The Cincinnati Bengals have been around for over 50 years and were founded by Paul Brown himself. Despite this, they have only had one representative in the NFL Hall of Fame for far too long.
Former Bengals cornerback Ken Riley has changed that tonight. His incredible career is finally getting recognized.
Very much deserved.— Cincinnati Bengals (@Bengals) February 10, 2023
Ken Riley will be inducted into the 2023 Pro Football Hall of Fame pic.twitter.com/qgZC8qL8aT
When Riley retired following the 1983 season, he had the fourth-most interceptions in NFL history. The major issue was the Bengals weren’t a very good team when he was around from 1969 to ‘83. They had some competitive seasons, but they only made the playoffs five times in his career.
Back in those days, if you weren’t on a winning team that got plenty of primetime games, you didn’t get noticed as much. Also, it was wrongly held against him that he never played on consistently good teams.
The one thing that has always stuck out is that interception total. 65 interceptions over his career. Everyone surrounding Riley on that list has their place in Canton. Charles Woodson, who was recently inducted, also had 65 career interceptions. It was an obviously egregious omission not having Riley in the hall.
This isn’t to paint Riley as just some interception collector and nothing more. He could also hit. Back in the day when there weren’t really penalties to protect receivers, he would dislodge plenty of passes as well.
Riley was overlooked his entire career. He was never elected to a Pro Bowl, and he was only a First-Team All-Pro once in his final season when he had eight interceptions. He will be joining offensive Anthony Munoz as the only Bengals in the Hall of Fame. Munoz was the first Bengal inducted in 1998, and now 25 years later, Riley finds his way in as well.
Riley sadly passed away in 2020, but his family can finally see his bust end up where it always should have been.
Welcome to Canton!