Honor the Heroes of the Game, Preserve Its History, Promote Its Values & Celebrate Excellence Everywhere
“Will comes to the forefront when your back is against the wall.”
(Michigan State)...6'2'', 218...Fourth round pick of the Saints in 1982 … Scored more than 90 points 22 times … Topped 100 points in 14 seasons … All-time leading scorer for Saints and Falcons … All-Pro five times … Voted to seven Pro Bowls … NFL All-Decade Teams of 1980s and 1990s … First player to kick three 50-yard field goals in same game, 1995 ... Scored 2,544 points via 565 field goals, 849 extra points … Born Born August 19, 1960 in Struer, Denmark.
Morten Andersen entered the National Football League as the fourth round draft pick of the New Orleans Saints in 1982. He left the game 25 seasons later as the most prolific scorer in league history.
Following a strike-shortened rookie season, Andersen kicked into high gear in his second season as he netted 91 points for New Orleans in 1983. It marked the first of 22 seasons in which he recorded 90 points or more. He topped the 100-point total 14 times in his career. The first occasion of reaching the century mark came in 1985 when he connected on 31 of 35 field goals and added 27 extra points for 120 points. For his efforts, he earned the first of seven Pro Bowl nominations and was also named first-team All-Pro for the first of five times.
After 13 seasons in New Orleans and ranking as the franchise’s all-time leading scorer, Andersen joined the Atlanta Falcons in 1995 and eventually became that team’s career scoring leader. He recorded a spectacular season his first year in Atlanta when he scored a career-high 122 points that included a then-NFL record for most 50-yard field goals in a season (8). On Dec. 10, 1995, in a 19-14 win over his former team the Saints, he made NFL history when he became the first kicker ever to convert three field goals of 50 yards or longer in the same game.
Andersen kicked for the Falcons for six seasons before continuing his reliable scoring with the New York Giants (2001), Kansas City Chiefs (2002-03), and Minnesota Vikings (2004). In 2006 he was lured out of retirement by Atlanta and finished his career with two more campaigns with the Falcons.
Among the most notable league records he set were career points (2,544), most field goals (565), and games played (382). In addition, his 40 field goals of 50 yards or longer were the most in NFL history at his retirement.
He is one of the rare players to be named to two NFL All-Decade Teams (1980s and 1990s). In all, he converted 565 of 709 field goal attempts and 849 of 859 point-after-attempts. He led his teams in scoring 22 times, led the NFL in field goals in 1987, the NFC in scoring in 1992 and topped all conference kickers in most field goals in 1985, 1987, and 1995.
1988 NFC – Atlanta Falcons 30, Minnesota Vikings 27 (OT)
Andersen was three for three on field goals including a game-winning 38-yard field goal in overtime. He also had three PATs.
Super Bowl XXXIII – Denver Broncos 34, Atlanta Falcons 19
Andersen was two for three on field goals. He also had one PAT.
All-Pro: 1985 (SN) • 1986 (AP, PFWA, NEA, SN, PW) • 1987 (AP, PFWA, NEA, SN, PW) • 1992 (PFWA, NEA) • 1995 (AP, PFWA, SN)
All-Pro Second Team: 1985 (AP) • 1988 (NEA) • 1992 (AP)
All-NFC: 1985 (UPI) • 1986 (UPI, PW) • 1987 (UPI, PW) • 1988 (UPI) • 1992 (UPI, PW) • 1995 (UPI, PW)
(7) – 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1991, 1993, 1996
(at time of his retirement following 2007 season)
• [1st] Most Games Played, Career – 382
• [1st] Most Points Scored, Career – 2,544
• [1st] Most Consecutive Games Scoring – 360
• [1st] Most Field Goal Attempts, Career – 709
• [1st] Most Field Goals, Career – 565
• [1st] Most Field Goals, 50 or More Yards, Career – 40
• [1st] Most Field Goals, 50 or More Yards, Season – 8 (1995)
• [Tied for 1st] Most Field Goals, 50 or More Yards, Game – 3 (vs. New Orleans, Dec. 10, 1995)
• [2nd] Most Seasons Played – 25
• [2nd] Most PAT Attempts, Career – 859
• [2nd] Most PATs Converted, Career – 849
• [Tied for 2nd] Most Seasons, 100 or More Points – 14
