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  • Contributors


    Cris Collinsworth

    Former Pro Bowl wide receiver for the Cincinnati Bengals and Emmy-winning analyst from Sunday Night Football and Inside the NFL.
    Dave Lapham
    Has called game for the Bengals radio network for 25 years. Analyst for Big 12 games on Fox Sports Net. Played 10 years in the NFL for the Cincinnati Bengals.
    Turk Schonert
    NFL quarterback for 10 years with the Bengals and Falcons. Has served as quarterback coach for the Buccaneers, Bills, Panthers, Giants and Saints and Offensive Coordinator for the Bills.
    Phil McConkey
    Played 6 years in the NFL as a WR, punt returner and kick returner for the Giants, Packers, Cardinals and Chargers. Played college football at the Naval Academy and served in the U.S. Navy before joining the NFL. Best remembered for his oustanding game in Super Bowl XXI.
    Josina Anderson
    Josina "JoJo" Anderson is contributing reporter on Showtime's Inside the NFL and is a weekend co-anchor/reporter/producer for FOX 31 Sports in Denver, Colorado. Josina produces the nightly sportscasts and covers the Denver Broncos, Denver Nuggets, Colorado Avalanche, and the Colorado Rockies.
    Jerry Jones
    NFL Draft Expert, has published the acclaimed Drugstore List since 1978.
    Russell S Baxter
    Researcher, writer and editor covering the NFL for over 30 years.
    Andy Freeland
    Statistician and researcher for NBC's Sunday Night Football.
  • Ken Anderson Belongs in the Hall of Fame

    OK, I am biased. Kenny is a dear friend and my former teammate. But, Kenny Anderson belongs in the Hall of Fame. When you compare quarterback numbers, Kenny Anderson is one of the greatest passers of all time. I knew it because I was on the receiving end of those perfectly thrown spirals. Kenny could anticipate defenses to the point that if you were going to get hit he would throw you away from danger. His performance in the Freezer Bowl against the San Diego Chargers alone should put him in the Hall of Fame. He had the best passer rating in the NFL 4 times. Only Steve Young's 5 is better.

    Go down the statistics, the only reason he is not in the Hall of Fame is that he played for the Bengals who never won a Super Bowl. He should have won Super Bowl XVI, but we let him down. He played a great game. He was the MVP of the league that year after getting benched in the first game of the season. Many quarterbacks are in the Hall of Fame because of the greatness of their teams, which is fine. But, when somebody puts up the numbers that Kenny put up, he should not be denied because he played for a lesser team. There is a great article from Cold Hard Football Facts that that makes the case for Kenny Anderson. Read it and believe. http://www.coldhardfootballfacts.com..._Anderson.html

    Comments 50 Comments
    1. Ragar's Avatar
      (haven't read article yet so going unbiased first)

      First run thru shows that Anderson was Dan Fouts with less attempts due to the offense. Anderson's better career years at the beginnning and end of his career (not counting final 2 years) with appearance of the middle years getting killed based upon his sack %. Less Td% then Griese, but better int% while taking more sacks, same with Bradshaw.

      Has 2 abysmal statistic seasons ('78 and '80), however the context of the era puts the seasons in a better light when you realize both Griese, Fouts, and Bradshaw had multiple years with more int's then td's. His completion percentage in his good years was much better then both Griese and Fouts , with his mid years still at or above league average. Anderson's yards per completion is below the other 3. Anderson was hitting his stride as NAmath was falling. Numbers are similar to Staubach (with Anderson playing equivalent of 5 more seasons)

      First glance of his contemporaries in the HoF show he was better then Griese, equal to Fouts, and Bradshaw had enough rings to gloss over anything else, Staubach had a good winning percentage he could have handed off every play and people would have put him in. Beginning of career saw first 2 seasons with Namath better, then falling quickly and Anderson better. End of career saw Montana and then the '83 class.

