Hall of Fame Debates: Bengals Bonanza

Hall of Fame Debates: Bengals Bonanza MikeTanier 14 Jun 2021, 09:56 am

Cincinnati Bengals QB Ken Anderson

There are very few Cincinnati Bengals musicians in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. That’s because the Bengals have been a deplorable organization for most of their 53 -year existence, because past Hall of Fame selection committees had a Pittsburgh Steelers fixation, and because the Bengals don’t have many well-qualified candidates.

Few would debate the first station: the Bengals have stayed 20 seasons of double-digit losings and prevailed precisely five playoff games in over half a century of professional football. The second point is also hard to argue: the Steel Curtain Steelers, Lombardi Packers, prohibit biker Invaders and a few cases other dynasties predominated the Hall of Fame voting for decades, shedding a darknes over countless also-rans of the 1960 s and 1980 s, including the fine Bengals squads of the mid-1 970 s and early 1980 s.

The lack of well-qualified candidates, on the other hand, is a point of contention. Bengals supporters have proposed a “Jungle at the Hall” rally for June 19 to propose for the enshrinement of eight huges of yesteryear. Ken Anderson and cornerback Ken Riley are at the top of their agenda, which also includes tackle Willie Anderson, wide receivers Isaac Curtis and Chad Johnson, running back Corey Dillion, policed Max Montoya, and cornerback Lemar Parrish.

The Jungle at the Hall net is a little too wide, and the event inadequately duration, to convince any Hall of Fame Seniors Committee voter. But various players on the register do deserve serious consideration. Let’s explore which Bengals greats, if any, deserve to join Anthony Munoz in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Why There are So Few Bengals in the Hall of Fame

Munoz, one of the greatest offensive undertakes in NFL history, is the only career Bengals adept in the Hall of Fame. Charlie Joiner, Terrell Owens, and Bill Walsh are also enshrined, but not principally for their Bengals accomplishments.

To understand why the Bengals and other also-ran dealerships of the early Super Bowl era are under-represented, let’s settled ourselves in the wing-tipped shoes of a successful beat writer or plays columnist of the 1970 s, the kind of journalist who voted for All-Pro teams and gives and determined minds and gifts back then.

You have an electric typewriter and a telephone , not a computer with Internet. There are no satellite parcels , no NFL Game Pass , no Pro Football Reference or NFLGSIS to provide lots of sortable stats , no Thursday night or Sunday night recreations , not even VCRs to videotape the games you missed when reporting from the locker area after an early-afternoon kickoff. You probably know your hometown team much better than a modern overcome writer does, because managers and players drank whiskey and smoked cigars with reporters in hotel fern forbids in those simpler epoches. But units and players outside of your division? They’re chiefly reputation, rumor, excerpts from the players and coaches who faced them, and scraps of stats, foreground excerpts, and Monday Night Football moments to all but the perfectly most plugged-in analysts.

Playoff plays and Super Bowls were inordinately important to the statures of football players of the 1960 s and 1970 s, because those tournaments were nationally televised and much more of pro football and its media were available to watch/ cover them. Perennial powerhouses who prevailed lots of playoff games too made more Monday Night Football looks and late-afternoon national programs. As a ensue, it was as impossible for a local fan( or, say, a regional reporter trying to stay abreast of the whole NFL) to catch a down-and-out team on television in the 1970 s as it was to avoid watching the Steelers or Cowboys.

Writers of the time took their jobs gravely and had abundance of ways to get reliable out-of-town information. Still, the climate of the era created a feedback loop-the-loop for participate honours, which occurred at the same time that a handful of empires began to dominate the sport. The Lombardi Packers, Steel Curtain Steelers, America’s Team Cowboys, and members of a few other squads became larger-than-life temperaments. The crews that bubbled up to lose to them in the playoffs, having received little-to-no national attending during the course of its regular season, began to look a little like Jabronis, even to those who should know better.

