Ken Anderson, the Bengals all-time leading passer, turns 68 later this week on Wednesday and in what has become an annual rite of the Ides of February we honor his birthday building his case for the Pro Football Hall of Fame with ten stats.
Some of the numbers you’ve seen. Some you haven’t.
They come 10 days after Kurt Warner became the 26th quarterback voted into the Hall of Fame. Warner was born the spring Anderson broke into the NFL in 1971 and like Anderson was named to four Pro Bowls.
3 - Anderson passed for 32,838 yards and 197 touchdowns while rushing for 2,220 yards and 20 TDs.
Only three Hall of Fame QBs have at least matched those numbers in all four categories: John Elway, Fran Tarkenton and Steve Young. (Warner threw for 32,344 yards).
4 - NFL passing titles for Anderson.
Everyone else with at least four is in the Hall of Fame. Young and Sammy Baugh each have six and Roger Staubach and Len Dawson each have four. (Warner won two passing titles.)
7.3 - Anderson’s career yards per pass.
He was supposed to be an artist and not a bomb thrower, but he was both during a career that straddled the smash-mouth ‘70s when the run ruled and the innovative ‘80s but he’s tied on the all-time list with five Hall-of-Famers, Dan Marino, Fran Tarkenton, Bob Griese, Bob Waterfield, and Sammy Baugh. And ahead of a couple of Hall-of-Fame gunslingers in Terry Bradshaw (7.2), Bobby Layne (7.2), and Brett Favre (7.1)
By the way, he’s also tied with the current No. 14,
16 - NFL seasons played by Anderson, most in Bengals history.
Only nine Hall-of-Fame quarterbacks played more. (Warner played 12.)
59.3 - Anderson’s career completion percentage, third best for a quarterback who began his career before 1979.
The leader (Ken Stabler at 59.8) is in the Hall. So is the man behind him (Dan Fouts at 58.8). It’s a number better than the career percentage of 20 quarterbacks in the Hall.
(Warner’s 65.5 is fourth all-time.)
53 - TD passes Anderson threw to Bengals wide receiver Isaac Curtis.
According to Elias, that is tied for 19th all-time on the TD combo list. Of the QBs who have hooked up with a receiver for at least 50 scores, ten are in the Hall of Fame and three (Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, Tom Brady) are on the way and Matt Ryan may be.
And here’s a plug for Curtis. Of the wide receivers on that list, 10 are in the Hall and Randy Moss, Terrell Owens and Calvin Johnson are headed there.
It’s a star-studded tie at 53 with Jurgensen-Charley Taylor, Frank Ryan-Gary Collins, Terry Bradshaw-John Stallworth and Ron Jaworski-Harold Carmichael. Bradshaw, Stallworth, Jurgensen, and Taylor are in the Hall.
66.3 - Anderson’s career post-season completion percentage, No. 1 on the all-time list when he retired.
(Warner’s 66.5 is now behind Matt Ryan’s 68.1)
70.55 - Anderson’s completion percentage for the 1982 season, the NFL season record when he retired.
(Warner’s best was 68.7 in 2001 when he won his second passing title.
81.9 - Anderson’s career passer rating, fifth best for a quarterback who began his career before 1979.
The four in front of him are all in the Hall of Fame: Otto Graham (86.6), Staubach (83.4), Sonny Jurgensen (82.6), and Dawson (82.6). His rating is better than the rating of 18 Hall of Fame QBs. (Warner’s 93.7 is 10th best all-time.
90.9 - Anderson’s completion percentage in a 1974 game against the Steelers, an NFL record when he retired.