      Very easy to make argumnents for Anderson's induction as his numbers are equal to the other inductees. Issue appears to be how many players from 1 position should get in from each era? For Anderson you could argue that he was the bridge from old school to the class of '83 and was one of the fore runners of high completion percentage, lower int %, and shorter passing.

      (now to read the article)
    1. bengalhoel's Avatar
      Amen Brother! I am a Bengals fan so I am probably biased too but I think that Ken Anderson is every bit as good as Terry Bradshaw if not better. As we all know they did not call pass interference for most of Kenny Anderson's Era and he still managed to throw 37 more TD's than interceptions. Bradshaw did seem to save his best for the postseason though. And dont get me started on Joe Namath's career stats! I cant beleive a Super Bowl victory counts for so much towards voting. What next, Trent Dilfer gets in and Ken stays out.

      Why we are on the subject lets get Ken Riley in the HOF also please. He is 5th all time in interceptions and out of the top 10 there are only 3 people not in and one of them is still active.

      Hall of fame voting is one time where they should look at the name on the back of the Uniform instead of the team that person plays on.
    1. msclemons's Avatar
      Ken Anderson was Joe Montana before Joe entered the league. He specialized in super accurate passes that allowed receivers to run after the catch. If the Bengals had won the super bowl in '81 we might be talking about Ken Anderson in the same way we talk about Montana.

      As a 49er fan it really hurt to type that but it's the truth. Ken Anderson needs to go into the HoF before any other QB is inducted. Period.
    1. Trumpetbdw's Avatar
      Speaking solely as a Steelers fan who only caught the tail end of Anderson's career, I can tell you that I agree 100%. His stats are surprisingly good, and everything that I can see shows that he is clearly the best QB not currently in the Hall of Fame. In my mind, Ken Anderson and HOFer Len Dawson are the two most underrated historical QBs of all time. For some reason, Anderson doesn't get much run on NFL films, one of the forgotten greats, and didn't win a championship, and therefore, I think that many from my generation and later don't realize how truly great he was.
    1. Dave Lapham's Avatar
      Ken Anderson won back to back NFL passing titles in two different decades executing two entirely different systems with different head coaches and offensive coordinators. In 1974 and 1975 it was under Paul Brown and Bill Walsh, in 1981 and 1982 with Forrest Gregg and Lindy Infante. Ken Anderson was like a Norman Rockwell portrait of a QB. In this case the artist was Bill Walsh who created a masterpiece. As a result of their combined efforts, Ken Anderson was the most technically sound forward passer I have ever seen. His mechanics were flawless which led to uncanny accuracy. He would throw receivers away from trouble as Cris said, as well as throw them into additional yards after catch. He was also a great athlete that could run. In 1981, an AFC Championship team, he was our second leading rusher. When he got to the perimeter of a defense with roll outs, bootlegs, nakeds, waggles he was a run/pass threat that really stressed defenses. That 1981 season Ken Anderson was NFL MVP. He led the Bengals to our first playoff win in franchise history, our first AFC Championship, and like Cris said played well enough to win Super Bowl XVI if we had provided him enough support. The numbers don't lie. It is really an injustice that Ken Anderson is not in the Hall of Fame. The Hall of Fame would be a better place with his bust on display because he is the most humble, grounded guy you would ever want to meet. If the old saying is true about good things happening to good people than this small town star is deserving of his rightful place in Canton, Ohio.
    1. Bengals1181's Avatar
      Cris nails it in the first sentence of the second paragraph.


      The only reason Ken Anderson (and Ken Riley and Lemar Parrish) aren't in the HOF is because they were Bengals.

      If they were in a bigger market that has had more recent success, all three would be in by now.
    1. Ripperlicious's Avatar
      I agree about Ken Anderson. His stats DWARF his peers' stats! And this was during the era when mauling QBs and WRs was not only allowed, but encouraged! It's too bad that players only get into the Hall of Fame by votes of football writers who have never played the game and NOT by the votes of players (except for the Veterans Committee).

