Fran Trakenton turned off today any suggestions that he has a scattershot arm but left some questions about his tongue.
The Minnesota Viking quarterback chastized interviewers for picking O. J. Simpson over Chuck Foreman on the all-pro teams, saying, "We do not feed Chuck like they do Simpson in Buffalo."
He said that Bud Grant is an effe ective coach "even though he is low key. He does not walk around like Al Davis of the Raiders and Carrol Rosenbloom of the Rams telling everybody what a dynamic organization he has."
The quarterback further taunted reporters after he was asked about the impact on the Vikings of having already lost three Super Bowl games.
"You write about that," he said "but you don't note that we have set a record by reaching the Super Bowl four times. You can write that, say, Bert Jones, can't win 'the big game' because he has lost two playoff games but that's a lot of bull."
In a discussion about the Raider defense, Tarkenton said, "I don't think they are the Pittsburgh Steelers."
At another phase he was being pressed to explain how the Vikings could compete with the passing offense of the Raiders and he said, "How did Sammie White make rookie-of-the-year? By catching 51 passes. Ahmad Rashad caught 53. If Fred Biletnikoff or Cliff Branch caught that many I'll be surprised. Isn't that amazing?"
(Biletnikoff caught 43 and Branch 46).
The quarterback took not of the Rams having had the No. 1 defense against the rush but pointed out that the Vikings averaged 5.1 yards rushing against Los Angeles in the NFC title game.
"Before, I could throw five touch-downs in a game we might have lost and you would say I couldn't win. Now, we beat the Rams, 24-13, and we get criticized."
"You call the Raiders a passing team. Well, how many times did Oakland throw against Pittsburgh in their title game? Sixteen, for a net of 63 yards. They've run well, we've run well the last five weeks. This is our first time in the Super Bowl that we have had a quality offensive team.
"We plan on winning and expect to win. If something else happens, we'll go on living."
Tarkenton seemed to be retreating from his statement after the Ram game in which he said he wanted the whole world to know, "We are going to win the Super Bowl this time."
Hand he not guaranteed the victory, as Joe Namath did before the Super Bowl upset of the Baltimore Colts?
"I don't think Namath did," he said. "You can't 'guarnatee' a victory. I think we're going to win. Everyone on the team does, more than ever."
He was asked about speculation on the Ram-Viking game telecast by Tom Brookshier and Pat Summerall that his arm was apparently bothering him.
"If Brookshier had asked me if my arm was hurt I would have said, 'It is not hurt. Throwing in 12-degree temperature is not conductive to good passing. Besides, I threw a lot of passes away. It will be different in this temperature here. My arm is fine. I am having no trouble with it, no trouble at all."
Tarkenton said a stretched knee tendon suffered in a playoff agme him against the Rams but remarked against the Redskins had hampered that it is now "100 per cent, and not restrictive at all" to his mobility.
As if he were leading up to the theme about a new found emotional input by the Vikings this season, Tarkenton said, "It just happens; it catches on. This is the most 'together' team we've had, They're burning with emotion; they're ready to play right now."
On cue, coach Grant refferred to the slogan which he said began with the defense. It is "Tora, tora, tora," the war cry of the Japanese as they attacked Pearl Harbor.
In contrast to Tarkenton, Ken Stabler of the Raiders admitted he attached almost that much significance to Sunday's game.
"It is the most important game in our lives," he said in reply to a question, but when asked if it would take Oakland's best game of the season to win, he seemed to be needling the Vikings a little when he answered, "It would take a good game."
Asked to comment on Tarkenton's prediction of a Viking victory, Stabler said, "I don't have any reaction to it; I don't want to get into a verbal battle with Tarkenton. But when someone asked him later if he felt just "Brash" about winning he said, "Well, I'm not down here for my health. I think we're going to win."
He admitted a satisfaction at "shutting up a few people by beating Pittsburgh."
He was franker about a rib injury he suffered when linebacker Jack Ham of the Steelers tackled him, knocking him out of the game in the fourth quarter and causing him to lose a cap on a from tooth.
"It still pains a little to throw," he said. "I still feel a litle twinge. I could not throw as hard as I wanted Thursday and Friday in practice. But my ribs will be O.K.
Doesn't the up coming dentist bill require that Stabler win the Super Bowl?.
"No, I am going to send Ham the bill. I get hit hard, but my good offensive line saves me a lot of hits, too," he said.