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Ken Anderson
Personal information
Date of birth: February 15, 1949 (1949-02-15) (age 60)
Place of birth: Batavia, Illinois
Height: 6 ft 2 in (1.88 m) Weight: 212 lb (96 kg)
Career information
College: Augustana
NFL Draft: 1971 / Round: 3 / Pick: 67
Debuted in 1971 for the Cincinnati Bengals
Last played in 1986 for the Cincinnati Bengals
Career history
 As player:
 As coach:
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics as of 1986
TD-INT     197-160
Yards     32,838
QB Rating     81.9
Stats at

Kenneth Allan "Ken" Anderson (born February 15, 1949 in Batavia, Illinois) 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



After playing for and graduating from Augustana College (Illinois), Anderson was drafted 67th overall in the 1971 NFL Draft by the Bengals. He earned the starting job in 1972. He would become one of the most accurate short-range passers in the league, and was an extremely effective at rushing the ball for a quarterback. Because Bill Walsh was Ken's quarterbacks coach, Ken 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 3 times in the first half and the Seahawks built up a 21-0 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. 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 fairly good performance in it. 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 & 1981-'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 wasn't been reissued by the team until he started coaching for a division rivalry. This 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. Although this has stopped since he started coaching for division rival Pittsburgh; number 14 was recently issued to Bengals wide receiver Maurice Purify.


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 (70.3% in 1982), as well as the Super Bowl records for completion percentage (73.5%) (since broken by Phil Simms) and completions (25). 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 over 20 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 second in NFL history for postseason quarterback rating, 93.5 (Joe Montana ranks first with a postseason rating of 96.3).

He has been nominated for the Pro Football Hall of Fame several times, and on 2 occasions was among the 15 finalists for enshrinement, 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]

Coaching career

Anderson re-joined the Bengals 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. On January 5, 2010, Mike Tomlin announced that Anderson would be retiring, effective immediately[2][3]. 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, a son Matt, 33 and daughters Megan, 29 and Molly, 24. Attended Salmon P. Chase College of Law - N. Kentucky University and received a law degree.

External links


Sporting positions
Preceded by
Mark Whipple
Pittsburgh Steelers Quarterbacks Coach
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Bruce Coslet
Cincinnati Bengals Offensive Coordinators
Succeeded by
Bob Bratkowski
Preceded by
Virgil Carter
Cincinnati Bengals Starting Quarterbacks
Succeeded by
Boomer Esiason
Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Brian Sipe
AP NFL Most Valuable Player
1981 season
Succeeded by
Mark Moseley
Preceded by
Jim Plunkett
PFW NFL Comeback Player of the Year Award
Succeeded by
Lyle Alzado
Preceded by
Ron Jaworski
Bert Bell Award
Succeeded by
Joe Theismann
Preceded by
George Blanda
Walter Payton Man of the Year Award
Succeeded by
Franco Harris


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