The Bengals’ lack of representation in the Pro Football Hall of Fame is somewhat of a sore spot for the team.
Offensive lineman Anthony Munoz is the only former Bengals player in the Hall of Fame after his 13 seasons in Cincinnati, which included 11 straight Pro Bowls and 11 consecutive All-Pro seasons. Munoz represents the Bengals well in the Hall, but there are other former Bengals players who have yet to be recognized and deserve enshrinement in Canton.
Quarterback Ken Anderson is one of those players. Anderson spent his 16 year NFL career in Cincinnati, where he started 172 games, went 91-81 and threw 197 touchdowns to 160 interceptions. Anderson went to four Pro Bowls, was a one-time First-Team All-Pro and won NFL MVP in the 1981 season. He was also a two-time NFL passing yards leader, and led the Bengals in their first Super Bowl appearance, falling just short to the San Francisco 49ers. At the time of his Super Bowl appearance, his 25 completions and 73.5% completion percentage in the game were both Super Bowl records.
There’s a clear case for Anderson to be elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, even more than 30 years after his playing career ended. The man who took over for Anderson as the Bengals’ quarterback, Boomer Esiason, has been acting as an advocate for him to make the Hall.
“You don’t have to tell me,” Esiason told Bengals.com after talking about Anderson’s Hall of Fame candidacy during his Tuesday radio show. He was also lobbying for former Jets defensive lineman Joe Klecko, too. “I don’t mean to discredit anyone’s career, but of half the guys in the Hall of Fame, Kenny is right there or above. Kenny Anderson was a much better quarterback than Joe Namath. If (Super Bowl III) was the Kansas City Chiefs or Houston Oilers, it wouldn’t have happened. You’ve got to take a guy when he retires. I mean Kenny was completing 70 percent of his passes when it was hand-to-hand combat in the secondary.”
Steelers Hall of Famer Terry Bradshaw agrees that Anderson deserves to be in the Hall of Fame.
“I never saw the West Coast offense until Kenny Anderson started running that thing,” Bradshaw said. “He was 20-for-22 against us one day. Yeah, I would put him in. I thought he was a hell of a quarterback. Absolutely. He was really good. Just really good. He threw a great ball. He was accurate. He was polished. He was poised. I saw a lot of Kenny Anderson. I would put him in a heartbeat. I would have no problem with that.”
For Anderson to be enshrined in Canton, he needs the Hall of Fame Senior Committee to push him along as a finalist for induction. Hopefully, that day will come sooner than later as it’s clear Anderson is deserving of the recognition and it would be great to see a second Bengals player added to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.