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

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Our third candidate for the Cincy Jungle Ring of Honor has been looked over by the Pro Football Hall of Fame for years and his exclusion in the lofty club may be one of the greatest football injustices of all time.

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We are taking it upon ourselves to do what the Bengals' franchise has failed/refused to do during the past 46 years -- compile a true Ring of Honor for Bengals fans. Each day for the next 8 days, (we're on day 3 today) we'll present a candidate for the Ring of Honor and educate Bengals fans on the great history of the franchise for which they root, and the great players that have donned the stripes over the years. After our 10 candidates are presented, you, the fans, will vote for the first five players to be inducted into the Cincy Jungle Bengals Ring of Honor inaugural class. Let's get started with our next candidate!

Ken Anderson (14)

Height: 6'2"

Weight: 212

Position: Quarterback

Bengals Career: 1971-1986

Drafted: Round 3, 67th Pick

Biography

After playing for a small private college (Augustana College), the Bengals took Anderson in the third round of the 1971 draft (67th overall). He became the Bengals' starting quarterback 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, following 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 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), 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, the bulk of his career was 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 Steelers' 1974 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.

Stats:

  • 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

Accomplishments:

  • 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 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 team 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.