      My advice Cris, go bother your buddy Peter King and convince him. And while you're at it, try and get Jim Plunkett in too. I can't believe Troy Aikman, Terry Bradshaw and Joe Namath are in and Jim Plunkett is not. Very similar careers.
    1. darvon's Avatar
      @Cris,

      OK. If you are going to battle to get Ken Anderson in, you need a plan.

      You have 1 more year until he goes from the 15 man ballot to the 2 man ballot of the Seniors Committee.

      Now is the time.


      ****Editors Note*****
      I just called the HOF. Ken is no longer on the Modern Era pool. He is now on the Seniors Ballot.

      As this is his first year on the Seniors Tour, this is a good time for a PUSH. But only 2 from the Seniors Ballot get consideration. A tough gate.

      The other 3 strong NEW candidates in the Seniors bracket are Ray Guy and Lester Hayes and Don Coryell. Last years 2 Seniors were:

      Chris Hanburger, Washington Redskins (1965-1978) and linebacker Les Richter, Los Angeles Rams (1954-1962).
    1. darvon's Avatar
      NFL HOF Procedures HERE

      Voting procedure
      To be eligible for the nominating process, a player or coach must have been retired at least five years. Any other contributor such as a team owner or executive can be voted in at any time.[6] Unlike the Baseball Hall of Fame, which explicitly waives its five-year waiting period for players who die during that time or while active,[7] the Pro Football Hall of Fame has no provision to waive its waiting period.
      Fans may nominate any player, coach or contributor by simply writing to the Pro Football Hall of Fame via letter or email. The Selection Committee is then polled three times by mail to eventually narrow the list to 25 semifinalists: once in March, one in September, and one in October. In November, the committee then selects 15 finalists by mail balloting.
      Nine members of the Selection Committee also serve as a subcommittee known as the Seniors Committee to screen candidates who finished their careers 25 or more years prior.[6] The Seniors Committee then adds two finalists from prior to the modern era, making a final ballot of 17.
      The Selection Committee then meets the day before each Super Bowl game to elect a new class. To be elected, a finalist must receive at least 80 percent support from the Board, with at least four, but no more than seven, candidates being elected annually. If less than four candidates get 80 percent of the vote, then the top four vote-getters will get in that year. If more than seven get 80 percent, then only the top seven vote-getters will be inducted.
      From Wikipedia
      He has been nominated for the Pro Football Hall of Fame several times, and on 2 occasions was among the 15 finalists for enshrinement (1996 and 1998), but to this day he has not yet been voted in.
      In 2008, NFL Network selected Anderson as #10 on their list of top 10 players who have not yet made it into the hall of fame.[1]

      On the 2011 (2010 NFL season) Preliminary List there were 114 names. On it were the following QBs

      HERE

      Simms, Plunkett, Anderson and Williams.

      We need to address why Anderson is not getting in the Semi-Finalist 15. CORRECTION We now need to work on the Senior Ballot Process. Nominate as normal.


      So first step:

      1) Nominate Ken Anderson by US Mail

      ProFootball Hall of Fame
      Mailing Address:
      2121 George Halas Drive NW
      Canton, OH 44708
      Attn: "Selection Process."

      Ok. People. Get up and send in some letters. Post in this thread when it is IN THE MAILBOX.

      One letter is not good enough. Let's set the target at 100 letters to the HOF.
    1. darvon's Avatar
      Letter #1 of 100 - Darvon


      DONE.

      @Cris,

      Time to get a pen and paper and a stamp and send them one. Don't go Hollywood on us.

      @ All, The Senior list goes out in June. Time is NOW, people. Let get to it.
    1. Ragar's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by Ripperlicious View Post
      It's too bad that players only get into the Hall of Fame by votes of football writers who have never played the game and NOT by the votes of players (except for the Veterans Committee).
      quick rant

      Stop that argument right now. Good writers offer perspective that players cannot as their emotions will cloud a fair and balanced look (notice I said good writers). {President shouldn't be Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces as he/she wasn't in the military, no announcers that weren't former players, no politicians to make laws outside their prior area of expertise, very few fans played the game so should make no commments on play, coaching, game planning, game management, etc.} A writers job is to sift through tons of information, with the help of players and fans, and make decisions based upon the long history of the game, and not short sided narrow focus of players who can indicate who were the best in their time only.

