Wednesday, March 13, 2013


In honor of the 266th Pope, the SportsRip presents the Top 5 athletes with the name Francis.
Not included are Francis Ford Coppola, Francis Scott Key, or the dude from the movie, "Stripes"
who didn't want to be called, "Francis", or he'd kill you. Francis means "free man".

5. STEVE FRANCIS An All-American guard out of Maryland, Francis was taken second overall
in the 1999 draft by the Vancouver Grizzlies. He had no interest playing there and cried his way out
and eventually got traded to the Houston Rockies just before the 1999-2000 season. He was the
NBA's Rookie of the Year and a three-time All-Star. Made more than $100 million in an NBA
career that saw him average just over 18 points a game.

4. RUSS FRANCIS Former All-Pro tight end who played most of his 13 seasons in the NFL with
the New England Patriots. A native Hawaiian, Francis was a first-round pick out of Oregon in
1975. He caught 393 passes, 40 of them going for touchdowns. One of the true great athletes at
his position.

3. RON FRANCIS Played 23 seasons in the NHL for the Hartford Whalers, Carolina Hurricanes,
Pittsburgh Penguins, and Toronto Maple Leafs. One of the most respected players in league history,
Francis won the Lady Byng trophy three times, which is awarded to the most gentlemanly player.
His 1,249 assists rank second all-time behind Wayne Gretzky, and Francis is fourth all-time in
points with 1,795.

2. JIM FRANCIS THORPE. Thorpe is unquestionably the greatest athlete on this list, but
because his middle name is Francis, he was moved down a notch. Few athletes matched the
all-around ability of Thorpe. He won gold medals in the 1912 Olympics in the pentathlon and
decathlon. Thorpe also played professionally in basketball and baseball. He was stripped of his
medals because it was discovered he had taken money in semi-pro leagues. However, 30 years
after his death, his medals were re-awarded by the Olympic committee.

1. FRAN TARKENTON. Born Francis Asbury Tarkenton, this diminutive quarterback (5'10")
played 23 seasons in the NFL with Minnesota Vikings and the New York Giants. A Hall of Famer,
Tarkenton's 342 touchdown passes rank fourth on the all-time list and his 47,003 passing yards placed him sixth on the all-time list. Sir Francis, as the late Howard Cosell loved to call him, also rushed for 3,673 yards, which is good enough for fourth on the all-time rushing list among quarterbacks.

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