Veteran dual-threat quarterback Francis Asbury Tarkenton, lovingly known as Fran, has gone from being one of the greatest quarterbacks in the league’s history to a skilled businessman.
Coming from humble beginnings, Tarkenton etched a place for himself in NFL and Minnesota Vikings lore. The passer even helped revive a dying New York Giants franchise when the Jets ruled the Metropolis. However, the more surprising information is the massive net worth that Tarkenton has amassed over the years. So how did he go from being an average-paid NFL QB to being the sport’s second-richest athlete of all time?
According to Celebrity Net Worth, the 83-year-old former Minnesota icon is worth over $300 million. This doesn’t come off or sound as inspirational until one hears the story of Fran Tarkenton’s long and hard rise to fame.
Fran Tarkenton’s journey from a hustler to a mogul
Things were vastly different in the sixties and seventies from what fans are witnessing these days in the quarterback market economics. Passers like Patrick Mahomes, Russell Wilson, Deshaun Watson, and more recently, Philadelphia’s Jalen Hurts, have made history with earnings going up to the $51 million mark, annually, for some. Compared to that, Fran Tarkenton made a combined $1.2 million during the duration of his entire 18-year NFL career, with his highest annual payout being $250,000.
During his early years, his annual salary was only $12,500 ($111,000 in today’s value). This made living harder, and Tarkenton had to take up multiple side gigs. During the 1960s, the former NFL MVP and 9x Pro Bowler toiled as a salesman for an Idaho-based trucking company, only to make $600 per month. He also did minor stints in advertising and in a Minnesota printing company.
Besides his NFL earnings, Tarkenton also increased his net worth through his endorsement deals with Johnson & Johnson.
Tarkenton’s net worth took off after his retirement
After retiring from the NFL in 1978, Fran Tarkenton held broadcasting positions for Monday Night Football telecasts. He also c0-hosted ABC’s ‘That’s Incredible’, and entered the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1986. However, soon after hanging up the cleats, Tarkenton realized his business potential. The ex-QB founded a computer program generator company called Tarkenton Software. This then merged with KnowledgeWare. And after going public in 1989, Tarkenton’s shares rocketed in value to nearly $50 million in 1991. He made an additional $6 million from the company’s sale to Sterling Software in 1994 for $73 million
Today, besides owning nearly $15 million in real estate, and $100 million in Apple stocks, $300 million-worth Fran Tarkenton also owns multiple businesses. This includes Tarkenton Financial, Go Small Biz, 2BK, and Tarkenton Teleconferencing. Sure, Roger Staubach’s $600 million is a little ahead. But Tarkenton can pat himself on the back for becoming the second richest player in the NFL, overtaking media favorites like Tom Brady and Peyton Manning on the way. Way to go, Fran!