      Players jobs, and fans, is to continue to write articles like this and educate writers to why individual players deserve induction, and in doing so show why some should not be in. We have infinitely more time and ability to do research to get the information to the writers so they cna make an informed decision. Writers are not perfect, they have biases jsut liek the rest of us. But that's why our job is to convince the others and media that our casue is right.

      And while we are at it, the best freaking guard in the history of the game isn't in the HoF.
    1. Steelersfan23's Avatar
      Anderson became the Bengals starter in '72 and led them to 6 straight winning/non-losing seasons. He broke his hand in the preseason of '78 at Green Bay. The Bengals without him were 0-4 and in week 5 with "Tiger" Johnson's job on the line, the Bengals were desparate to salvage the season. They cut his cast off on Tuesday and started him on Sunday, he threw 4 INT, and 10 over the next 3 games. Good reason for a "bad" season. He got booed and never said a word.
      In, 1979 the Bengals had the worst defense in the NFL in both yds, and pts scored, and Anderson was sacked the most of any QB. Also keep in mind, that was the Homer Rice era. In 1980 Forrest Gregg and Anthony Munoz arrived combined with Blair Bush and Montoya. Add, the "sneaky fast" guy that owns this website (Cris Collinsworth) and you turn the corner for what happens next. Then you give Anderson a 1000 yd. all-pro rusher for the first time ever in his career with new passer friendly rules, you have the best player in the NFL Kenny Anderson going to the Super Bowl.
      I know Bradshaw has the rings, but he had a perennial all-pro running back in Franco Harris and a host of HOFers.
      As far as Fouts is concerned, and in my bood he is a HOFer. But he floundered early in his career, while Anderson broke the barriers with the new ball control offense.
      Then Isaac Curtis changed the 5 yd bump rule. And the new Walsh/Anderson ball control offense was validated for all to enjoy, but Anderson's teams of 78-80 were not very good, and he was banged up, while Fouts teams were better in the new era and his yds soared thanks to innovations by Anderson/Walsh/Curtis and Fouts has Cincinnati to thank for that.
      Then when the Bengals had a good team, coach, and more liberal passing rules, Anderson proved he was still the best by becoming MVP of the league and rushing for over 300 yards. Can you imagine if we had Anderson/Curtis of '75 in their prime with the more liberal passing rules? Forget just being the MVP of the league, they could have been the greatest passing tandem of all time.
      All the QB's and receivers owe something to Anderson and Curtis for changing the rules and how the passing game is played today.
    1. Ripperlicious's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by Ragar View Post
      quick rant

      Stop that argument right now. Good writers offer perspective that players cannot as their emotions will cloud a fair and balanced look (notice I said good writers). {President shouldn't be Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces as he/she wasn't in the military, no announcers that weren't former players, no politicians to make laws outside their prior area of expertise, very few fans played the game so should make no commments on play, coaching, game planning, game management, etc.} A writers job is to sift through tons of information, with the help of players and fans, and make decisions based upon the long history of the game, and not short sided narrow focus of players who can indicate who were the best in their time only.

      Players jobs, and fans, is to continue to write articles like this and educate writers to why individual players deserve induction, and in doing so show why some should not be in. We have infinitely more time and ability to do research to get the information to the writers so they cna make an informed decision. Writers are not perfect, they have biases jsut liek the rest of us. But that's why our job is to convince the others and media that our casue is right.

      And while we are at it, the best freaking guard in the history of the game isn't in the HoF.
      I respectfully disagree. Writers don't understand the rigors of being in the NFL. They don't understand the work behind it. They may say they do, but how do you explain pregnancy to a guy? It's a similar situation that ONLY the females who've had kids can REALLY understand. Writers who simply watch games and give their OPINION shouldn't hold the power of Hall of Fame worthiness IMO.