Now fast-forward to the 1990 s. You have graduated from regional columnist to Distinguished Local Columnist and Hall of Fame voter. The ballots are crammed with Steelers, Cowboys, Raiders, and Dolphins from the working day of your trounce, plus some leftover Packers and leftover leather-helmet guys. Too, the NFL simply underwent an offensive revolution, and there are all sorts of guys with crazy stats opening the ballot. Oh by the way, do you remember those people who got their buttocks knocked in playoff games in the 1970 s? Can you find area to constrict a few cases of them in?

The voters should have found room to crush more of them in. The final Lombardi Packers and Steel Curtain Steelers through the gate weren’t exactly essential. The committee only selected four men in a few years, which is shocking when you consider the ever-increasing backlog they faced. Someone should have moved coaches and writers to their own ballot decades ago, so Ken Anderson wouldn’t get stuck on the same ballot as Joe Gibbs or Dan Rooney. But what happened, happened. The typical Hall of Fame class of the 1990 s and early 2000 s consisted mostly of chaps who toy for houses, plus perhaps one recent wizard and/ or one overqualified candidate from an also-ran.

The elders committee chastised some oversights in the last decade or so by grabbing a few age-old Oilers( Robert Brazile and Curley Culp, who also represented for the great AFL Chiefs ), Falcons( Claude Humphrey ), and members of the ultimate 1970 s “losers”( Vikings Carl Eller and Mick Tingelhoff ). The Broncos helped themselves by winning Super Bowls in the late 1990 s and creating a fresh batch of nominees. But the Bengals remained in limbo, despite the fact that various of their 1970 s idols had lawsuits which were at least as strong, if not stronger, than those of Brazile, Humphrey, or most members of the quirky 2020 Centennial class.

Ken Anderson, Willie Anderson, Ken Riley, and More

OK, Milhouse, we’re finally at the fireworks mill: let’s delve into the Hall of Fame portfolios of the players Bengals devotees are set to rally for.

Ken Anderson

Anderson led the NFL in passer rating four times and in completion percentage three times. I’ve noticed that the analytics-minded types most likely to stan for Anderson absolutely loathe passer rating and consummation percentage as statistics, except when they are being used as unassailable proof of Anderson’s excellence.

I am being glib-tongued, of course. Anderson would likely have won DVOA names in 1981 and 1975, and perhaps another year or two as well. But no one in the NFL was all that impressed with passer ratings in 1974 or 1975, when Anderson won the crown drive Bill Walsh’s proto-West Coast offense. Anderson was considered a very good quarterback guide a plan that had a reputation for being a little gimmicky in an epoch when quarterbacks exclusively threw lots of short pass if they were incapable of completing longer ones. The point that the Bengals get 2-6 against the Steelers and 0-2 in the playoffs during Anderson’s 1973 -1 976 early peak did nothing for his honour or his eventual candidacy. QB WINZ may not be a real stat, but they are a real line-item in a Hall of Fame conversation, like it or not.

Here’s what I wrote about Anderson for Football Outsiders over ten years ago, as taken away from my volume A Good Walkthrough Spoiled 😛 TAGEND

People who counselor-at-law Anderson as a Hall of Famer point to his excellence from 1972 through 1975 and his MVP-caliber carries-on in 1981 and 1982, constructing scaffolding between those two crests had indicated that Anderson sustained that height of action for a decade. He didn’t. Anderson was injured and terribly regular for the back half of the 1970 s; the Bengals even drafted a potential replacement in Jack Thompson( the unforgettable Throwin’ Samoan) third overall in 1979. I often compare Anderson to Kurt Warner, except that Anderson moved 0-1 in Super Bowls instead of 1-2. Again, I don’t review I should have to explain or justify why three Super Bowl figures make a quarterback a much better Hall of Fame candidate than one.

