Tarkenton for that. He was out of the end zone when Bolton pushed him.

    I will give the Vikings players credit they were on Bolton ripping him off and none of the Pats players seemed to help out. Mick Tinglehoff and Ron Yary both in the Hall of Fame and Ed Marinaro were the ones that were there.

  5. I wouldn’t call that taunting; more like unnecessary roughness/personal foul. Pretty childish by Tarkenton, unless there’s more of a story behind those two interceptions.

  6. Tarkenton is one of the first I remember putting up a lot a stats without much else to back it up.A pesty scramblin’ dancer.

  7. Me and my cousins used to play a lot of very competitive cut-throat racquetball matches. I don’t think there was ever a point scored without some taunting occurring. It was so much fun.

  8. Looks like the QB was responding to a late shove, which is different than taunting.

  9. In watching the clip it looked to me like Bolton tried to trip Tark.
    If you see the clip, look at the security guard. It’s a hoot!

  10. Was it taunting or revenge by Tarkenton?

    Btw after a great start to the 74 season by NE, they completely collapsed
    after that loss and finished 7-7.

  11. That’s the pinpoint accuracy you expect from a Hall of Fame quarterback.

  12. Nothing new under the sun. Tarkenton took a cheap shot WAY after the play was over and retaliated. That’s always been an unsportsmanlike but do you really call it taunting?

    Only in the deepest shade of rose colored bifocals can you remember the game being classy.

  13. The story as I heard as an 8 year old was that Bolton slapped his left elbow as he went by in the end zone; you can see it if you look for it.
    Fun facts Randy Vataha caught a 65 yard bomb over Jackie Wallace to get the Patriots close, and the Vikings tackled TE Bob Windsor at the 6 inch line at the gun, but the ref gave him the TD.
    Windsor tore his ACL on the play, the Patriots won, and replay would have changed the outcome.
    Can’t believe so much time has gone by.

  14. It looked to me like Tarkenton was attempting to spike the ball, but it accidentally slipped out of his hand and hot Bolton in the back of the helmet. – That’s how it would be explained today.

    Bolton barely swipes at Tarkenton in the end zone. This wasn’t retaliation for something that happened on the play. That was Tarkenton being angry! Tarkenton probably cost the Vikings the game, but it’s hilarious. The football field is a place where men are men (and sheep are scared?).

    The NFL mic’d up highlights are nice, but I miss having a soundtrack & a little narration to punctuate the action.

  15. Fran Tarkenton was an OG. Dan Marino was the greatest. Deshaun Watson… To be determined. 🤔🐬

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