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Ken Anderson (quarterback)

Ken Anderson
No. 14
Position: Quarterback
Personal information
Date of birth: (1949-02-15) February 15, 1949
Height: 6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)
Weight: 212 lb (96 kg)
Career information
College: Augustana
NFL draft: 1971 / Round: 3 / Pick: 67
Career history
As player:
As coach:
Career highlights and awards
As coach
Career NFL statistics
TD-INT: 197-160
Yards: 32,838
QB Rating: 81.9
Stats at

Kenneth Allan "Ken" Anderson (born February 15, 1949) is a former American football quarterback who spent his entire professional career playing for the Cincinnati Bengals of the NFL and later returned as a position coach. He was the quarterbacks coach with the Pittsburgh Steelers.


  • Playing career 1
    • NFL 1.1
    • Legacy 1.2
  • Every game with two 400 or more yard quarterbacks 2
  • Coaching career 3
  • Personal 4
  • External links 5
  • References 6

Playing career


Anderson was born in Batavia, Illinois. After playing for and graduating from Augustana College (Illinois), he was drafted 67th overall in the 1971 NFL Draft by the Bengals and earned the starting quarterback job in 1972. He would become one of the most accurate short-range passers in the league, and was extremely effective at rushing the ball for a quarterback.

Because Bill Walsh was his quarterbacks coach, Anderson is considered to be one of the first quarterbacks to run what would become known as the "West Coast Offense."[1] One of the finest performances of his early career was in a 1975 Monday Night Football game against the Buffalo Bills. In the game, Anderson passed for a franchise record 447 yards while the Bengals racked up a franchise record 553 offensive yards on their way to a 33-21 win. It was the team's first ever win in a Monday night game.

Anderson's best season was in 1981, although it started out very badly for him. In the Bengals opening game against the Seattle Seahawks, Anderson was intercepted twice in the first half and the Seahawks built up 21-10 halftime lead. In the second half, Cincinnati coach Forrest Gregg benched Anderson and brought in third string quarterback Turk Schonert (second string quarterback Jack Thompson was injured at the time). With Schonert in command of the offense, the Bengals stormed back and won the game 27-21. Gregg considered starting Schonert or Thompson for the next game against the New York Jets, but decided to stick with Anderson after an impassioned discussion the two had during the week leading up to the game. Anderson took advantage of his second chance by throwing for 246 yards and 2 touchdowns, and the Bengals won the game 31-30.

By the time the season ended, Anderson had completed 62.6% of his passes for 3,754 yards and 29 touchdowns, with only 10 interceptions leading the NFL with a career-high 98.4 passer rating. He also gained another 320 yards and 1 touchdown on the ground. This performance earned him both the Associated Press and Professional Football Writers of America NFL Most Valuable Player Awards and the NFL Comeback Player of the Year Award. Anderson then lead the Bengals to their first ever playoff victory over the Buffalo Bills, and then he led Cincinnati to a 27-7 win in the AFC championship game (which later became known as the Freezer Bowl) over the San Diego Chargers, earning a trip to the first Super Bowl appearance in franchise history.

The Bengals lost Super Bowl XVI 26-21 against the San Francisco 49ers, but Anderson had a solid performance, especially in the second half, despite his team trailing 20-0 at the end of the first half. He completed 25 of 34 passes for 300 yards and 2 touchdowns, with 2 interceptions, and gained 14 rushing yards and a touchdown on 5 rushing attempts. At the time, his 25 completions and 73.5% completion percentage were both Super Bowl records.

The following season (1982), Anderson set an NFL record by completing 70.6% of his passes. But his team lost in the first round of the playoffs at Riverfront Stadium to the New York Jets. Anderson continued as the Bengals starting quarterback for the next 2 seasons, but in both seasons he threw more interceptions than touchdowns, was injured for stretches, and the Bengals failed to make the playoffs. In 1985 he was replaced by Boomer Esiason for the third game of the season, a home contest against the San Diego Chargers. From this point on, Anderson backed up Esiason before retiring after the 1986 season.

In his 16 NFL seasons, Anderson completed 2,654 of 4,475 passes (59.3%) for 32,838 yards and 197 touchdowns and 160 interceptions. He also gained 2,220 rushing yards and 20 touchdowns on 397 carries. His completions, passing yards, and touchdown passes are all Bengals records. His 2,220 rushing yards are the most ever by a Bengals quarterback. Anderson led the NFL in Quarterback Rating 4 times during his career (1974, '75, '81 and '82) and led the league in passing yards twice (1974, 1975). He was selected to 4 Pro-Bowls (1975-76 & 1981-82). Anderson was voted All-Pro in 1981, 2nd Team All-Pro in 1975 and 2nd Team All-AFC in 1974 & 1982.

