April 3, 2011

MVP Profile: Ken Anderson, 1981

Quarterback, Cincinnati Bengals

Age: 32
11th season in pro football & with Bengals
College: Augustana (Illinois)
Height: 6’2” Weight: 212

Anderson was chosen by the Bengals in the third round of the 1971 NFL draft, despite coming from a small college, and took over as starting quarterback in his second season. Mobile and intelligent, he also adapted well to QB coach Bill Walsh’s early version of the West Coast passing attack with short timing passes. Anderson led the NFL in passing, passing yards, and yards per attempt in 1974 and ’75, as well as completion percentage in ’74, and was selected to the Pro Bowl in 1975 and ’76. The team regularly contended during that period, but through coaching changes and attrition, the Bengals slumped later in the decade and Anderson, who also battled injuries, even briefly lost his job during the 1980 season.

1981 Season Summary
Appeared and started in all 16 games
[Bracketed numbers indicate league rank in Top 20]

Attempts – 479 [9]
Most attempts, game – 52 at Houston 10/4
Completions – 300 [5]
Most completions, game – 30 at Houston 10/4
Yards – 3754 [5]
Most yards, game – 396 vs. Denver 11/22
Completion percentage – 62.6 [2, 1st in AFC]
Yards per attempt – 7.8 [6]
TD passes – 29 [3]
Most TD passes, game – 4 at Cleveland 11/29
Interceptions – 10
Most interceptions, game – 2 vs. Seattle 9/6, vs. San Francisco 12/6
Passer rating – 98.4 [1]
300-yard passing games – 3
200-yard passing games – 12

Attempts – 46
Most attempts, game - 8 (for 37 yds.) at Pittsburgh 12/13
Yards – 320
Most yards, game – 58 yards (on 4 carries) vs. LA Rams 11/15
Average gain – 7.0
TDs – 1

TDs – 1
Points - 6

Postseason: 3 G
Pass attempts – 77
Most pass attempts, game – 34 vs. San Francisco, Super Bowl
Pass completions – 53
Most pass completions, game – 25 vs. San Francisco, Super Bowl
Passing yardage – 653
Most passing yards, game – 300 vs. San Francisco, Super Bowl
TD passes – 5
Most TD passes, game – 2 vs. San Diego, AFC Championship, vs. San Francisco, Super Bowl
Interceptions – 2
Most interceptions, game – 2 vs. San Francisco, Super Bowl

Rushing attempts – 11
Most rushing attempts, game – 5 vs. San Diego, AFC Championship
Rushing yards – 69
Most rushing yards, game – 39 vs. San Diego, AFC Championship
Average gain rushing – 6.3
Rushing TDs – 1

Awards & Honors:
NFL MVP: AP, PFWA, NEA, Bert Bell Award, Sporting News
NFL Offensive Player of the Year: AP
1st team All-NFL: AP, PFW, NEA, Pro Football Weekly, Sporting News
1st team All-AFC: UPI, Pro Football Weekly
Pro Bowl

Bengals went 12-4 to win AFC Central with best record in conference. Won Divisional playoff over Buffalo Bills (28-21) and AFC Championship over San Diego Chargers (27-7). Lost to San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl (26-21).

Anderson again led the NFL in passing during the strike-shortened 1982 season (95.3) and completed a then-record 70.6 % of his passes. He led the league once more in completion percentage in ’83 (66.7) but after one last year as the starting quarterback, he backed up Boomer Esiason in 1985 and ’86, his last two seasons, all spent with the Bengals.


MVP Profiles feature players who were named MVP or Player of the Year in the NFL, AAFC (1946-49), AFL (1960-69), WFL (1974), or USFL (1983-85) by a recognized organization (Associated Press, Pro Football Writers Association, Newspaper Enterprise Association, United Press International, The Sporting News, Maxwell Club – Bert Bell Award, or the league itself).

[Updated 2/15/14]
[Updated 11/28/14]

1 comment:

  1. A great quarterback that took too long to hit his prime due to lack of a supporting cast. When the Bengals finally got a team around him in the early 80's he could throw (and run) with the best. Unfortunately by that time he was well into his thirties and had only a few more good years left in him before injuries and declining play forced his eventual replacement by Boomer Esiason, and eventually retired.