Morten Andersen

Last updated

Morten Andersen
Morten Andersen at NFL Fan Rally.jpg
Andersen in 2010
No. 7, 5, 8
Position: Placekicker
Personal information
Born: (1960-08-19) 19 August 1960 (age 62)
Copenhagen, Denmark
Height:6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)
Weight:225 lb (102 kg)
Career information
High school: Indianapolis (IN) Ben Davis
College: Michigan State
NFL Draft: 1982  / Round: 4 / Pick: 86
Career history
Career highlights and awards
NFL records
  • Most games played: 382
  • Most consecutive games scoring: 360 (1983–2004, 2006–2007)
  • Most 50+ yard field goals in a game: 3 (tied)
Career NFL statistics
Games played:382
Field goals:565/709 (.797)
Extra points:849/859 (.988)
Points scored:2,544
Player stats at NFL.com  ·  PFR

Morten Andersen (born 19 August 1960), nicknamed the "Great Dane", [1] is a Danish former American football placekicker who played in the National Football League (NFL) for 25 seasons, most notably with the New Orleans Saints and Atlanta Falcons. Following a career from 1982 to 2007, Andersen holds the NFL record for regular season games played at 382. He also ranks second in field goals (565) and points scored (2,544). In addition to his league accomplishments, he is the Saints' all-time leading scorer at 1,318 points. Andersen was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2017 and, along with Jan Stenerud, is only one of two exclusive placekickers to receive the honor. [2] [3]

Contents

Early life

Andersen was born in Copenhagen and raised in the west Jutland town of Struer. [4] As a student, he was a gymnast and a long jumper, and just missed becoming a member of the Danish junior national soccer team. He visited the United States in 1977 as a Youth For Understanding exchange student. [5] He first kicked an American football on a whim at Ben Davis High School in Indianapolis. He was so impressive in his one season of high school football that he was given a scholarship to Michigan State University.

Andersen, with his left leg as his dominant kicking leg, starred at Michigan State, setting several records, including a Big Ten Conference record 63-yard field goal against Ohio State University. He was named an All-American in 1981. His success landed him the kicking job with the New Orleans Saints. On 24 September 2011, he was inducted into the Michigan State University Athletics Hall of Fame.

Professional football career

Andersen's NFL career got off to a rocky start. On his first NFL kickoff to start the strike-shortened 1982 season, Andersen twisted his ankle and missed eight weeks of the season. [6] Despite the early setback, he soon emerged as one of the strongest and most reliable placekickers in the NFL. In his years with the Saints, he was named to six Pro Bowls, kicked 302 field goals, and scored 1318 points. In 1991, against Chicago, Andersen kicked a 60-yard field goal, tying him with Steve Cox for the second-longest field goal in league history at the time, behind 63-yard record-holder kicked by Tom Dempsey. Andersen's kick has since been matched by Rob Bironas, Dan Carpenter and Greg Zuerlein, and surpassed by Sebastian Janikowski (twice), Jason Elam, Justin Tucker, Jay Feely, Matt Bryant, David Akers, Matt Prater, Jake Elliott, Graham Gano, Brett Maher and Stephen Gostkowski. Andersen's proficiency with field goal kicking earned him the nickname "Mr. Automatic." Following the 1994 season, he was released by the Saints for salary cap purposes and because his accuracy had started to decline.

Following his release by the Saints, Andersen signed with the Atlanta Falcons. He silenced those who felt him to be washed up and was once again named a Pro Bowler during his time in Atlanta. In December 1995 against the Saints, he became the first player in NFL history to kick three field goals of over 50 yards in a single game.

In Week 17 of the 1996 season, Andersen missed a 30-yard field goal that enabled the Jacksonville Jaguars to make the playoffs. [7] Two years later, he kicked a game-winning field goal in overtime in the 1998 NFC Championship Game to beat the Minnesota Vikings and send the Falcons to their first-ever Super Bowl appearance.

There are a number of interesting coincidences between Andersen and former NFL placekicker Gary Anderson. Anderson and Andersen have nearly identical last names, were born within a year of one another outside the United States (Anderson was born in South Africa), came to the United States as teenagers, had long and successful NFL careers throughout the 1980s and 1990s, and hold first or second place in a number of NFL records for scoring, field goals, and longevity. Their overall accuracy is also nearly identical; their career percentage being within .5% of each other on both FGs and PATs. Also, Anderson missed a field goal in the 1998 NFC Championship Game for the Minnesota Vikings before Andersen kicked his winning kick, both from the same distance as well (38 yards).

