Holler: Tarkenton convincing in labor appeal

Former Vikings quarterback Fran Tarkenton, a Hall of Fame player, offered a convincing appeal to players and owners to get together and work out their labor differences in a YouTube video. No matter the motivation, Tarkenton's arguments make sense and his delivery is spot-on.

YouTube videos are often nothing more than a way to pass time. One passed along Wednesday was different.

This one was Fran Tarkenton in a tripod-camera blogcast with his take on the NFL labor dispute. It's difficult to tell if Tarkenton is making a run for politics or the pulpit. After all, he is the son of a preacher man. In his six-minute video, Tark does a one-camera tripod shot – the type that hostage-takers usually employ while holding up that day's newspaper – giving his take on the current NFL labor impasse. If terrorists used three cameras, they may not be as frightening. While clearly staged without a lot of production value, Tark is a convincing voice of compromise, although some former teammates may beg to differ on Tark's owner-player politics when he was in the eye of the hurricane.

Often sounding and, in an odd way, even resembling former President George W. Bush as he spoke his manifesto, Tarkenton said he wanted to speak to "you, the fans; you, the players; and you, the owners," saying the labor dispute has "gone on for far too long."

In a speech that was half-introspective and half-sermon, Tarkenton showed that he could be a viable political candidate (he listed some impressive "American Dream" credentials), as well as the persuasive speaking gift typically reserved for someone with a lucrative cable TV ministry and a substantial flock. It was impressive, but somehow out of context given the timing and his status of someone "out of the loop" in the intricacies of the current labor unrest. When he played, stars of his magnitude made a couple hundred thousand dollars a year. It was more than 10 times what the average worker made and was a comfortable living, which he clearly parlayed into a career after football. Now, the 53rd man on the roster makes that kind of money and the top stars make $20 million a year.

Tarkenton, who was last heard blasting Brett Favre at every opportunity for not wanting to retire his dream of playing in the NFL, played 18 years in the league. Favre made more in 2010 (a lot more) than Tark made in his entire career. Inflation aside, it's still a staggering difference. Tarkenton said that times have changed from the time when he was toiling in league – prior to the NFL pushing its way to an $9.3 billion annual business – living up to the "old school" football mentality that players are lucky to have such a forum to display their talents and carve their own legacies.

"Players were so grateful to have the opportunity to play in this league," Tarkenton said. "We need owners. Owners need players. And we both need the fans. All of us have watched this adversarial thing go on and we've seen litigation and decertifying the union and locking out the players and threatening lawsuits. Now we read every day about lawyers are involved. My appeal to all of you people out there – to you fans – [is] make your voices heard."

All that seemed to be missing was having a couple parishioners fanning themselves with hymn books and an overweight "yes man" saying, "Give me an Amen." A couple blasts from a 100-year-old pipe organ seemed fitting background music. This was getting good.

Tarkenton's motivation for the video opine remains a mystery. One guess is still on being the preliminary step to seeking a significant political office in the state of Georgia – a politico trial balloon to see if a run for governor or U.S. Senator might be in the offing. As he was quick to point out in the early portions of the video, he's a successful businessman in Atlanta – complete with a corner office with a view. He loves the NFL (as do all good Christians/Americans (take your pick if you think the motivation is either political or ministerial) and his mantra is a hybrid somewhere between the philosophies of Rodney King and Larry the Cable Guy – asking the proverbial question, "Can't we all just get along?" and providing the proverbial answer "Git-R-Dun."

"To you owners and to you players, think of what we've got here?" Tarkenton pondered. "We've got the most successful sports franchise in the history of the world. $9.3 billion in revenue [in 2010]. Players have never made so much money. Conditions have never been better. Owners have never created the revenue they've created today. We have the best owners we've ever had. We've got the best players we've ever had. We've got people that care about the game. You're not adversarial to each other. You're not each other's enemy. You're each other's partners. We need one another."

Tarkenton said that the two sides should sit down together and get rid of the lawyers – a Jimmy Stewart-Mr. Smith Goes To Washington type of cockeyed optimism that doesn't jibe with the reality of the outside world. He called out Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones to be the point-man of the solution – to sit down personally with players like Peyton Manning, Ray Lewis, Drew Brees and Tom Brady and get an agreement done, because, as Tarkenton put it, "This is a big pie to split up."

After watching the speech, I did something I rarely do with YouTube videos – much less doing it from a forwarded link. I watched it twice. I came away from it knowing that, if was a constituent of whatever political office Tarkenton may (or may not) be running for, he's got my vote. If he starts an evangelical ministry that comes with a TV show, I'll DVR it and absorb the excessive shipping and handling costs to get at-home anointing cloths. I heard his voice, now I'm a believer.

Like politicians and televangelists, Tark has the answers for a weary fan base – but his answers require faith. That's the problem many people have with politicos and the clergy. They want proof, not visionary promises of a rainbow-and-unicorns future. Tark offered a cautionary parting shot to the players and owners, saying that finding harmony is better than fighting over a very big fish.

"Let's figure out what would be best for the players and for the owners and for the fans," Tarkenton prophecied. "Get a deal done before it's too late. Let's don't jeopardize this season. We all want to watch football. It's a favorite thing we do. We don't want to give it up. We want to see you great players play and you owners build a league that is better than ever. Get together, owners, players. Make it happen. You can do it."

Whether the two sides watch the Tark blog or not, it was an eloquent self-produced view of the current conflict. However, if one stays on YouTube, they can derive similar impetus for a solution from Charlie Sheen – "Duh. Winning!"

Ironically, the same friend who forwarded the video link Wednesday will likely be the first to let me know where I can contribute to Tarkenton's election fund or ministry, whichever the video was intended to kick-start. Then again, maybe he's after Roger Goodell's job if things go south in the negotiations.


