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Anderson Touts The Other Kenny For The Hall On 40th Anniversary Of MVP Season

Ken Anderson: 1981 NFL MVP.
Ken Anderson: 1981 NFL MVP.

Ken Anderson, who along with Tom Brady is the best quarterback not in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, doesn't want to expound on his credentials with the 2021 class set to be unveiled next week without him and with Peyton Manning the day before Brady plays in his 10th Super Bowl.

Instead, Anderson touts his teammate on the 1981 team celebrating the 40th anniversary of his MVP season and the Bengals' first Super Bowl trip.

The late Ken Riley.

"I feel worse for Kenny Riley," Anderson says in the latest Old School Scribe Podcast. "He's got the (fifth) most interceptions in NFL history. If you look at the bulk of his career, they weren't throwing the ball as much as they are now … I believe everyone ahead of him (on the all-time interceptions list) is in.

"He didn't have the opportunities to come up with those numbers. I think that's really a mistake on their part," he says near the end of his 42-minute appearance. "I feel worse for Kenny Riley not having that opportunity to be there in person, but I think he's a really deserving candidate."

Both Anderson, the only man to win back-to-back NFL passing titles in two different decades, and Riley, whose 65 interceptions are most by anyone for one team since the merger, are perennially leading candidates to be nominated for the annual Senior slot for players that retired more than 25 years ago.

The two Kennys not only share the '81 AFC title, but coaching careers. While Riley became the head coach at his alma mater at Florida A&M, Anderson served 17 seasons as an NFL quarterbacks coach in a run that was actually one year longer than his playing career from 1971-86.

At about the 25-minute mark, Old School Scribe delves into why Anderson moved out of broadcasting (getting denied a chance to co-host HBO's big NFL show was a big factor) and into a coaching odyssey that saw him get a Super Bowl ring with the Ben Roethlisberger Steelers.

But he says his run as Boomer Esiason's offensive coordinator with the 1997 Bengals was about as exciting as anything he experienced in coaching.

Anderson racked up more yards (300) and a better passer rating (95.2) in Super Bowl XVI than Roethlisberger (256 yards, 93.2) had in the Super Bowl he got him the ring.

"But Ben had a great two-minute drill at the end of the game," Anderson says.

About 30 minutes in, Anderson reflects on scouting Brady in the run-up to the 2000 draft and why he ended up going in the sixth round (he wishes he could find his old notebooks): "The toughest thing to evaluate is what's between a quarterback's ears."

There's only one quarterback that Anderson scouted during his career that he thought was a can't miss and it isn't Brady. So hear why Anderson is rooting for the Buccaneers and it's not because of Brady. He also reiterates what he's been saying about Joe Burrow even before the Bengals drafted him: "I feel like you can't win without a quarterback and we've got our quarterback."

Anderson also coached one of Brady's Super Bowl foes when he was with the Bengals, Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy, and he agrees "he'd do a great job as a head coach."

Other topics Anderson discussed with the Old School Scribe as the NFL heads into Super Bowl week:

  • Why players didn't wear gray T-shirts and opted to put towels around their necks when head coach Paul Brown broke down game film. (19 minutes in).
  • What happened on the first drive of Super Bowl XVI, when the Bengals reached the 49ers 11 and how a defensive mistake turned into the first of four Bengals turnovers. And why the Bengals didn't try one of Anderson's patented naked bootlegs on San Francisco's decisive goal-line stand. (16 minutes in).
  • Why he's hard pressed to think Isaac Curtis isn't the greatest Bengals wide receiver of all-time and when he knew how special Curtis was. (Eight-minute mark).
  • More Burrow and how he thinks he'll be mentioned among the best in the league pretty quickly: "Besides all his football attributes, I think his leadership skills are off the charts." (36 minutes in).