• [Tied for 3rd] Longest Field Goal – 60 (vs. Chicago, Oct. 27, 1991)
• [Tied for 3rd] Most Consecutive Games Scoring Field Goals, 10 (1987-2004)
Pro Bowl Records
• [1st] Most Points Scored, Career – 45
• [1st] Most PATs Converted, Career – 15
• [1st] Most Field Goal Attempts, Career – 18
• [1st] Most Field Goals, Career – 10
• [Tied for 2nd] Longest Field Goal – 51 (1989)
• [Tied for 3rd] Most Field Goal Attempts, Game – 4 (1993)
Saints records held by Andersen
(Records through the 1994 season, Andersen’s final season with New Orleans)
• [1st] Most Consecutive Games with Points Scored – 174 (1983-1994)
• [1st] Most Consecutive PATs Converted – 119 (1989-1992)
• [1st] Most Consecutive Games with Field Goal – 20 (1987-88)
• [1st] Most Consecutive Successful Field Goal Attempts – 25 (1992-93)
• [1st] Most Games Played, Career – 196
• [1st] Most Points Scored, Career – 1,318
• [1st] Most Points Scored, Season – 121 (1987)
• [1st] Most Field Goals, Career – 302
• [1st] Most Field Goals, Seasons – 31 (1985)
• [1st] Most Field Goal Attempts, Career – 389
• [1st] Most PATs Converted, Career – 412
• [1st] Most PATs Converted, Season – 44 (1989)
• [Tied for 1st] Most Season – 13
• [Tied 1st] Most Field Goals, Game – 5 (vs. L.A. Rams, Dec. 1, 1985; vs. San Francisco, Oct. 25, 1987; vs. Atlanta, Dec. 3, 1992; at Atlanta, Dec. 11, 1994)
• [Tied for 1st] Most Field Goal Attempts, Game – 7 (vs. San Francisco, Oct. 25, 1987)
• [Tied for 1st] Most PATs Converted, Game – 6 (vs. Denver, Nov. 20, 1988)
• [2nd] Most Consecutive Games with Field Goal – 19 (1985-86)
• [2nd] Most Consecutive Successful Field Goal Attempts – 20 (1985-86)
• [2nd] Most Points Scored, Season – 120 (1985, 1992)
• [2nd] Most Field Goals, Season – 29 (1992)
• [2nd] Most Field Goal Attempts, Season – 39 (1994)
• [2nd] Longest Field Goal – 60 (vs. Chicago, Oct. 27, 1991)
• [Tied for 2nd] Most Consecutive Games, Career – 122 (1987-1994)
• [3rd] Most Consecutive Games with Field Goal – 17 (1990-91)
• [3rd] Most Field Goals, Season – 28 (1987, 1993, 1994)
• [3rd] Most PATs Converted, Season – 38 (1991)
Chiefs records held by Andersen
(Records through the 2003 season, Andersen’s final season with Kansas City)
• [1st] Most PAT Attempts, Season – 59 (2003)
• [1st] Most PATs Converted, Season – 58 (2003)
• [2nd] Most PAT Attempts, Season – 51 (2002)
• [2nd] Most PATs Converted, Season – 51 (2002)
• [Tied for 2nd] Most PATs Converted, Game – 7 (vs. Arizona, Dec. 2, 2002; vs. St. Louis, Dec. 8, 2002)
• [Tied for 3rd] Most Consecutive Games Scoring Field Goals – 11 (2002)
Falcons records held by Andersen
(Records through the 2007 season, Andersen’s final season with Atlanta)
• [1st] Most Points, Career – 806
• [1st] Most Consecutive Games Scoring, Career – 124
• [1st] Most PATs Converted, Career – 254
• [1st] Most PAT Attempts, Career – 256
• [1st] Most PAT Attempts, Season – 52 (1998)
• [1st] Most PATs Converted, Season – 38 (1991)
• [1st] Most Consecutive PATs Converted, Career – 153
• [1st] Most Field Goals, Career – 184
• [1st] Most Field Goal Attempts, Career – 224
• [Tied for 1st] Most PATs Converted, Season – 51 (1998)
• [1st] Most Field Goals, 50 or More Yards, Career – 15
• [1st] Most Field Goals, 50 or More Yards, Season – 8 (1995)
• [1st] Most Field Goals, 50 or More Yards, Game – 3 (vs. New Orleans, Dec. 10, 1995)
• [1st] Longest Field Goal – 59 (vs. San Francisco, Dec. 24, 1995)
• [2nd] Most Points, Season – 122 (1995)
• [2nd] Most Field Goals, Season – 31 (1995)
• [2nd] Best Field Goal Percentage, Career – .821
• [Tied for 2nd] Most Consecutive Field Goals Made – 18 (1995)
• [3rd] Most Points, Season – 120 (1998)
• [3rd] Most Field Goal Attempts, Season – 37 (1995)
NFL Statistical Championships
Most Field Goals: 1987 N
NFC Statistical Championships
Scoring Titles: 1992 N
Most Field Goals: 1985 N, 1987 N, 1995 A
Team Statistical Championships
Scoring Titles: Scoring Titles: 1983N, 1984 N, 1985 N, 1986 N, 1987 N, 1988 N, 1990 N, 1991 N, 1992 N, 1993 N, 1994 N, 1995A, 1996 A, 1997 A, 1998 A, 1999 A, 2000 A, 2001G, 2004M, 2006 A, 2007 A
N - New Orleans G - N.Y. Giants M - Minnesota A - Atlanta
