Ken Anderson could be one step closer to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The Bengals announced Thursday the legendary quarterback and Ken Riley will join Paul Brown and Anthony Muñoz in the teams’ inaugural Ring of Honor class.
The Ring of Honor was created to honor former players, coaches and individuals who have played a significant role in the franchise’s history and tradition.
Anderson played 16 seasons in Cincinnati—the longest of any player in franchise history. He completed 2,654 passes (59.3%) for 32,838 yards, 197 touchdowns and 160 interceptions.
He finished his career with an 81.9 quarterback rating. These numbers were at the top of the NFL during Anderson’s career playing against quarterbacks like Roger Staubach, Joe Montana, and Terry Bradshaw.
Anderson also ran for 2,220 yards and scored 20 rushing touchdowns on 397 carries.
“The Bengals organization is very special to me, and I’m so proud to be a part of the inaugural class,” Anderson said in a statement. “We have a great football tradition. It’s one of winning, it’s one of playing hard. That goes back to the Paul Brown days. I’m glad that can be recognized. I think back to those days because I think those days are coming again.”
The Bengals took Anderson with the 67th overall pick in the 1971 NFL Draft out of Augustana College in Rock Island, Illinois.
He was named the starting quarterback in 1972. Under the late Bill Walsh as his quarterbacks coach and offensive play caller, Anderson became one of the first quarterbacks to pioneer the West Coast offense.
It revolutionized the game as it went away from vertical passing attack to “nickel-and-dime” plays of setting up short, controlled passes to spread the field.
Anderson would construct his legacy in the West Coast offense with his accuracy.
The Bengals legend led the NFL in passing yards twice and finished first in completion percentage three times. He set a record by completing 70.6% of his passes in 1982. The mark would stand for 27 years until Drew Brees broke it in 2009.
The 1974, 1975, 1981, and 1982 seasons were Anderson’s best years—he led the NFL in passer rating over that span.
Steve Young (six), Bart Starr (five), Roger Staubach (four), Sid Luckman, Sammy Baugh, and Peyton Manning (three each) join Anderson as the only quarterbacks in league history to lead the NFL in passer rating three times or more.
He won 91 of his 172 starts, leading the team to postseason appearances in 1973, 1975, 1981, and 1982, including Cincinnati’s first Super Bowl appearance in 1981. Anderson also won the Most Valuable Player award that season.
He's been eligible for the Hall of Fame since 1991. Fast forward 30 years and his name has yet to be called to Canton. Fans have rallied around Anderson in his Hall of Fame quest hoping one day soon that will come to fruition.
His induction into the Bengals Ring of Honor could be the extra boost he needs to get to there.
The inaugural Ring of Honor class will be inducted on Sept. 30 during the Bengals Thursday Night Football game against the Jaguars.
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