Andersen went on to play with the New York Giants for the 2001 season, followed by the Kansas City Chiefs the following two seasons. In the 2004 offseason, Andersen was beaten out for the kicking job by rookie Lawrence Tynes. He was released by the Chiefs for the final roster cut, and was subsequently signed by the Vikings. Although his leg strength had declined greatly with age, he continued to prove himself accurate for field goals. Having not been signed by a team following the 2004 season, he became a free agent and did not play in 2005. He announced NFL Europe games in the 2005 season.

In January 2006, Andersen was inducted as the first member of the Danish American Football Federation Hall of Fame. Later that year, Andersen returned to the NFL, re-signing with the Atlanta Falcons; Andersen was brought in to help Michael Koenen, who was at the time performing double duty as punter and kicker (an extremely rare occurrence in the NFL) missing several field goals in that capacity, and Koenen reverted to strictly punting after Andersen's signing. His first game back was against his former team, the Saints, on Monday Night Football. The game was the first game in the Louisiana Superdome since Hurricane Katrina prevented its use for the entire 2005 regular season. Andersen scored the only Falcon points with a 26-yard field goal in the first quarter. In his second game back, Andersen made 5 of 5 field goals (matching his career-best for the ninth time), as well as both extra-point attempts. [8] He was named NFC special teams player of the week, becoming the oldest player to earn the honor since the award was first introduced in 1984. [9] He is the team record holder in points for the New Orleans Saints. [10]

On 16 December 2006, Andersen passed Gary Anderson to become the all-time leading scorer in NFL history. The following weekend, 24 December 2006, Andersen again passed Anderson to become the NFL's career leader in field goals made.

On 17 September 2007, he again signed with the Falcons in an attempt to secure their unreliable kicking game. By the end of the regular season, he had made 25 of 28 field goals (89.3%), the most accurate season of his career.

In the 2008 season, Andersen did not receive a contract offer from any team, but waited until 8 December to officially retire. [11] [12] Had he played on or after 6 December he would have been the oldest NFL player to play, breaking George Blanda's record. [13] [14]

On 6 November 2009, Andersen was inducted into the New Orleans Saints Hall of Fame. [15] On 25 June 2011, Andersen was inducted into the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame. [16] On 10 August 2013, Andersen was inducted into the Greater New Orleans Sports Hall of Fame. [17] On 21 December 2015, he was inducted as the fourth member of the team's Ring of Honor. [18] [19] On 4 February 2017, it was announced that Andersen would be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. [20]

On 10 September 2020, he launched a new Sports Gambling Podcast with the VegasInsider Podcast Network titled "Great Dane Nation" with co-host Tom "Freeze Pops" Carroll. [21]

Career regular season statistics

Career high/best bolded

Regular season statistics
SeasonTeam (record)GFGMFGA%<2020-2930-3940-4950+LNGBLKXPMXPA%PTS
1982 NO (4–5)82540.00–00–01–11–30–145066100.012
1983 NO (8–8)16182475.02–28–83–42–63–4521373897.491
1984 NO (7–9)16202774.10–09–94–45–112–35313434100.094
1985 NO (5–11)16313588.60–04–513–1411–123–4551272993.1108
1986 NO (7–9)16263086.71–111–116–76–62–55303030100.0120
1987 NO (12–3)12283677.83–36–69–98–122–65203737100.0121
1988 NO (10–6)16263672.21–111–128–115–81–4511323397.0110
1989 NO (9–7)16202969.00–07–810–113–60–4491444597.8104
1990 NO (8–8)16212777.80–05–55–68–123–45212929100.092
1991 NO (11–5)16253278.10–06–611–136–92–46003838100.0113
1992 NO (12–4)16293485.30–010–108–108–113–3520333497.1120
1993 NO (8–8)16283580.02–27–77–711–141–55603333100.0117
1994 NO (7–9)16283971.80–09–911–148–100–64833232100.0116
1995 ATL (9–7)16313783.81–18–811–113–88–9592293096.7122
1996 ATL (3–13)16222975.90–05–59–117–81–55413131100.097
1997 ATL (7–9)16232785.21–110–107–73–62–35503535100.0104
1998 ATL (14–2)16232882.10–18–97–76–92–2532515298.1120
1999 ATL (5–11)16152171.41–15–55–84–60–14913434100.079
2000 ATL (4–12)16253180.60–06–66–711–152–35102323100.098
2001 NYG (7–9)16232882.10–08–87–86–72–5510293096.798
2002 KC (8–8)14222684.80–06–610–105–91–15005151100.0117
2003 KC (13–3)16162080.00–03–38–85–80–1491585998.3106
2004 MIN (8–8)16182281.81–18–85–74–60–04804545100.099
2006 ATL (7–9)14202387.00–07–86–67–80–14512727100.087
2007 ATL (4–12)14252889.30–09–912–124–70–04712424100.099
Career (25 seasons)38256570979.713–14176–181189–213147–21740–84601884985998.82544

