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Morten Andersen (born August 19, 1960 in Copenhagenmarker, Denmarkmarker) is a former American football kicker. He holds the distinction of being the all-time leading scorer in NFL history and the all-time leading scorer for two different teams; the New Orleans Saints, with whom he spent 13 seasons, and the Atlanta Falcons, with whom he spent a combined 8 seasons.

He officially retired December 8, 2008 after not having played all season.

Early life

Andersen was born in Copenhagenmarker and raised in the west Jutland town of Struer, Denmarkmarker. As a student, he was a gymnast and a long jumper, and barely missed becoming a member of the Danish junior national soccer team. He visited the United Statesmarker in 1977 as a Youth For Understanding exchange student. He first kicked an American football on a whim at Ben Davis High Schoolmarker in Indianapolismarker. He was so impressive in his one season of high school football that he was given a scholarship to Michigan State Universitymarker.

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 Universitymarker. He was named an All American in 1981. His success landed him the kicking job with the New Orleans Saints

NFL 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. 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 goal, 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 and surpassed by Jason Elam and Matt Bryant.) 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. 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.

He 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 Superdomemarker since Hurricane Katrina prevented its use for the entire 2005 regular season. Andersen scored the first 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. 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. He is also the team record holder for both the New Orleans Saints and the Atlanta Falcons for overall points scored.

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, Morten Andersen did not get a contract with any team, but waited until December 8 to officially retire. If Morten Andersen had played on or after December 6, he would have been the oldest NFL player to play.

On November 6, 2009, Morten Andersen was inducted into the New Orleans Saints Hall of Fame.

Career regular season statistics



NFL records

At the end of his career Andersen held (and still holds) the following NFL records:
  • Most games played - 382
  • Most field goals attempted (career) - 709
  • Most field goals (career) - 565
  • Most points (career) - 2,544
  • Most seasons, 79 or more points (career) - 24
  • Most seasons, 90 or more points (career) - 22
  • Most seasons, 98 or more points (career) - 18
  • Most game winning field goals (career) - 103
  • Most field goals attempted of 50 or more yards (total) - 84
  • Most field goals (50 or more yards) in a season - 8 (tied with Jason Hanson)
  • Most field goals (50 or more yards) in a game - 3 (vs. New Orleans, December 10, 1995) (tied with Neil Rackers and Kris Brown)
  • Most consecutive games scoring (career) - 360


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 field goals (50 or more yards) in a career - 40 (1st place: Jason Hanson, 41)
  • Most seasons - 25 (1st place: George Blanda, 26)
  • Most seasons, 100 or more points - 14 (1st place: Jason Elam, 16)
  • 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. However he retired December 8, 2008 – just two days after he would have become the oldest person ever to play 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 .

References

  1. Ageless K Andersen earns NFC honors, NFL, October 4, 2006
  2. Scoring at New Orleans Saints
  3. Andersen, NFL's all-time top scorer, retires
  4. . Thanks for the Memories, Mort! FalconsLife Posted by J. Michael Moore .
  5. Brian Allee-Walsh, "Ex-Saints coach Jim Mora says Morten Andersen a shoo-in for Canton, Ohio", Times-Picayune, November 6, 2009.
  6. Bob Harris, 2003 Camp Battles: Kickers lace 'em up, Sports Illustrated, August 7, 2003


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