February 21, 2015

Highlighted Year: Ken Anderson, 1974

Quarterback, Cincinnati Bengals

Age: 25
4th season in pro football & with Bengals
College: Augustana (IL)
Height: 6’2”   Weight: 211

Anderson, who was well-regarded despite coming from a small college, was chosen by the Bengals in the third round of the 1971 NFL draft, and took over as starting quarterback in his second season. Mobile, intelligent, and with a good arm, he also adapted well to QB coach Bill Walsh’s early version of the West Coast passing attack with short timing passes. He broke out in 1973, throwing for 2428 yards and 18 touchdowns with a passer rating of 81.2 while the Bengals went 10-4 and won the AFC Central title.

1974 Season Summary
Appeared and started in 13 of 14 games
[Bracketed numbers indicate league rank in Top 20]

Attempts – 328 [7]
Most attempts, game – 44 vs. Houston 10/27
Completions – 213 [1]
Most completions, game – 30 vs. Houston 10/27
Yards – 2667 [1]
Most yards, game – 352 vs. Houston 10/27
Completion percentage – 64.9 [1]
Yards per attempt – 8.1 [1]
TD passes – 18 [5]
Most TD passes, game – 4 vs. Kansas City 11/24
Interceptions – 10 [20, tied with Dan Pastorini, Mike Livingston & Jerry Tagge]
Most interceptions, game – 2 at San Francisco 9/29, at Oakland 10/20, at Houston 11/17
Passer rating – 95.7 [1]
300-yard passing games – 1
200-yard passing games – 6

Attempts – 43
Most attempts, game – 7 (for 70 yds.) vs. Washington 10/6
Yards – 314
Most yards, game – 70 yards (on 7 carries) vs. Washington 10/6
Average gain – 7.3
TDs – 2

TDs – 2
Points – 12

Awards & Honors:
2nd team All-NFL: NEA
2nd team All-AFC: UPI

Bengals went 7-7 to finish third in the AFC Central while leading the conference in passing yards (2511).

Anderson again led the NFL in passing (93.9 rating), passing yards (3169), and yards per attempt (8.4) in 1975 and was selected to the Pro Bowl in ‘75 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 starting job during the 1980 season. He came back with a MVP performance in 1981 in which he led the NFL with a career-high 98.4 passer rating and Cincinnati won the AFC Championship. 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. Overall, he passed for 32,838 yards and 197 TDs, averaging 7.3 yards per attempt. He also rushed for 2220 yards and 20 touchdowns. Anderson was a consensus first-team All-NFL selection once, received second-team honors twice more, and was chosen to the Pro Bowl four times.


Highlighted Years features players who were consensus first-team All-League* selections or league* or conference** leaders in the following statistical categories:

Rushing: Yards, TDs (min. 10)
Passing: Yards, Completion Pct., Yards per Attempt, TDs, Rating
Receiving: Catches, Yards, TDs (min. 10)
Scoring: TDs, Points, Field Goals (min. 5)
All-Purpose: Total Yards
Defense: Interceptions, Sacks
Kickoff Returns: Average
Punt Returns: Average
Punting: Average

*Leagues include NFL (1920 to date), AFL (1926), AFL (1936-37), AAFC (1946-49), AFL (1960-69), WFL (1974-75), USFL (1983-85)

**NFC/AFC since 1970