NFL records

At the end of his career Andersen held the following NFL records (as of 2009):

Team Scoring Records:

Pro Bowl records:

Andersen holds 2nd place in the following NFL records:

Andersen had stated that his goal was to be the first NFL player to play until he turned 50 in 2010. However, he retired just two days after he would have become the oldest player ever to appear in an NFL game, if he had played for a team at the time. The record held by George Blanda still stands – Blanda played in his last NFL game on 4 January 1976 (the 1975 AFC Championship) at the age of 48 years, 109 days. [31]

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">George Blanda</span> American football player (1927–2010)

George Frederick Blanda was an American football placekicker and quarterback who played professionally in the American Football League (AFL) and National Football League (NFL). Blanda played 26 seasons of professional football, the most in the sport's history, and had scored more points than anyone in history at the time of his retirement.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Adam Vinatieri</span> American football player (born 1972)

Adam Matthew Vinatieri is an American former football placekicker who played in the National Football League (NFL) for 24 seasons with the New England Patriots and Indianapolis Colts. Considered one of the greatest kickers of all time, he is the NFL's all-time leading scorer at 2,673 points. He also holds the NFL records for field goals made (599), postseason points (238), and overtime field goals made (12).

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Jan Stenerud</span> Norwegian-American football player (born 1942)

Jan Stenerud is a Norwegian-American former football placekicker who played in the National Football League (NFL) and American Football League (AFL) for 19 seasons, primarily with Kansas City Chiefs. The first Norwegian NFL player, he began his career in the AFL after being selected by the Chiefs during the 1966 draft and joined the NFL following the AFL–NFL merger. Along with his 13 seasons in Kansas City, Stenerud was a member of the Green Bay Packers for four seasons and the Minnesota Vikings for two seasons until retiring in 1985.

Gary Allan Anderson is a South African former American football placekicker who played in the National Football League (NFL) for 23 seasons. The first South African to appear in an NFL regular season game, he spent the majority of his career with the Pittsburgh Steelers and is also known for his tenure with the Minnesota Vikings. Anderson earned four Pro Bowl and two first-team All-Pro honors after joining the league in 1982 and was named to the NFL's second All-Decade teams of the 1980s and 1990s, as well as the Steelers All-Time Team.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Placekicker</span> Player position in American and Canadian football

Placekicker, or simply kicker, is the player in gridiron football who is responsible for the kicking duties of field goals and extra points. In many cases, the placekicker also serves as the team's kickoff specialist or punter.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Jay Feely</span> American football player and sportscaster (born 1976)

Thomas James "Jay" Feely is a former American football placekicker and current sportscaster. He started his career with the Florida Bobcats in the Arena Football League as a street free agent in 1999 before playing for several NFL teams. Since his retirement, Feely has worked as a reporter and analyst for CBS/Turner Sports.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Martín Gramática</span> American football player (born 1975)

Martín Gramática is an Argentine-born former American football placekicker in the National Football League (NFL) for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Indianapolis Colts, Dallas Cowboys, and New Orleans Saints. He played college football at Kansas State University where was recognized twice as an All-American and was drafted by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the third round of the 1999 NFL Draft.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Matt Stover</span> American football player (born 1968)

John Matthew Stover is a former American football placekicker who played in the National Football League (NFL) for 20 seasons, primarily with the Baltimore Ravens. After five seasons for the Cleveland Browns, he was among the Browns players transferred to the newly-created Ravens franchise in 1996, with whom he played 13 seasons. Additionally, Stover was a member of the New York Giants during his first season and Indianapolis Colts during his last. His most successful season was in 2000 when he earned Pro Bowl and first-team All-Pro honors en route to the Ravens winning their first Super Bowl title in Super Bowl XXXV. He was also part of the Giants team that won Super Bowl XXV. For his accomplishments with the Ravens, Stover was named to the Baltimore Ravens Ring of Honor in 2011.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">John Carney (American football)</span> American football player (born 1964)

John Michael Carney is an American former professional football player who was a placekicker in the National Football League (NFL). He was signed by the Cincinnati Bengals as an undrafted free agent in 1987. He played college football for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Jason Hanson</span> American football player (born 1970)

Jason Hanson is an American former professional football player who was a kicker who spent his entire 21-year career with the Detroit Lions of the National Football League (NFL). After playing college football with the Washington State Cougars, he was selected by the Lions in the second round of the 1992 NFL Draft with the 56th overall pick. Hanson holds the NFL record for the most seasons played with one team and also holds multiple kicking and scoring records. Due to his longevity and statistical success, even on many non-playoff teams, Hanson is often cited as one of the most-loved players in Detroit Lions franchise history.

