The Minnesota Vikings drafted Fran Tarkenton in the third round of the 1961 NFL Draft at the age of twenty-one. He played his first NFL game (and the Vikings first game) against the Chicago Bears. He led the Vikings to a victory by passing for 250 yards and completing four touchdown passes as the upstarts stunned the Bears 37–13. He is the only player in NFL history to pass for four touchdowns in his first NFL game.
On December 19th, the Minnesota Vikings will celebrate their 50th anniversary. Tarkenton will join the 49 living members of the 50 greatest Viking players, as voted by the fans, to reunite, reminisce, and celebrate the prestigious milestone with the men who helped build and the fans who support the Viking Nation. However, Fran’s decision to attend the event took some persuading.
Tarkenton came to Minnesota after playing quarterback for the University of Georgia. In a recent interview describing his time with the Vikings, Tarkenton stated that prior to joining the team, he “had no idea where Minnesota was.” The team’s heroic win against the Bears sealed their place in football history. Looking back, Tarkenton describes his fellow teammates as “a great group of characters.” Yet despite his fondness for his teammates, Tarkenton spoke most highly of his former coach Bud Grant. “I learned more from him than from anyone else in the world.”
Upon hearing of Tarkenton’s initial refusal to attend the reunion, his former coach gave him a call. “I hadn’t spoken to him in forty years,” stated Tarkenton, “and I knew exactly why he was calling.” He continued, “Bud told me he heard we were the only two not attending the reunion. Bud said that if I wasn’t going, he wasn’t going. He got me.”
Tarkenton can add the reunion to his long list of accomplishments since ending his NFL career in 1976 . Post NFL, Tarkenton wrote several books, periodically hosted Monday night football, co-hosted the television show That’s Incredible! and even hosted Saturday Night Live. In addition, the self proclaimed social entrepreneur has developed and launched some 20 companies, including Tarkenton Financial and StarterCRM.
Tarkenton’s business success is no secret as he is frequently recognized by the media, evidenced by his interview with Varney & Company on Fox Business News. Speaking about his thoughts on the economy its effect on investors, he noted that “in the wake of the economic downturn I have seen small businesses thriving in innovation, technical advancements and the development of new forms of energy.” Asked about his thoughts regarding the government’s role in the economy Tarkenton gave words of advice: “what is good for business is good for the government.”
Tarkenton’s company StarterCRM is a MyCorporation partner. StarterCRM is a suite of web-based applications designed specifically for small businesses. These tools help small businesses to manage customer and prospect information, build better relationships with customers and close more deals. The company focuses on helping small business achieve their motto of getting “one more customer” through their innovative applications.
The StarterCRM applications can be used by businesses of any size at any stage in their lifecycle. However, when the applications were designed and developed, a great deal of emphasis was placed on addressing the financial and functional needs of smaller, early-stage businesses – companies that typically have fewer than 50 employees. In addition, the company consists of applications that provide small businesses with affordable, effective customer relationship management (CRM) solutions. These solutions primarily focus on the core business areas of sales, marketing, customer communications, customer issue tracking and customer service.