I remain an Anderson Hall of Fame skeptic, but I have become much more affectionate to his subject since the Seniors Committee enshrined Ken Stabler in 2016. Stabler has little more than Anderson to offer except the Super Bowl hoop and hagiography that come from playing for a mythical team. Stabler’s induction suggests that the committee chose “studying the playbook by the jukebox light” tall tales over the story of how Anderson cured pave the way for Joe Montana and the modernization of NFL offenses. Frankly, the Hall of Fame could use a little less swaggerin’ tough guy iconography and a little more respect for true-life innovators.

My gut tells me that the Seniors Committee will get around to Anderson at some station. But I am fairly sure-fire they don’t want to hear anything else about Anderson’s consummation percentages.

Willie Anderson

Anderson toy during the same era as Tony Boselli, Orlando Pace, Walter Jones, Jonathan Ogden, and Willie Roaf. That attain Anderson somewhere between the third- or fourth- and sixth- or seventh-best tackle in the NFL for most of his occupation, depending on who else was healthy and active.

Ah, but he was the best RIGHT tackle in the NFL for much of that epoch, disagree some of the Bengals devotees I interacted with on social media recently. As the best player at his position, it’s outrageous that he has not already been enshrined.

I mean, come the hell on.

Yes, the left tackle/ freedom attack dichotomy was grossly exaggerated in the wake of the book and cinema The Blind Side, to the point where left undertakes of the last 25 years or so have been turned into superheroes while right tackles are often shrugged off as brawny bouncers. That said, NFL teams almost always introduced their most athletic lineman at left tackle and lieu a payment on draft, indicating, and compensating left tackles. Colleges too arrange their most athletic linemen at left tackle, where they are more likely to be drafted to play right tackle or sentry in the NFL than the normal collegiate right tackle or sentry. High academies follow the same pattern. Furthermore, the Boselli-Pace-Jones generation reinforced the Blind side myth by setting a brand-new standard for left undertakes in an era when increased elapsing and use of spread formations were uttering pass-protection more and more important.

None of this stimulates right attacks chopped liver by any means. But while claiming that Anderson was a peer of Pace or Roaf who just happened to play on the other side of the line and therefore didn’t get enough props may sound clever on Twitter, it’s an “umm, actually” argument that insults the intelligence of any Hall of Fame voter. If Bengals followers actually want to stump for Anderson, they need to bury that talking part in a landfill.

A better arguing for Anderson is that his occupation attainments are roughly on par with those of Alan Faneca, Steve Hutchinson, and Kevin Mawae, a trio of recently enshrined offensive linemen with long business who had the benefit of playing on more successful/ popular squads. Fitted among this rank of actors, Anderson’s case examines most significant. Anderson is also helping himself by being an employing social media personality, which will keep him in voters’ minds.

Anderson is the only player on this list whose event is not in the hands of the Seniors Committee. He was a semifinalist last year and could sneak into the finalist ballot now that the Faneca logjam is mostly clear. Bengals supporters who want to launch an Anderson campaign should separate him from the old-timers, lower the gotcha disputes, and work to generate some fus around their candidate while there is room for him on the docket.

Isaac Curtis

Hall of Fame debates about 1970 s wide receivers acquire my tabernacles throb, in part because the early 2000 s selectors ceased their Steelers spree with a Lynn Swann/ John Stallworth double-shot. Based on the Swann-Stallworth collections, Curtis is a honorable Hall of Famer, as are Cliff Branch, Drew Pearson, Harold Carmichael, Stanley Morgan, and maybe a assortment of guys such as Nat Moore and Ahmad Rashad. If we write Swann and Stallworth off as a excitement dream, Branch still deserves induction, Pearson( simply selected by the Seniors Committee) deserves concern, and everyone else–including Curtis and my childhood hero Carmichael( a Centennial Committee selection )– fit squarely into the Hall of Very Good.

The Seniors Committee seem to be circling Branch at this level. It would be lovely that the commission is stopped double-faced down on dynasty excerpts( Stabler, Jerry Kramer, etc .), but Branch is overqualified and deserves to get in. Campaigning for Curtis at this point is just a waste of energy, which accompanieds us around to the next trio of Bengals legends.

