Does Willie Anderson’s Hall of Fame Voting Bode Well for His Entrance in 2025?

Football historian John Turney presents anecdotal and statistical arguments for ex-Bengals tackle Willie Anderson making the Hall of Fame in 2025.

CINCINNATICincinnati Bengals Ring of Honor member Willie Anderson fell short once again of receiving enough votes to be enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, but there is optimism that 2025 will be his year.

Anderson was a finalist for the third consecutive season, but he did not make the cut to join Dwight Freeney, Devin Hester, Andre Johnson, Julius Peppers, Patrick Willis, and senior committee selections Randy Gradishar and Steve McMichael as a member of the HOF Class of 2024.

Next Step for Bengals’ Willie Anderson Is 2025 Hall of Fame Enshrinement

But while Anderson fell short of the ultimate goal, he crossed an important threshold.

Anderson finished in the top 10 of voting for the first time, and as football historian John Turney writes in an article stating Anderson’s case at talkoffame.com, those who crack the top 10 often are voted in the following year.

In fact, Johnson followed that template this year.

Many Bengals fans and others who watched the bulk of Anderson’s career were upset with his exclusion yet again. But Anderson took to social media and asked his supporters not to create post after post about him being snubbed.

Anderson focused on thanking everyone for their support while praising the men who were inducted.

Turney said he couldn’t predict whether Anderson will finally slip on a gold jacket in 2025, but he laid out all the reasons why he thinks he belongs.

Turney began by pointing out how Hall of Famer Michael Strahan has called Anderson “the greatest right tackle of his generation.” Then he explains why Strahan is correct by looking at those who played during the decades of the 1990s and 2000s when Anderson played.

“In that time, Anderson was one of only six right tackles to make first-team AP All-Pro, and he’s the only one who made it three times. That’s more first-team AP All-Pro seasons than Art Shell, Jackie Slater, and Jimbo Covert and the same number as Tony Boselli, Dan Dierdorf, Orlando Pace, Rayfield Wright, and Gary Zimmerman. All are Hall of Famers, which makes it elite company.”

Some of Turney’s other arguments are familiar to Bengals fans, such as the fact that Anderson blocked for two record-breaking performances — Corey Dillon’s 246-yarder that broke Jim Brown’s rookie record in 1997, and Dillon’s 278-yard game in 2000 that broke Walter Payton’s record.

Then there was the work Pro Football Focus did at the request of former Bengals offensive line coach Paul Alexander. PFF records only go back to 2006, which was just a few seasons before Anderson retired.

However, Alexander commissioned PFF to go back and grade every game of Anderson’s career to give him some statistical ammunition in the room full of Hall of Fame voters who don’t have much in the way of stats to evaluate offensive linemen.

“Anderson became one of the best tackles in the NFL, and one who produced a career that could — no, should — put him in Canton,” Turney said.

“With Anderson moving into the top 10 of the Class of 2024, he’s on the ‘ready list.’ Now it’s time for him to make one more move … and next year could be it.”

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