Morten Andersen

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Morten Andersen
refer to caption
Andersen in 2010.
No. 7, 5, 8
Position: Kicker
Personal information
Date of birth: (1960-08-19) August 19, 1960 (age 56)
Place of birth: 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
  • 2,544 points scored, career
  • 565 field goals made, career
  • 709 field goals attempted, career
  • 382 games played
Career NFL statistics
Field goals: 565/709 (.797)
Extra points: 849/859 (.988)
Points scored: 2,544
Player stats at

Morten Andersen (born August 19, 1960), nicknamed "The Great Dane",[1] is a former National Football League (NFL) kicker and All-American at Michigan State University. He is the all-time leader in games played in the NFL at 382; in addition, he also holds the distinction of being the all-time leading scorer in NFL history, as well as being the all-time leading scorer for two different rival teams; the New Orleans Saints, with whom he spent 13 seasons, and the Atlanta Falcons, with whom he spent a combined eight seasons.

He officially retired on December 8, 2008, after not playing all season.[2] Andersen was announced as a member of the 2017 induction class of the Pro Football Hall of Fame at that year's NFL Honors.[3] He will be only the second exclusive placekicker inducted in the Hall of Fame, and the first since Jan Stenerud in 1991.[4]

Early life[edit]

Andersen was born in Copenhagen and raised in the west Jutland town of Struer, Denmark.[5] 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. 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 September 24, 2011, he was inducted into the Michigan State University Athletics Hall of Fame.

NFL career[edit]

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 the 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 and Matt Prater.) 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 its 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.

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 also the team record holder for both the New Orleans Saints[10] and the Atlanta Falcons for overall points scored that has since been passed by Matt Bryant.

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

On September 17, 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 December 8 to officially retire.[2][11] Had he played on or after December 6, he would have been the oldest NFL player to play, breaking George Blanda's record.[12][13]

On November 6, 2009, Andersen was inducted into the New Orleans Saints Hall of Fame.[14] On June 25th, 2011, Andersen was inducted into the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame. [15] On August 10th, 2013, Andersen was inducted into the Greater New Orleans Sports Hall of Fame. [16] On December 21, 2015, he was inducted as the fourth member of the team's Ring of Honor.[17] [18]On February 4, 2017, it was announced that Andersen will be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.[19]

Career regular season statistics[edit]

NFL records[edit]

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

  • Most games played (career) – 382[20]
  • Most consecutive games played by a placekicker – 248
  • Most field goals attempted (career) – 709[21]
  • Most field goals (career) – 565[22]
  • Most points (career) – 2,544[23]
  • Most seasons, 75 or more points (career) – 24[24]
  • Most consecutive seasons, 75 or more points (career) – 23
  • Most seasons, 90 or more points (career) – 22[25]
  • Most game winning field goals (career) – 103
  • Games with 1+ field goals (career) – 299[26]
  • Games with 2+ field goals (career) – 178[27]
  • Oldest player to score 14 points in a game – 47 years, 133 days (for Atlanta Falcons vs. Seattle Seahawks, December 30, 2007)[28]
  • Oldest player to kick 4 field goals in a game – 47 years, 42 days (for Atlanta Falcons vs. Houston Texans, September 30, 2007)[29]
  • Oldest player to kick 5 field goals in a game – 46 years, 43 days[30]
  • Most field goals (50 or more yards) in a game – 3 (vs. New Orleans, December 10, 1995) (tied with several players)
  • Most consecutive games scoring (career) – 360
  • Most games scoring (career) – 379
  • Most consecutive seasons scoring (career) – 23 – tied with Gary Anderson
  • Most consecutive calendar years scoring (career) – 26

Team Scoring Records:

  • New Orleans Saints- 1,318 points
  • Atlanta Falcons – 806 points

(One of two players to have held career statistical franchise record for two NFL teams)

  • New Orleans Saints – FGs made/attempted: 302/389
  • Atlanta Falcons – FGs made/attempted: 184/224
  • New Orleans Saints – PATs made/attempted: 412/418
  • Atlanta Falcons – PATs made/attempted: 254/256

Pro Bowl records:

  • Most points in Pro Bowl (total) – 45 (15 points after touchdown, 10 field goals)
  • Most points after touchdown in Pro Bowl (total) – 15
  • Most field goal attempts in Pro Bowl (total) – 18
  • Most field goals in Pro Bowl (total) – 10

Andersen holds 2nd place in the following NFL records:

