Last month we did a series of the Bengals' ten worst and ten best draft picks. Of the 20 draft picks we selected, five were quarterbacks three being selected as the worst draft picks in franchise history. The other two, listed as successful draft picks, are Boomer Esiason and Kenny Anderson. And when we did our piece on Anderson, we further broke down his career which was nearly shortened in Cincinnati during the late 70s because of injuries, lack of production and an owner in Paul Brown that was already planning a future without Anderson.
Due to various issues (such as injuries, lack of talent around him), from 1977-1980, Anderson posted 43 touchdowns and 56 interceptions for a passer rating of 69.1 through 56 games. During the 1979 NFL Draft, Paul Brown selected quarterback Jack Thompson third overall with the intention of easing Thompson as Anderson's eventual successor. Even Anderson saw his ending in Cincinnati nearing, and took Thompson under his wing as a mentor, with developed into a surprising friendship between the two.
Yet, Thompson was never able to unseat Anderson and Anderson began to make a pitch for a Hall of Fame seat by putting together one of the best seasons of all-time by a quarterback in 1981. And thus the debate as to whether Anderson should be in the Hall of Fame kicks off.
The boys at Cold Hard Football Facts writes a detailed argument why Anderson should be in the Hall of Fame, headlining it an "Injustice in Canton." Most of it examines Anderson's statistical accomplishments where he led the league in completions twice, completion percentage three times, yards twice, yards per attempt twice and passer rating four times; Steve Young is the only Hall of Fame quarterback to have led the league in passer rating more times than Anderson. It's a good read.
The biggest, and perhaps only, counter-argument against Anderson that people muster up is that he didn't win a Super Bowl -- though he did play in one.