• NFL All-Decade Team of 1980s
• NFL All-Decade Team of 1990s
* AFC regular season finish in strike-shortened season
(Division Finish in Parentheses)
Qualified for Postseason in Bold
Full Name: Morten Andersen
Birthdate: August 19, 1960
Birthplace: Struer, Denmark
High School: Ben Davis (Indianapolis, IN)
Pro Career: 25 seasons, 382 games
Drafted: 4th round (86th overall) in 1982 by New Orleans Saints
Good evening, Canton, Ohio! Good morning, Denmark. I was born in the Kingdom of Denmark, the birthplace of famous Danish fairytale writer, Hans Christian Andersen. His magical stories have traveled the world and, just like he did, inspired young and old alike.
When I was young, I often imagined the faraway places he described. My parents always encouraged my twin brother, Jakob, and I to travel and learn about different cultures and engage with people in foreign countries. I know they probably didn't realize how quickly this would change our lives.
When Jakob was 16, he went to the South Pole on an expedition. Shortly afterwards, I headed to the USA as a foreign exchange student. Now, my story isn't only about my love for my country of Denmark and its people, but also my deep appreciation and respect for what I discovered here in the United States of America.
The plan was simple. I would live with an American family for ten months, enroll in high school, and, upon completion, return to Denmark to continue my studies. I landed in Indianapolis on my 17th birthday. There to greet me was my new American family, the Bakers. I had barely blown out the candles on my birthday cake before the question came, So, do you want to go watch a football game? We need a kicker.
Word had spread that there was a kid in town from far away who might be able to help the Ben Davis Giants High School football team at the place kicking position, and apparently that kid was me.
Now, having grown up playing soccer, handball, and doing gymnastics, American football was not on my radar screen. I knew nothing about the sport, but that would change.
A defining moment in my life came two days later when I trotted onto the field wearing a purple jersey, No. 46, white practice pants, shoulder pads meant for a linebacker, and a helmet that could hold more than one large box of movie popcorn. I argued that I didn't need all this stuff. I had my soccer shorts and soccer boots. A T shirt would do. My words were met with wondrous bemusement, puzzled looks, and I soon learned the necessity of wearing heavy armor.
The whole team lined up on the sideline just to watch my tryout. I don't think they expected much. The feeling was mutual. My thoughts were: Let's get this over with so I can go find a soccer field. It was then I learned the process of kicking a football is quite involved.
Suddenly players appeared from everywhere, proceeded to line up in front of me. I was confused. What are they doing? Is that necessary? The guys were really big. They blocked my view of those funny looking posts sticking up in the air.
A smaller guy approached me and asked if I was ready. He was licking his fingers. "Should I do that, too," I asked him. He looked at me confused and proceeded to kneel on the ground. "Red, set." It startled me.
Up in front of us was not a pretty view, either. There was a line of big derrières. And they were facing me. And from the middle of the mass, a ball came flying back to the little guy kneeling on the ground. He placed it vertical on a small black platform. I took a second look: Oh, man, the ball is not round.
I looked around for help. Anyone, anything. Coach Wilbur came over and whispered to me: Just kick the shit out of it. And if you don't, I'm sending you back on the boat.
Message received. The ball flew high and through those white things, and I looked over to my new teammates. I think they liked what they saw. And suddenly I had 80 new friends, just like that. Welcome to America.
(Cheers and applause.)
At the time, I didn't give much thought to what had just happened, but looking back it's easy to see this singular event changed my life forever.