Although not officially retired by the Bengals, Anderson's number 14 had been held in reserve and not assigned to any player by the team until Anderson started coaching for division rival Pittsburgh Steelers. The holding of number 14 was most evident in 1998, when the Bengals signed Neil O'Donnell, who wore number 14 during most of his career. O'Donnell wore number 12 during his one-year stay in Cincinnati, the only time in his NFL career he didn't wear number 14. Currently, Andy Dalton has acquired number 14 for the Bengals, since being drafted in 2011.


At the time of Ken's retirement following the 1986 season, he held NFL records for consecutive pass completions (20), completion percentage for a single game (20 of 22, 90.9%, vs. Pittsburgh in 1974) and completion percentage for a season (70.6% in 1982), as well as the Super Bowl records for completion percentage (73.5%) (since broken by Phil Simms) and completions (25; Tom Brady holds the current record with 37). Furthermore, Ken was ranked 6th all-time for passing yards in a career at the time of his retirement. Ken's record for completion percentage in a season stood for 27 years after his retirement (broken by Drew Brees in 2009). As of 2005, he is among the top 30 all-time leaders in pass attempts (24th), completions (18th), passing yards (21st) and passing touchdowns (28th). He led the NFL in passing yards and completions twice, and lead the league in fewest interceptions per pass attempt 3 times. He ranks seventh in NFL history for postseason quarterback rating, 93.5.[2]

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.[3]

Every game with two 400 or more yard quarterbacks

Rank Quarterback Date Game Attempts Comp Yards TDs INTs Rating
1 Ken O'Brien
Dan Marino
9/21/1986 New York Jets: 51
Miami Dolphins: 45
Total: 96 Points 93 59 927 10 3
2 Matt Schaub
Donovan McNabb
9/19/2010 Houston Texans: 30
Washington Redskins: 27
Total: 57 Points 90 66 923 4 1
3 Dan Marino
Drew Bledsoe
9/4/1994 Miami Dolphins: 39
New England Patriots: 35
Total: 74 Points 93 55 894 9 3
4 Jim Kelly
Steve Young
9/13/1992 Buffalo Bills: 34
San Francisco 49ers: 31
Total: 65 Points 70 48 852 6 2
5 Dan Fouts
Ken Anderson
12/20/1982 San Diego Chargers: 50
Cincinnati Bengals: 34
Total: 84 Points 96 65 851 3 3
6 Dan Fouts
Don Strock
1/2/1982 San Diego Chargers: 41
Miami Dolphins: 38
Total: 79 Points 96 62 836 7 2

Coaching career

After serving as a color analyst for the Bengals' radio broadcasts from 1987–1992, Anderson re-joined the team in 1993 as their quarterbacks coach, a position he held until 1996. After that, he served as the team's offensive coordinator from 1996–2000, and then again as the team's quarterbacks coach in 2001 and 2002. In 2003 he became a wide receivers coach for the Jacksonville Jaguars, and was their quarterbacks coach. He was fired after the 2006 8-8 season along with the offensive coordinator Carl Smith and special teams coach Pete Rodriguez by Jack Del Rio. In January 2007, new Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin hired Anderson as his quarterbacks coach under offensive coordinator Bruce Arians. On January 5, 2010, Mike Tomlin announced that Anderson would be retiring, effective immediately.[4][5] Anderson earned a Super Bowl ring when the Steelers won Super Bowl XLIII.


He and his wife Cristy live in Pittsburgh. Anderson has three children, Matt, Megan, and Molly. He attended Salmon P. Chase College of Law at Northern Kentucky University and received a law degree.[6] In the early 1980s, Ken was featured in an ad for the National Coffee Association as a Coffee Achiever.

External links


  1. ^ "Walsh's legacy begins with West Coast offense".  
  2. ^
  3. ^ Top 10 players not in the Hall of Fame
  4. ^ Dulac, Gerry (2007-01-30). "Tomlin's coaching staff is complete".  
  5. ^ Steelers QB coach Ken Anderson retires
  6. ^ "Ken Anderson". IMDb. Retrieved October 19, 2012. 
Sporting positions
Preceded by
Mark Whipple
Pittsburgh Steelers Quarterbacks Coach
Succeeded by
Randy Fichtner
Preceded by
Bruce Coslet
Cincinnati Bengals Offensive Coordinators
Succeeded by
Bob Bratkowski
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