The most exclusive lodge in American professional athletics is the brotherhood of championship quarterbacks. Its circle is limited, and members tend to be intolerant, even contemptuous, of nonmembers, no matter what their claims to greatness. Bobby Layne, the roistering old Lion, quarterbacked teams that won championships in the N.F.L. He belongs. So do Bart Starr, who won five, Johnny Unitas, Norm Van Brocklin and Joe Namath. Francis Asbury Tarkenton, 36, is not a member. Though he has won three conference championship games, Tarkenton has yet to win The Big One.

In the 16...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!