Cincinnati Bengals: Ken Anderson up for Pro Football Hall of Fame again

Jul. 13—For the second straight year, Cincinnati Bengals legend Ken Anderson will be considered for induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

The NFL announced this week the Pro Bowl quarterback is among 31 semifinalists for the seniors committee to consider later this year.

Anderson and Bengals cornerback Ken Riley were both on that list last year with Riley getting the call to the hall.

A four-time Pro Bowl quarterback, Anderson played 192 games in a career highlighted by leading the Bengals to their first Super Bowl in 1981, when he also was named the league's Most Valuable Player and led the league in passing.

In recent years, Anderson's case seems to have gained steam in Cincinnati and beyond as he is one of five players in NFL history to win at least four league passing titles and the only one to win consecutive passing titles in two different decades — doing it in 1974-75 and 1981-82.

Ottis Anderson, Carl Banks, Maxie Baughan, Larry Brown, Mark Clayton, Charlie Conerly, Roger Craig, Henry Ellard, Randy Gradishar, Lester Hayes, Chris Hinton, Cecil Isbell, Joe Jacoby, Billy "White Shoes" Johnson, Mike Kenn, Bob Kuechenberg, George Kunz, Albert Lewis, Jim Marshall, Clay Matthews Jr., Steve McMichael, Eddie Meador, Stanley Morgan, Tommy Nobis, Art Powell, Sterling Sharpe, Steve Tasker, Otis Taylor, Everson Walls and Al Wistert.

Gradishar and Marshall both played at Ohio State then were members of historically great defenses in the NFL.

Gradishar was a linebacker for the "Orange Crush" stop unit of the Denver Broncos from 1974-83 and finished his career with 20 interceptions and more than 2,000 tackles.

He was the 1978 NFL Defensive Player of the Year and made seven Pro Bowls while being selected to the All-Pro first team twice.

Marshall was part of Ohio State's 1957 national championship team then spent 19 seasons with the Vikings. Part of the "Purple People Eaters" defensive line, Marshall played in four Super Bowls, made two Pro Bowls and appeared in a record 282 consecutive games, most for a defensive player in NFL history.

Nine Ohio State players are in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, including Middletown native Cris Carter. He is joined by Sid Gillman, Lou Groza, Dante Lavelli, Dick LeBeau, Orlando Pace, Jim Parker, Paul Warfield and Bill Willis.

NFL Films founder Ed Sabol is also credited to Ohio State after being a swimmer for the Buckeyes.

Anthony Munoz and Riley are the only players whose careers primarily were spent in Cincinnati to be inducted into the PFHOF, though receivers Charlie Joiner and Terrell Owens also wore the stripes during their careers and LeBeau was a Bengals coach.

Also in the running again for the 2024 class is the late John McVay, a Miami University grad who was the head coach of the Dayton Flyers from 1965-72.

His biggest impact in the NFL came as an executive for the 49ers for nearly two decades.

McVay, who passed away last year, joined the organization in 1979 and helped build the team that won five Super Bowls.

The grandfather of Los Angeles Rams coach Sean McVay, he is among semifinalists being considered by the Coach/Contributor committee.

The senior committee list and the coaches/contributors list will both be reduced to 12 members July 27.

One coach or contributor will then advance to the finalists stage to be considered by the hall of fame selection committee along with up to three players from the seniors' committee.

This is the second of three years the senior committee's pool was expanded, helping to revive the candidacies of players like Anderson and Riley.