Russell Erxleben is a former American football player and currency investor. He shares the record for the longest successful field goal in NCAA history at 67 yards, which he set in 1977 while playing for the University of Texas. Erxleben was a three-time All-America punter. He was drafted in the first round of the NFL Draft, an extremely rare occurrence for a kicker. After an NFL career lasting six years, he became a currency investor. Convicted of securities fraud in 1999, he was released from federal prison in 2005. He was again convicted of investment fraud in 2014 and sentenced to 90 months in federal prison.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Garo Yepremian</span> Cypriot–Armenian gridiron football player (1944–2015)

Garabed Sarkis "Garo" Yepremian was a Cypriot-Armenian American football placekicker who played in the National Football League for 15 seasons, primarily with the Miami Dolphins. During his nine seasons in Miami, Yepremian was named to two Pro Bowls, twice received first-team All-Pro honors, and helped the Dolphins win two Super Bowl titles. Yepremian's first championship victory in Super Bowl VII occurred as a member of the 1972 Dolphins, the only team to complete a perfect season in NFL history. He also played for the Detroit Lions, New Orleans Saints, and Tampa Bay Buccaneers before retiring in 1981.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Matt Bryant</span> American football player (born 1975)

Steven Matt Bryant, nicknamed "Money Matt", is a former American football placekicker. He played college football for the Baylor Bears, and was signed as an unrestricted free agent by the AFL's Iowa Barnstormers in 2000. A Pro Bowler with the Falcons in 2016, he has also been a member of the New York Giants, Frankfurt Galaxy, Indianapolis Colts, Miami Dolphins, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and Florida Tuskers, and is among the most-accurate kickers in NFL history.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Michael Koenen</span> American football player (born 1982)

Michael J. Koenen is a former American football punter. He was signed by the Atlanta Falcons as an undrafted free agent in 2005. He played college football at Western Washington.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">2006 Atlanta Falcons season</span> NFL team season; final one with Michael Vick

The 2006 Atlanta Falcons season was the franchise's 41st in the National Football League (NFL). The team attempted to improve on their 8–8 record in 2005.

Greg Davis is a former National Football League kicker who played for 12 seasons from 1987 - 1998 with the Atlanta Falcons, New England Patriots, Phoenix/Arizona Cardinals, Minnesota Vikings, San Diego Chargers and Oakland Raiders.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Connor Barth</span> American football player (born 1986)

Connor Thomas Barth is a former American football placekicker who played ten seasons in the National Football League (NFL). He played college football at North Carolina and was signed by the Kansas City Chiefs as an undrafted free agent in 2008.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Kai Forbath</span> American football player (born 1987)

Kai August Forbath is an American football placekicker who is a free agent. He played college football at UCLA and was recognized as an All-American and the best college kicker in the country in 2009. Forbath was signed by the Cowboys as an undrafted free agent in 2011, and has played for Washington, New Orleans Saints, Minnesota Vikings, Jacksonville Jaguars, Dallas Cowboys, New England Patriots, and Los Angeles Rams.

Compared to other Major professional sports leagues in the United States and Canada, the National Football League (NFL) has the lowest percentage of foreign-born players. In 2017, roughly 3% of active players were born outside the US. In recent NFL Drafts, teams have made efforts to search internationally for prospects. A record 12 international players were drafted in the 2015 NFL Draft. As the 2020 NFL season, Canada was the most represented foreign country in the NFL with 12 players, followed by Nigeria with eight and Australia with six.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">1998 NFC Championship Game</span> NFL conference title game decided by a last-minute missed field goal

The 1998 NFC Championship Game was the 29th title game of the National Football Conference. This National Football League playoff game was played on January 17, 1999, to determine the NFC champion for the 1998 NFL season. The visiting Atlanta Falcons defeated the heavily favored Minnesota Vikings 30–27 in sudden death overtime to win their first conference championship and advance to the franchise's first Super Bowl appearance. As a result of their loss, the Vikings were eliminated from the playoffs and became the first team in the history of the NFL to compile a regular season record of 15–1 and not win the Super Bowl.

