Ken Anderson was glad to be back at Ericson Field on Saturday.
Now that he’s retired from coaching in the NFL, the legendary Vikings quarterback looks forward to more frequent trips to his alma mater in the years to come.
Anderson had his No. 14 Augustana jersey retired during a ceremony at halftime of Saturday’s 17-14 loss to Adrian, becoming the first Vikings football player to receive the honor.
Anderson, who went on to star with the NFL’s Cincinnati Bengals for 16 seasons after graduating from Augustana in 1970, stood at midfield with athletic director Mike Zapolski as he presented the star QB with a framed No. 14 jersey.
“This is a special day for me,” Anderson said. “It’s nice now that I’m retired and I’ve got time to come back more often than when I was playing and coaching.”
Anderson, who is enjoying retired life living in Hilton Head, S.C., said he made it back to the Quad-Cities three times last year, and he hopes to do the same in the future.
It’s possible that Anderson one day could return to the Q-C as a Hall of Famer.
Now that he’s been retired from the NFL for 25 years, Anderson is eligible to enter the Pro Football Hall of Fame through the Seniors Committee.
Multiple online reports, including from SI.com’s Peter King, have trumpeted Anderson, who was a finalist in 1996 and 1998, as a legitimate candidate for induction. And then there’s Bengals fan David Kubicki, who has gained media attention by starting a campaign to get Anderson in the Hall.
Anderson’s numbers certainly stack up. He led the NFL in passing yardage twice, completion percentage three times and passing efficiency four times, a number topped only by the San Francisco 49ers’ Steve Young. Anderson, the 1981 NFL MVP, finished with 32,838 yards passing for his career and led the Bengals to Super Bowl XVI, where they lost 26-21 to Joe Montana and the 49ers.
“I appreciate the people that did a lot of work putting my story out, if you will,” Anderson said. “But it’s all up to the voters. I don’t know what the criteria for the Hall of Fame is. The bottom line is, whether it’s my college career or my pro career, I’m pretty happy with it and I’m satisfied with that.”