Two Beloved Cincinnati Bengals Players Might Finally Make It into the Pro Football Hall of Fame

Can fan-favorite Bengals Ken Riley and Ken Anderson make it to the next round of voting?

click to enlarge Cincinnati Bengals legendary cornerback Ken Riley - Photo: Twitter/@bengals
Photo: Twitter/@bengals
Cincinnati Bengals legendary cornerback Ken Riley

Two former Cincinnati Bengals Players are one step closer to being enshrined into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton.

On July 27, the Pro Football Hall of Fame announced the 2023 class finalists for its seniors category, and fan-favorite Bengals Ken Riley and Ken Anderson are on the list. The selection committee whittled down the 12 candidates from 25 semi-finalists, and in August, the committee will push three forward for consideration in final voting.

Cornerback Ken Riley spent his entire career with the Bengals. He’s considered one of the Bengals’ all-time best players, with 65 interceptions — fifth-most in NFL history. Nicknamed “The Rattler,” Riley played 207 games and spent 15 seasons with the Bengals, both in the AFL and the NFL. With Riley, the team went to the playoffs five times and had its first Super Bowl run in 1982. Riley later became head coach and athletic director at Florida A&M, the alma mater where he had been a starting quarterback, had been selected for a Rhodes Scholar Candidacy and later would coach his son, Ken Riley II.

As CityBeat previously reported , Riley was excluded from the NFL’s “In Memoriam” segment during the Super Bowl in 2021, just months after he had passed away. The snub incensed fans and increased the calls for his enshrinement in the Pro Football Hall of Fame even more.
Quarterback Anderson played for the Bengals for his entire 16-season career. Along with Riley, he led the team to its first Super Bowl in 1982 and was crowned the Most Valuable Player and Offensive Player of the Year. He's one of just five players to have earned four passing titles

Anderson remained connected with the Bengals even after his playing days were over, serving as a quarterback coach and radio broadcaster. His lack of selection to the Hall of Fame thus far is widely considered an egregious snub among sports experts.
Both Riley and Anderson were inducted into the Bengals' own inaugural Ring of Honor class in 2021.

The Pro Football Hall of Fame's senior selection committee is scheduled to convene Aug. 16 to narrow down the final candidate list of three, and any or all of those three could be voted into the Hall. To be eligible for consideration, "Each Senior Finalist played his last game in professional football no later than the 1996 season," the Hall says.

The Bengals' 2022-2023 regular-season kicks off against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sept. 11 at Paul Brown Stadium.

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