References

  1. "Morten Andersen talks about being a finalist for Pro Football Hall of Fame". NewOrleansSaints.com. Archived from the original on August 4, 2017. Retrieved July 20, 2016.
  2. Legwold, Jeff (February 4, 2017). "Canton calls LaDainian Tomlinson, Kurt Warner, Terrell Davis, Jerry Jones, 3 others". ESPN.com . Retrieved February 4, 2017.
  3. "Jan Stenerud - Pro Football Hall of Fame Official Site". www.profootballhof.com.
  4. "Morten Andersen #7". nflplayers.com. Retrieved December 9, 2006.
  5. Duncan, Jeff (August 3, 2018). "From a fishing village to football heaven, Morten Andersen traveled improbable path to Hall of Fame". nola.com. Advance Publications. Retrieved May 1, 2020.
  6. Zimmerman, Paul (October 16, 2003). "Just For Kicks". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved December 17, 2006.
  7. AP (December 23, 1996). "Andersen's Miss Puts Jaguars in Postseason". Chicago Sun Times. Archived from the original on May 16, 2011. Retrieved November 5, 2007.
  8. "Sportsticker NFL Recap (Arizona-Atlanta)". CoverWire.com. Retrieved November 7, 2007.
  9. Ageless K Andersen earns NFC honors, NFL , 4 October 2006
  10. "Total Points". Archived from the original on November 15, 2006.
  11. "Andersen, 48, hangs up cleats as all-time top scorer". espn.com. December 8, 2008. Retrieved December 8, 2008.
  12. "News - Around the NFL". NFL.com.
  13. "Thanks for the Memories, Mort!". Archived from the original on December 17, 2008.
  14. History. Players Who've Played in NFL at Age 40 or Older.
  15. Brian Allee-Walsh, "Ex-Saints coach Jim Mora says Morten Andersen a shoo-in for Canton, Ohio", Times-Picayune , November 6, 2009.
  16. "Coming Soon Page". sportsnola.com.
  17. Brian Allee-Walsh
  18. Mike Triplett, "Saints add K Morten Andersen to exclusive Ring of Honor", ESPN.com, August 3, 2015.
  19. Lewis, TED. "Saints welcome Morten Andersen to Ring of Honor".
  20. "Tomlinson, Warner, Terrell Davis selected for Hall". NFL.com .
  21. "Sports Betting News and Vegas Odds". VegasInsider.com. Retrieved September 30, 2020.
  22. "NFL Career Games Leaders". pro-football-reference.com. Retrieved September 26, 2010.
  23. "For single seasons, from 1920 to 2010, requiring Points Scored >= 75, sorted by most seasons matching criteria". pro-football-reference.com. Retrieved September 26, 2010.
  24. "For single seasons, from 1920 to 2010, requiring Points Scored >= 90, sorted by most seasons matching criteria". pro-football-reference.com. Retrieved September 26, 2010.
  25. "In multiple seasons, from 1960 to 2010, in the regular season, requiring Total Field Goals Made >= 1, sorted by most games matching criteria". Pro-Football-Reference.com . Retrieved September 26, 2010.
  26. "In multiple seasons, from 1960 to 2010, in the regular season, requiring Total Field Goals Made >= 2, sorted by most games matching criteria". Pro-Football-Reference.com . Retrieved September 26, 2010.
  27. "In a single game, from 1960 to 2010, in the regular season, requiring Points Scored >= 14, sorted by descending Age". Pro-Football-Reference.com . Retrieved September 26, 2010.
  28. "In a single game, from 1960 to 2010, in the regular season, requiring Total Field Goals Made >= 4, sorted by descending Age". Pro-Football-Reference.com . Retrieved September 26, 2010.
  29. "In a single game, from 1960 to 2010, in the regular season, requiring Total Field Goals Made >= 5, sorted by descending Age". Pro-Football-Reference.com . Retrieved September 26, 2010.
  30. "For single seasons, from 1920 to 2010, requiring Points Scored >= 100, sorted by most seasons matching criteria". pro-football-reference.com. Retrieved September 26, 2010.
  31. Bob Harris, 2003 Camp Battles: Kickers lace 'em up, Sports Illustrated , August 7, 2003
Preceded by
Gary Anderson
(2,434)
Career NFL points record holder
(2,544)

2006–2018
Succeeded by
Preceded by Career NFL field goals made
(565)

2006–2018
Succeeded by
Preceded by Career NFL field goal attempts
(709)

2006–2019
Succeeded by