“There’s a lot of great quarterbacks that didn’t win Super Bowls,’’  Frank Tarkenton (above, right)  tells the St. Paul Pioneer Press’ Chris Tomasson, taking considerable umbrage at Jim Irsay’s implication Peyton Manning somehow came up short during his tenure in Indy.  That doesn’t mean, however, the former Vikings/Giants quarterback and 3-time Super Bowl loser- turned -“That’s Incredible!” co-host and author of “What Losing Taught Me About Winning”, is ready to anoint Manning as the finest QB in NFL history (“I’ll give him 1b”).

“I feel like I can outplay any of the quarterbacks that ever played,’’ Tarkenton, who starred from 1961-78, said in a phone interview with the Pioneer Press. “Go look at my record. Go look at my record in that era and what I did, the results that I got from passing and rushing. … In my mind, I played better than anybody that has ever played the position.’’

“It’s amazing,’’ Tarkenton said. “I haven’t played the game since the 1970s and I’m still up in the top five or six (for career TD passes). Think of that. Who else of my era is even close? … The game has changed, and I’m still sitting up there in pretty good position.’’

One list, though, Tarkenton doesn’t show up on is for winning Super Bowls. He was in three with the Vikings in the 1970s and lost them all.

“Darn right, it does,’’ Tarkenton said of that still gnawing at him. “Bud (Grant, the Vikings coach who lost four Super Bowls) laughs at me. Bud moved on. Bud moved on the day after they lost. But not me. I’ve not forgotten. Every day and every night, it pisses me off.’’

Because he never won the big game, Tarkenton said that’s why pundits never bring up his name when it comes to the best quarterback of all time.

“They will never mention me,’’ Tarkenton said. “That’s fine. Because we never won a Super Bowl.’’