      Do the writers who have never played a football game in their life really understand football? I mean, I played high school and college, but I have no clue what it's like to play in the NFL. But I do know what it's like going through 2-a-days. I do know what it's like to have friendships that go beyond normalcy because of competing for collective goals.

      For years, Peter King kept Art Monk out of the Hall of Fame. Granted, somewhere along the path, King correctly changed his mind, but that just goes to show you if Monk's peers had any say, he would've been in way before he got elected.
    1. Pruitt's Avatar
      Maybe if Anderson did more endorsements, or became a high profile announcer after retirement, than he'd be in the hall.

      I'm not making a joke - I remember him as being an ultra-consistent QB, and while the Bengals never won the Super Bowl, they regularly made the playoffs during his day.
    1. Ragar's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by Ripperlicious View Post
      Writers who simply watch games and give their OPINION shouldn't hold the power of Hall of Fame worthiness IMO.

      .
      I don't want to put words into you mouth so please straighten me out if I've misinterpreted...you do not respect anyones opinion inregards ot the HoF unless they played football?
    1. Nancy's Avatar
      Cris, I cannot tell you how happy I am to see this thread. This is one of my biggest sports pet peeves. I too may be somewhat biased, having grown up watching the Bengals in the '70s and into the early 80's, but Anderson was just special. One of the first football games that I watched (and actually had a clue as to what was happening) was the Steelers game in '74 that the Bengals won by tormenting the Steel Curtain with passes to the running back. That early WCO was radical and it looked radical. It always seemed to me that people just didn't know what to make of Anderson and the Bengals of the mid-70s. The press and some fans were very dismissive of Anderson's statistical success; and it's true that he completed a lot of short passes, but no one else could do it with such amazing consistency. And someone must have been throwing all those long balls to Curtis, right? That offense was incredibly productive even with no running game to speak of. If the Bengals of '75 and '76 had been able to run the ball with any consistency they would have been unstoppable. I still prefer not to think too much about the 78-79 teams. The Bengals took "re-building" to a whole new level during that time and the legacy of their finest players has suffered somewhat because of it. I recall the fans giving Anderson real hell for about three seasons (fan reaction to Palmer's issues has been sweet by comparison), and he never appeared to make an arse of himself by responding publicly. The re-building did indeed pay off, because that '81 team was just so darned good, an absolute joy to watch in all respects, and I believe that Anderson's performance in the Freezer Bowl is one of the all-time great games by any quarterback. Yet, when I ran into a long-time Charger fan in the Indy airport after the SD-Colts game last fall, and we got into a discussion about the olden days, he asked me "now, who was the Bengals' quarterback in that game??" Annoying, but typical--frankly, I've always thought that part of the lack of acclaim for Anderson was due to his understated style; when he was on, it all just looked so easy.

      Somewhere in the news archives from '81 there exists an article about Fouts and Bill Walsh in which Fouts said that when Walsh first became quarterbacks coach at SD, he dropped a stack of films of Anderson in front of him and said "This is how I want you to play quarterback." How in the world this man can be excluded from Canton is beyond me.
    1. Steelersfan23's Avatar
      The game you are referring to is the game when Anderson set the NFL completion record against the Steelers. He also saved the game when late in the game the Bengals were winning and running out the clock and one of the Bengals RB's fumbled and Steeler Safety Mike Wagner scooped up the fumble and raced for the endzone for a TD and a Steeler victory. Anderson used his 4.8 speed to chase down Wagner and saved the game by tackling him from behind. Wilkapedia has this game listed on the Anderson bio page.
      Mike Wagner has respectfully said after he retired, "Kenny Anderson was a nightmare for us."

      Also, the cold hard football facts listed the top 20 stingiest NFL defenses of all time by the year. They rated the defenses based on opposing QB's passer rating. The 70's Steelers teams made about 5 entries in the top 20 with 1973 being the stingiest allowing opposing QB's around a 33.3 passer rating. Anderson
      gave that defense fits every time he played them.