John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.



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\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n","mobileBody":" YouTube videos are often nothing more than a way to pass time. One passed along Wednesday was different. This one was Fran Tarkenton in a tripod-camera blogcast with his take on the NFL labor dispute. It's difficult to tell if Tarkenton is making a run for politics or the pulpit. After all, he is the son of a preacher man. In his six-minute video, Tark does a one-camera tripod shot – the type that hostage-takers usually employ while holding up that day's newspaper – giving his take on the current NFL labor impasse. If terrorists used three cameras, they may not be as frightening. While clearly staged without a lot of production value, Tark is a convincing voice of compromise, although some former teammates may beg to differ on Tark's owner-player politics when he was in the eye of the hurricane. Often sounding and, in an odd way, even resembling former President George W. Bush as he spoke his manifesto, Tarkenton said he wanted to speak to \"you, the fans; you, the players; and you, the owners,\" saying the labor dispute has \"gone on for far too long.\" In a speech that was half-introspective and half-sermon, Tarkenton showed that he could be a viable political candidate (he listed some impressive \"American Dream\" credentials), as well as the persuasive speaking gift typically reserved for someone with a lucrative cable TV ministry and a substantial flock. It was impressive, but somehow out of context given the timing and his status of someone \"out of the loop\" in the intricacies of the current labor unrest. When he played, stars of his magnitude made a couple hundred thousand dollars a year. It was more than 10 times what the average worker made and was a comfortable living, which he clearly parlayed into a career after football. Now, the 53rd man on the roster makes that kind of money and the top stars make $20 million a year. Tarkenton, who was last heard blasting Brett Favre at every opportunity for not wanting to retire his dream of playing in the NFL, played 18 years in the league. Favre made more in 2010 (a lot more) than Tark made in his entire career. Inflation aside, it's still a staggering difference. Tarkenton said that times have changed from the time when he was toiling in league – prior to the NFL pushing its way to an $9.3 billion annual business – living up to the \"old school\" football mentality that players are lucky to have such a forum to display their talents and carve their own legacies. \"Players were so grateful to have the opportunity to play in this league,\" Tarkenton said. \"We need owners. Owners need players. And we both need the fans. All of us have watched this adversarial thing go on and we've seen litigation and decertifying the union and locking out the players and threatening lawsuits. Now we read every day about lawyers are involved. My appeal to all of you people out there – to you fans – [is] make your voices heard.\" All that seemed to be missing was having a couple parishioners fanning themselves with hymn books and an overweight \"yes man\" saying, \"Give me an Amen.\" A couple blasts from a 100-year-old pipe organ seemed fitting background music. This was getting good. Tarkenton's motivation for the video opine remains a mystery. One guess is still on being the preliminary step to seeking a significant political office in the state of Georgia – a politico trial balloon to see if a run for governor or U.S. Senator might be in the offing. As he was quick to point out in the early portions of the video, he's a successful businessman in Atlanta – complete with a corner office with a view. He loves the NFL (as do all good Christians/Americans (take your pick if you think the motivation is either political or ministerial) and his mantra is a hybrid somewhere between the philosophies of Rodney King and Larry the Cable Guy – asking the proverbial question, \"Can't we all just get along?\" and providing the proverbial answer \"Git-R-Dun.\" \"To you owners and to you players, think of what we've got here?\" Tarkenton pondered. \"We've got the most successful sports franchise in the history of the world. $9.3 billion in revenue [in 2010]. Players have never made so much money. Conditions have never been better. Owners have never created the revenue they've created today. We have the best owners we've ever had. We've got the best players we've ever had. We've got people that care about the game. You're not adversarial to each other. You're not each other's enemy. You're each other's partners. We need one another.\" Tarkenton said that the two sides should sit down together and get rid of the lawyers – a Jimmy Stewart- type of cockeyed optimism that doesn't jibe with the reality of the outside world. He called out Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones to be the point-man of the solution – to sit down personally with players like Peyton Manning, Ray Lewis, Drew Brees and Tom Brady and get an agreement done, because, as Tarkenton put it, \"This is a big pie to split up.\" After watching the speech, I did something I rarely do with YouTube videos – much less doing it from a forwarded link. I watched it twice. I came away from it knowing that, if was a constituent of whatever political office Tarkenton may (or may not) be running for, he's got my vote. If he starts an evangelical ministry that comes with a TV show, I'll DVR it and absorb the excessive shipping and handling costs to get at-home anointing cloths. I heard his voice, now I'm a believer. Like politicians and televangelists, Tark has the answers for a weary fan base – but his answers require faith. That's the problem many people have with politicos and the clergy. They want proof, not visionary promises of a rainbow-and-unicorns future. Tark offered a cautionary parting shot to the players and owners, saying that finding harmony is better than fighting over a very big fish. \"Let's figure out what would be best for the players and for the owners and for the fans,\" Tarkenton prophecied. \"Get a deal done before it's too late. Let's don't jeopardize this season. We all want to watch football. It's a favorite thing we do. We don't want to give it up. We want to see you great players play and you owners build a league that is better than ever. Get together, owners, players. Make it happen. You can do it.\" Whether the two sides watch the Tark blog or not, it was an eloquent self-produced view of the current conflict. However, if one stays on YouTube, they can derive similar impetus for a solution from Charlie Sheen – \"Duh. Winning!\" Ironically, the same friend who forwarded the video link Wednesday will likely be the first to let me know where I can contribute to Tarkenton's election fund or ministry, whichever the video was intended to kick-start. Then again, maybe he's after Roger Goodell's job if things go south in the negotiations. 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