With Super Bowl 50 taking place in a little over a week, I figured this is a good time to acknowledge the former football stars that were, or currently are, part of our Masonic Family. We start with a former member of the Order of DeMolay, legendary Quarterback Fran Tarkenton.
Francis Asbury Tarkenton, who later shortened the name to Fran, was born on February 3rd, 1940 in Richmond, Virginia. He became the star Quarterback for Athens High School, where he led the team to a state championship in 1955. It was during his time in high school that Tarkenton found DeMolay, joining Frank Hardeman Chapter from Athens, Georgia in 1954. He attended the University of Georgia, where he led the Bulldogs to the Southeast Conference Championship and to the Orange Bowl. He became an All-American athlete for the Georgia Bulldogs.
In 1961, Tarkenton was drafted in the third round of the NFL Draft by the Minnesota Vikings. In his first NFL game, Tarkenton threw 4 touchdowns, an accomplishment that had not been repeated until this past year when Marcus Mariota of the Tennessee Titans made the same accomplishment. Tarkenton became known as a mobile Quarterback, often referred to as “The Mad Scrambler” or “Frantic Fran.” In 1968, after playing his first 6 seasons for the Minnesota Vikings, he was traded to the New York Giants. In 1972, which would prove to be the prime of his career, Tarkenton was traded back to the Minnesota Vikings. From here, Tarkenton would lead the Vikings to 3 Super Bowls in 4 years, unfortunately missing out on all three tries. Tarkenton was named the League MVP in 1975 and was selected a total of 9 times to the Pro Bowl team. Tarkenton became a Pro Football Hall of Famer in 1986.
After his playing days were over, Tarkenton became a very well-known business man. Tarkenton has started twelve businesses, including a multi-million dollar computer software company that he sold in 1994. He also became known as a motivational speaker and an author, writing the books “What Losing Taught Me about Winning,” and “How to Motivate People: The Team Strategy for Success.”
In 1986, the same year Tarkenton was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, DeMolay International inducted him into the DeMolay Hall of Fame. He was a Senior DeMolay as well as an Active Legion of Honor recipient. This Hall of Fame class was the inaugural class for DeMolay International.
“It is a great honor to be inducted into the DeMolay Hall of Fame. In today’s society where there is so much violence and heartache, it’s a gratifying feeling to know there is such a fine organization as DeMolay to look up to and lean on for guidance and support. I am proud to be a member!”
Be proud of who you are, both as a person and as a DeMolay.
Until next time – “Dad” Joe Pullin