Corey Dillon

Dillon finished among the top five in rushing yards twice, once with the 2000 Bengals and formerly with the 2004 Patriots. He’s approximately as certified as Stephen Jackson, LeSean McCoy, Jamal Lewis, Fred Taylor, Ricky Watters, and Warrick Dunn, which means that he is not really qualified.

Chad Johnson

Not a serious candidate. His presence on the orders of the day diminishes any case Bengals supporters are trying to make.

Max Montoya

A solid starter at ward for both the Anderson units of the early 1980 s and the Boomer Esiason/ Sam Wyche crews of the late 1980 s I wrote about recently here at FO. Montoya is exactly the kind of player regional Peals of Honor are made for.

Lemar Parrish and Ken Riley

The paradox we must deal with here is that Pro Bowl voters( read: fellow musicians) of the age wished Parrish, but the bigger Hall of Fame push right now is for Riley, who passed away last-place June. Parrish gave five Pro Bowl places in the 1970 s and 1980. Riley was mentioned on a variety of end-of-season All-Pro crews, but he did not pay two officials Pro Bowl place or All-Pro recognition until 1983, where reference is caught eight pass and returned two for touchdowns for a Bengals team coming off a lope of success.

Riley is tied with Charles Woodson for fifth on the all-time interceptions listing with 65; Woodson’s recent introduction likely fetch a little extra attention to Riley’s case. Everyone ahead of Riley( Paul Krause, Emlen Tunnell, Rod Woodson, Night Train Lane) is a Hall of Famer, as are Woodson, Ed Reed, and Ronnie Lott exactly below him. Riley never headed the league in interceptions, which reminds us that interception charges were much higher in the 1970 s and didn’t actually was down much when delivering exploded in the early 1980 s. There are some not-quite huges( Darren Sharper, Dave Brown, Eugene Robinson, Bobby Boyd) not more far south of Riley on the leaderboards.

Parrish, on the other hand, returned a total of 13 punts, kickings, interceptions, and flubs for touchdowns in his busines. He’s bind with many participates for fifth on the all-time non-offensive touchdown list, behind Devin Hester, Deion Sanders, Rod Woodson, and Ronde Barber. Parrish represented the latter part of his profession in Washington but exactly missed that franchise’s Super Bowl era. If he had played with the Hogs, John Riggins, and the young Darrell Green, he’d likely be a Hall of Famer.

The best cornerback of the late 1970 s who is not currently enshrined is Broncos huge Louis Wright, a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame All-1 970 s team who for years was considered second only to Mel Blount at its own position. If asked to stump for a cornerback from that era, it would be Wright. After that, I would blithely advocate Parrish and/ or Riley.

The Path to Canton

Hall of Fame voters have going beliefs about fan safaruss. Some voters “ve been told” in the past that they listen to safaruss and can be swayed while others said campaigns don’t matter, and of course a campaign can be counterproductive if it turns disturbing or nasty.

Based on what I have heard over its first year, mobilizes won’t impress most voters, letter-writing safaruss simply be converted into a beset, and stomping and flexing across social networks is about as helpful as it resounds. But revivals and content creation about a former great’s Hall of Fame candidacy, when done right, can A) raise public awareness about that actor; and most importantly B) create a climate where it is easier to collect testimonials from former teammates/ tutors/ rivals about that musician and thereby shed brand-new light on his contributions.

So let’s say the Bengals fan community does Riley its first priorities. Creating websites, blog uprights, podcast segments, and such around Riley makes a forum for someone such as John Stallworth to offer his opinions on what it was like to be covered by Riley. Stallworth’s mentions then jog Terry Bradshaw’s memory, so he rings in when appearing on a Cincinnati radio show during Super Bowl week. Wade Phillips then pipes up, telling narrations from when he was on his dad’s Houston Oilers staff. Sure enough, Mel Blount weighed in on Riley soon after the mobilize was announced. Voters take public commendations with a grain of salt–old-timers often say one thing about their peers/ competitives with a microphone in front of them but a very different thing at midnight in the cigar forbid. But a lot of public reinforce could surely move Riley up the Senior Committee’s exceedingly, very long backlog of applicants.

