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Cincy Jungle Bengals Ring of Honor: Candidate No. 3 - Ken Anderson

With the third candidate, we take a look at one of the most accurate passers in NFL history and arguably the best Bengals quarterback ever.

Ken Anderson
Ken Anderson

Ken Anderson (14)

Height: 6'2"

Weight: 212

Position: Quarterback

Bengals Career: 1971-1986

Drafted: Round 3, 67th Pick


After playing for a small private college (Augustana College), the Bengals took Anderson in the 3rd round of the 1971 draft (67th overall), he became their starter in 1972 and by the end of his 16 year career, Anderson had become the Bengals leading passer in terms of yards, TDs and completions...and arguably the Bengals best quarterback ever. In 1981, behind Anderson's MVP season, the Bengals made their first ever Super Bowl appearance and came just 5 points shy of knocking off a guy by the name of Joe Montana. A win, which in all likelihood, would have changed the legacy of not only Anderson, but Montana as well.

There are many deserving football players who have been passed over by the Pro Football Hall of Fame, but perhaps no snubbed player has a better argument and better stats than Ken Anderson. Despite ranking in the top 50 quarterbacks of all-time in terms of yards (31st), touchdowns (39th), passer rating (39th) and YPA (T-44th), Ken Anderson still finds himself on the outside looking in when it comes to the Hall of Fame - leading many to call Anderson the most underrated and underappreciated quarterback of all-time.

While Anderson's lack of a Super Bowl ring hurts his resume, lack of a ring should not be reason for exclusion. Anderson's exclusion is without a doubt - in my mind at least - a result of his playing in a small market city which lacks the pro football tradition of other small markets.

As laid out in a well written 2011 Sports Illustrated article, when it comes to stats, Anderson has the stats to garner inclusion and has more impressive numbers than many quarterbacks already in the Hall of Fame. Only one quarterback (Steve Young - 6), has led the league in passer rating more times than Ken Anderson (4).

And, lest we not forget when Anderson played - Anderson played the bulk of his career in the ‘70's, going up twice a year against the "Steel Curtain" - arguably the best defense in NFL history. But, even the Steel Curtain struggled with Anderson, and during the Steeler's 1976 Super Bowl run, Anderson torched the vaunted Steel Curtain going 20-22 for 227 yards in a Bengals win.

Beyond the stats, there was also Anderson's impact on modern football. What many do not realize is that Anderson was a very good running quarterback (2,220 yards and 20 rushing TDs) and was the first quarterback to run the "West Coast" offense. Regardless of what the Pro Football Hall of Fame voters think, one thing is certain, Ken Anderson is without a doubt a Bengals Hall of Famer.


  • 32,838 yards
  • 197 TDs
  • 160 INTs
  • 20 Rushing TDs
  • 2,220 Rushing yards
  • 91-81 Record as a starter
  • 2-4 record in the playoffs
  • 59.3% completion percentage
  • 81.9 career QB rating

Resume For Induction


  • Single Season TD passes (29 - 2nd)
  • Career Passer Rating (4th - 81.3)
  • Led the NFL in Passer Rating 4 times (1974, 1975, 1981, 1982)
  • Single Season Passer Rating (98.4 - 2nd, 95.7 - 4th, 95.3 - 5th)
  • Most 300 yard games (19 - 2nd)
  • Most 300 yard games in a season (4 - t-2nd)
  • Average yards per attempt (7.34 - 2nd)
  • 3rd in franchise history with 192 games played
  • NFL MVP (1981)
  • NFL Offensive Player of the Year (1981)
  • Led the NFL in Passing Yards twice (1974, 1975)
  • 4 Pro Bowl Selections
  • 1 All-Pro Selection

Team Records

  • Career TD Passes (197)
  • Career Passing Yards (32,838)
  • Most seasons of service (16)
  • Most completions (2,654)
  • Most consecutive 300 yard games (3)
  • Longest Pass (94 yd TD - Billy Brooks)
  • Most completions in a single game (40)
  • Most passing yards per game in a single season (277.2 - 1982)
  • Career Interceptions (160)
  • Single Season interceptions (22)

Impact on the Franchise

  • Led the franchise to their first Super Bowl (1981)

Impact on the NFL

  • Under the tutelage of Bill Walsh, Anderson became the first quarterback to run the "West Coast" offense.

Blemishes on Resume:

From an NFL standpoint, the only "blemish" on Anderson's otherwise impeccable resume is the fact that he never won a Super Bowl. On his Bengals Ring of Honor resume, none.

My Opinion:

Ken Anderson is the best and most successful QB in franchise history and led the Bengals during their most successful period in franchise History.  Anderson should be a surefire Hall of Famer and Bengals Ring of Honor member.

His exclusion from the Pro Football HOF is one of the greatest injustices in football history and the voters should be embarrassed that he has yet to be inducted.

Ken Anderson belongs in the Pro Football Hall of Fame By: Bob Trumpy and Dave Lapham Part 1 of 2 (via david kubicki)

Ken Anderson belongs in the Pro Football Hall of Fame By: Bob Trumpy and Dave Lapham Part 2 (via david kubicki)