  • Most PATs attempted (career) – 859 (1st place: George Blanda, 959)
  • Most PATs made (career) – 849 (1st place: George Blanda, 943)
  • Most seasons – 25 (1st place: George Blanda, 26)
  • Most seasons, 100 or more points – 14 (1st place: Jason Elam, 16)[31]
  • Most games with 5 or more field goals (career) – 9 (John Carney, 11)

Andersen had stated that his goal was to be the first NFL player to play until he turns 50 in 2010.[32] However, he retired December 8, 2008 – just two days after he would have become the oldest player ever to appear in an NFL game, if he had gotten a contract. The record held by George Blanda still stands – Blanda played in his last NFL game on January 4, 1976 (the 1975 AFC Championship) at the age of 48 years, 109 days.


  1. ^ "Morten Andersen talks about being a finalist for Pro Football Hall of Fame". 
  2. ^ a b "Andersen, 48, hangs up cleats as all-time top scorer". Retrieved 2008-12-08. 
  3. ^ Legwold, Jeff (February 4, 2017). "Canton calls LaDainian Tomlinson, Kurt Warner, Terrell Davis, Jerry Jones, 3 others". Retrieved February 4, 2017. 
  4. ^
  5. ^ "Morten Andersen #7". Retrieved 2006-12-09. 
  6. ^ Zimmerman, Paul (October 16, 2003). "Just For Kicks". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved 2006-12-17. 
  7. ^ AP (December 23, 1996). "Andersen's Miss Puts Jaguars in Postseason". Chicago Sun Times. Retrieved 2007-11-05. 
  8. ^ "Sportsticker NFL Recap (Arizona-Atlanta)". Retrieved 2007-11-07. 
  9. ^ Ageless K Andersen earns NFC honors, NFL, October 4, 2006
  10. ^ Scoring at New Orleans Saints
  11. ^ Andersen, NFL's all-time top scorer, retires
  12. ^ .Thanks for the Memories, Mort! FalconsLife Posted by J. Michael Moore .
  13. ^ .[1] History. Players Who've Played in NFL at Age 40 or Older.
  14. ^ Brian Allee-Walsh, "Ex-Saints coach Jim Mora says Morten Andersen a shoo-in for Canton, Ohio", Times-Picayune, November 6, 2009.
  15. ^ [2]
  16. ^ Brian Allee-Walsh, [3]
  17. ^ Mike Triplett, "Saints add K Morten Andersen to exclusive Ring of Honor",, August 3, 2015.
  18. ^
  19. ^
  20. ^ "NFL Career Games Leaders". Retrieved 26 September 2010. 
  21. ^ "NFL Career Field Goal Attempts Leaders". Retrieved 26 September 2010. 
  22. ^ "NFL Career Total Field Goals Made Leaders". Retrieved 26 September 2010. 
  23. ^ "NFL Career Points Scored Leaders". Retrieved 26 September 2010. 
  24. ^ "For single seasons, from 1920 to 2010, requiring Points Scored >= 75, sorted by most seasons matching criteria.". Retrieved 26 September 2010. 
  25. ^ "For single seasons, from 1920 to 2010, requiring Points Scored >= 90, sorted by most seasons matching criteria.". Retrieved 26 September 2010. 
  26. ^ "In multiple seasons, from 1960 to 2010, in the regular season, requiring Total Field Goals Made >= 1, sorted by most games matching criteria.". Retrieved 26 September 2010. 
  27. ^ "In multiple seasons, from 1960 to 2010, in the regular season, requiring Total Field Goals Made >= 2, sorted by most games matching criteria.". Retrieved 26 September 2010. 
  28. ^ "In a single game, from 1960 to 2010, in the regular season, requiring Points Scored >= 14, sorted by descending Age.". Retrieved 26 September 2010. 
  29. ^ "In a single game, from 1960 to 2010, in the regular season, requiring Total Field Goals Made >= 4, sorted by descending Age.". Retrieved 26 September 2010. 
  30. ^ "In a single game, from 1960 to 2010, in the regular season, requiring Total Field Goals Made >= 5, sorted by descending Age.". Retrieved 26 September 2010. 
  31. ^ "For single seasons, from 1920 to 2010, requiring Points Scored >= 100, sorted by most seasons matching criteria". Retrieved 26 September 2010. 
  32. ^ Bob Harris, 2003 Camp Battles: Kickers lace 'em up, Sports Illustrated, August 7, 2003

External links[edit]