Class of 2017 Enshrinee
Andersen was born in Struer, Denmark and first visited the United States in 1977 on a 10-month cultural exchange program when he was 17 years old. After transferring his soccer skills to the gridiron, Andersen earned a football scholarship to Michigan State University following one season at Ben Davis High School in Indianapolis as a kicker. Andersen is just the second placekicker (joining Jan Stenerud) and the ninth internationally born NFL player to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
On December 5, 1982, Andersen made his NFL debut during his rookie season as a member of the New Orleans Saints. He made one of two field goals in a 13-10 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Andersen would go on to play 382 total games during his 25-year NFL career, the most in NFL history.
Andersen’s dominance with the New Orleans Saints from 1982-1994 and Atlanta Falcons from 1995-2000 earned him a spot on both the 1980’s and 1990’s NFL All-Decade teams. He’s one of16 players and 14th Hall of Famer to be selected to multiple All-Decade teams.
One of Andersen’s most clutch kicks came in the NFC Championship Game on January 17, 1999. After Minnesota Vikings kicker Gary Anderson missed a late fourth quarter field goal that would’ve put the game out of reach. The Falcons managed the tie the game at the end of regulation to force overtime. In overtime, Andersen hit a 38-yard field goal to give the Falcons a 30-27 victory and their first-ever Super Bowl berth.
On December 16, 2006, Andersen rewrote the history books with a second quarter extra point in a 38-28 loss to the Dallas Cowboys. With the extra point, Andersen surpassed Gary Anderson to become the league’s new all-time leading scorer. He would play one more season with the Atlanta Falcons and finished his career with 2,544 career points. Andersen also holds the record for most field goals attempted (709), most field goals made (565), and most consecutive games scoring (360).
"I remember watching him for many years growing up thinking that, 'This guy's the best.' Then finally getting to play against him or be on the same field, I was like, 'Wow this is awesome.'"
-Adam Vinatieri, Indianapolis Colts kicker
“Sports has a beautiful way of allowing you into a group of guys and just being accepted because that’s the common denominator that we’re doing something together here, we’re a part of a team. I think football really helped me that way, and kicking helped me that way.”
-Morten Andersen, Pro Football Hall of Fame, Class of 2017
“He was awesome. Kickers get portrayed as being different or odd or on the outsides looking in, and he wasn’t. He was just as great as the rest of us, and he wasn’t afraid to mix it up. If anybody had issues, Morten had their back and everybody had his.”
-John Leister, former Michigan State quarterback and holder
“Morten is one of the greatest players in our team’s history and arguably the best kicker in NFL history...The reliability and excellence that he provided for us at the kicker position during his tenure with the Saints has been unmatched.”
-Tom Benson, New Orleans Saints owner
“Everyone knows Morten is the best kicker of all-time and the National Football League’s all-time leading scorer. But the best thing about Morten was when he had to make a clutch kick to win a game, he was outstanding. When the game was on the line and he had to go in there and make that kick for the Saints to win the game, he was going to make it. He was the best there is when the game was on the line.”
-Jim Mora, former NFL head coach
“He’s easily the best kicker I have played with or played against... No matter what team he was on, or I was on, you always knew that if it came down to Morten making a kick at the end of the game, it was most likely going through the uprights.”
-Willie Roaf, Pro Football Hall of Fame, Class of 2012
“Without question, Morten was one of the hardest-working football players I ever coached and that was unusual because he was a kicker. He was always out there, whether it was after we finished our pre-game routine or at practice. Most kickers sit and watch practice, but Morten would continue to work to be the best he could be. I was fortunate that, at the end of my career, I had him as a kicker.”
-Dan Reeves, former NFL head coach
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