      Quote Originally Posted by Nancy View Post
      Cris, I cannot tell you how happy I am to see this thread. This is one of my biggest sports pet peeves. I too may be somewhat biased, having grown up watching the Bengals in the '70s and into the early 80's, but Anderson was just special. One of the first football games that I watched (and actually had a clue as to what was happening) was the Steelers game in '74 that the Bengals won by tormenting the Steel Curtain with passes to the running back. That early WCO was radical and it looked radical. It always seemed to me that people just didn't know what to make of Anderson and the Bengals of the mid-70s. The press and some fans were very dismissive of Anderson's statistical success; and it's true that he completed a lot of short passes, but no one else could do it with such amazing consistency. And someone must have been throwing all those long balls to Curtis, right? That offense was incredibly productive even with no running game to speak of. If the Bengals of '75 and '76 had been able to run the ball with any consistency they would have been unstoppable. I still prefer not to think too much about the 78-79 teams. The Bengals took "re-building" to a whole new level during that time and the legacy of their finest players has suffered somewhat because of it. I recall the fans giving Anderson real hell for about three seasons (fan reaction to Palmer's issues has been sweet by comparison), and he never appeared to make an arse of himself by responding publicly. The re-building did indeed pay off, because that '81 team was just so darned good, an absolute joy to watch in all respects, and I believe that Anderson's performance in the Freezer Bowl is one of the all-time great games by any quarterback. Yet, when I ran into a long-time Charger fan in the Indy airport after the SD-Colts game last fall, and we got into a discussion about the olden days, he asked me "now, who was the Bengals' quarterback in that game??" Annoying, but typical--frankly, I've always thought that part of the lack of acclaim for Anderson was due to his understated style; when he was on, it all just looked so easy.

      Somewhere in the news archives from '81 there exists an article about Fouts and Bill Walsh in which Fouts said that when Walsh first became quarterbacks coach at SD, he dropped a stack of films of Anderson in front of him and said "This is how I want you to play quarterback." How in the world this man can be excluded from Canton is beyond me.
    1. Nancy's Avatar
      Yep, Steelersfan23, I remember that game-saving tackle, as well as the out-of -bounds hit that Glen Edwards put on Anderson. Edwards was actually ejected from the game for it, which didn't seem to happen often back then. Man, those 70s Steelers were a nasty bunch. Good, but nasty That was probably the day I really became a football fan, and you could count on one hand the Bengals games I missed between '74 and '84 when the Colts moved to Indy and the Bengals stopped being the "local" TV team. Ahh, the good old days.
    1. Ripperlicious's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by Ragar View Post
      I don't want to put words into you mouth so please straighten me out if I've misinterpreted...you do not respect anyones opinion inregards ot the HoF unless they played football?
      Let me put it this way. When I get heartburn, I drink a glass of milk and it goes away. But I've read articles that tell me that milk actually makes heartburn worse. Huh? Sorry, but I'm drinking milk.

      Can you possible tell me (I'm assuming you aren't a woman who's been through childbirth) what childbirth feels like? Should I value your opinion on childbirth if I ask you to write an article about it by just watching a live birth? Or should I put greater value on the mother giving birth?

      Or on having kids in general. Someone can explain to you all the feelings, both physical and mental of parenting till they're blue in the face (before you have kids), but you'll never know until you have them. Your perspecdtive changes and it's a change you can't described until you've been through it. Similar with being in the football trenches.
    1. Cris Collinsworth's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by Pruitt View Post
      Maybe if Anderson did more endorsements, or became a high profile announcer after retirement, than he'd be in the hall.

      I'm not making a joke - I remember him as being an ultra-consistent QB, and while the Bengals never won the Super Bowl, they regularly made the playoffs during his day.
      I think you have a point. Kenny was a bit shy with the media. He had a family and wanted to study and go home. He also received his law degree while playing for the Bengals. He was not flashy, just good. Bill Walsh had a big influence on Kenny, but would Bill Walsh ever gotten the opportunities without Ken Anderson?