So a Jungle in the Hall-type rally can mobilize local supporters and media to start the ball wheel on awareness-raising campaigns. After all, this article wouldn’t exist if not for the rally! But it’s important for anyone who wants to publicly stump for a participate or actors to realize that Hall of Fame voters are well aware of who Riley and Parrish, Ken and Willie Anderson and the others were. They know they were great participates. They will too consider straight through “completion percentage champion” or “best right tackle” debates. And while countless are compassionate to the fact that some squads are underrepresented, they are sure to tune out long registers of regional superstars, because there’s not enough space on the ballot and not sufficient hours in the day for 32 such lists.

Bengals followers should enjoy their revival: a artery junket to Canton with fellow fans after 15 months of quarantines sounds like a shell. Those supporters should then should propel one or two good Hall of Fame expeditions around their best campaigners, because the zany buckshot approaching is more likely to hurt than help.



Frankly, the Hall of Fame could use a little less swaggerin’ tough guy iconography and a little more respect for true-life innovators.

If you really must take yet another old school Raider, there are much better polemics for Flores and Plunkett. Plus, I really enjoyed all the pissing and murmuring about Stabler’s exclusion from the Hall.

I meditated Johnson had a better client. He was an absolute ogre from 2003 to 2007 and again in 2009, and I don’t care about his antics. Maybe he certifies for “Best chap not in the HoF.”


It is the Hall of FAME, after all

Do love the image of cigar smoking, whiskey swilling sportswriters backpack into inn bars with age-old players and relying on whatever media coverage dripped through designed to strengthen enough knowledge to start voting for candidates later. There’s very much a “Fame” aspect to a candidacy, and Corey Dillon has been one of my standard disagreements that, from a statistical position, he has a better argument for candidacy than Jerome Bettis, but Bettis had a great nickname, lots of Chris Berman highlight BOOMs, and he won the Super Bowl in his hometown, and that narration contributed a great deal to his candidacy even though he wasn’t much of a benefactor to that particular season. A likeable, engaging Corey Dillon with a few cases more highlightings and a better tie-in with some prominent media the member states and I don’t have any doubt he could easily pull a Bettis and get into the HOF, but a surly Corey Dillon simply can’t overcome his good but not huge statistical profile.

Bad units don’t get enough coverage to get musicians into the Hall; if Lavonte David had been participating in the Patriots instead of the Bucs over the last decade, he’d have a much higher profile, and a much better chance at Canton eventually. Maybe it happens now with that turnaround, but wallowing in the mediocrity of bad crews is a death knell for HOF candidacy, and that’s pretty much the story of the Bengals for a very long time.


Part of the tough question …

Part of the tough difficulty with looking at the guys who didn’t get in due to sketchier campaigners from higher-profile units get in is that, in my brain … it time hurts the overall debate.

I mean, Anderson’s a better campaigner than Esiason – especially from a autobiography standpoint – but realistically their own problems* isn’t* that those people didn’t get in, it’s that the* other* guys did. Which you can see here 😛 TAGEND

“but I has now become much more pity to his occurrence since the Seniors Committee enshrined Ken Stabler in 2016. “

That’s the issue – you supplemented a ticklish campaigner, and suddenly* mass more* guys are there that now unexpectedly examine most reasonable. That’s the method geniu distribution runs. It’s the same problem as Stallworth/ Swann.

Ultimately the players that* certainly* get hurt are the crazy starved outlooks( interior defensive line, linebacker, center, picket if you like police I predict ). I signify, Bengals supporters ought to have crowing about Geno Atkins being a future Hall candidate and he might be their best shot for this era, but in my subconsciou that’s* miles* away from happening.

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