Editor’s note: As part of NFL’s Greatest Quarterback, fans will decide the best QB in each team’s history.
Ken Anderson: Anderson is known as one of the most precise quarterbacks of the 1970s and 1980s, leading the league in completion percentage in 1974, 1982 and 1983. He was a four-time Pro Bowler for Cincinnati and achieved NFL MVP honors in 1981 when he had 3,754 yards, 29 touchdowns, 10 interceptions and led his team to a 12-4 record.
That same year, Anderson led the Bengals to Super Bowl XVI, where they lost to the 49ers 26-21. Anderson led the league four times in quarterback rating.
Boomer Esiason: Esiason was drafted in the second round of the 1984 NFL draft set to replace Ken Anderson. He took over as the Bengals’ full time starter in 1985, leading the Bengals to a 7-7 record.
Esiason was the NFL MVP in 1988 and lead the Bengals to Super Bowl XXIII the same season, losing to the Joe Montana-led 49ers 20-16. Esiason was a four-time Pro Bowler and is 16th all time in passing yards and touchdowns. Esiason was mobile for his 6-foot-5, 224-pound frame, rushing for 1,598 yards in his 14-year career.
Jeff Blake: Blake was drafted in 1992 with the No. 166 overall pick in the sixth round of the NFL draft by the Jets. He replaced David Klinger midway through the 1994 season after the Bengals started 0-7.
Blake led the team to a 3-6 record to finish the season and would remain the starter until 1999, when the team drafted Akili Smith No. 3 overall. Blake was a Pro Bowler during his second season as a starter in 1995, when he threw for 3,822 yards, 28 touchdowns and 17 interceptions. Blake was one of the best scrambling quarterbacks during his time, running for 2,027 yards in his career with 14 touchdowns.
Carson Palmer: It’s hard to believe now, but back in the early years of Palmer’s career, he was considered just one step below Tom Brady and Peyton Manning among the best quarterbacks in the NFL. His best season came in his second year as a starter in 2005, when he threw for 3,836 yards, while leading the league in completion percentage, 67.8, and touchdowns, 32.
Palmer was the No. 1 overall pick in 2003 out of USC after winning the Heisman Trophy the season before. Palmer’s career took a turn after tearing his ACL and MCL in his left knee during a playoff game against the Steelers. Palmer has not regained his 2005 form since.