Coach Wilbur, I'm grateful for your vision. You saw a young kid with raw talent and gave him the opportunity of a lifetime. Without that, I'm not standing here today. Thank you, Coach.
The Baker family took me in as one of their own, and I owe them my deepest thanks. I've learned that with age comes wisdom and perspective. I know now that quality life is all about purposeful living with people that you love and respect. The focus is on we and not me. This I learned from football. This I learned from my teammates, my coaches and support staff throughout my career.
The number of people who have been a part of my football life is staggering, and they have given their energy and passion to make the team better, to make us better.
My fellow Dane, Hans Nielsen, along with Coach Bob Baker, recruited me to Michigan State University. My Spartan years gave me some of the best moments of my life. I will always treasure my time in East Lansing and value the friendships of my many Spartan brothers and sisters. Spartans will!
I owe Coach Bum Phillips a huge tip of the 10-gallon hat. He had patience with me when I started my NFL career in New Orleans, and he stuck with me until we got it right. Bum was always good for a good story and a lot of laughs.
When John Mecom owned the team, he wanted to be more involved and asked Bum how he could help. Bum looked at him, paused, and said, "Well, you're the owner, so own." And that was that.
Bum cared about his players. In meetings, he'd talk about life, how to be a good guy, how to help others. He taught me the value of giving back to the community. I'm proud to have started Kicks for Kids in New Orleans. We helped Children's Hospital and raised a lot of money.
Without the wisdom of Bum Phillips, I'm not sure that would have happened. I miss you, Bum.
Today, Tom Benson has done a remarkable job, not only with the Saints, but throughout professional football. We're here together in Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium tonight.
That's right. I'm thankful we have an owner who reinvests in the game we all love. Thank you to Tom and Gayle Benson.
I have a deep love for the city of New Orleans and its football team. Our connections together run deep, and I believe the fans are the most loyal and passionate anywhere. I have great, great admiration for the spirit and attitude of the people of New Orleans. They taught me even through hard times to love life and stay positive. I will always be a part of New Orleans and always a Saint.
Circumstances, however, dictated that I would spend the second half of my career with four other teams. My profound gratitude to the Falcons, the Giants, the Chiefs, and the Vikings for allowing me to continue my American dream.
I value the relationships I have with Jim Mora, Sr.; June Jones; Dan Reeves; Jim Fassel; Dick Vermeil; John and Mike Tice; and Jim Mora, Jr. I thank Arthur Blank and the Falcons for bringing me back in 2006 for what would be another defining moment in my life.
You see, in the beginning of 2005, I was in Atlanta with my family having just finished my let’s see 23rd NFL season. I felt confident I'd continue and perhaps have a chance to become the NFL's all-time leading scoring, just 76 points away.
However, for months the phone didn't ring. For 20 months, it didn't ring. Still, my trainer, Keith, and I would go to the public park, me in my Giants practice pants, Falcons practice jersey, Saints helmet, a pair of Pro Bowl socks left over from the good ole days. My Kenny Stabler shoulder pads. And I'd kick there four times a week.
When the Little League teams needed the field, I would defer, leave and come back later and grind. I even convinced the grounds crew to cut the grass short for me.
2005 turned to 2006. My friends started questioning my sanity: You've had a good run, Morten. Get on with your life. They called me stubborn. I wasn't finished. I wanted to finish on my terms. I needed to know what was left in the tank.
So, in early October 2006, I was sitting in my basement watching the Falcons play their second regular season game. Their kicker had a bad day. I turned to my buddy Eric, and I said, Hey, I'm switching to water now
(Laughter and applause.)
because the phone is going to ring soon. I didn't get much of a reaction from him. I know, I said, I know it hasn't rang in 20 months.
Shortly after the game finished, the phone did ring: Hey, can you come in tomorrow morning for a tryout? How about 2 p.m.? And there I was, 46 years old, guys, in Flowery Branch, facing four flat bellies half my age.
The was an orange stripe in the middle of the net behind the goal post. You see, I like the middle, and I always aim for it because the middle never changes. So, I did well, and soon the flat bellies exited right. And my biggest decision became black or blue ink. I chose black ink and signed a one year deal.
And a couple of months later in the Georgia Dome, as you guys just saw on the screen, I completed my mission and became the all-time leading scorer in the history of the game.
The lesson is simple. The lesson is simple. Bring your will and perseverance to everything worth doing. When the reward is sublime, the risks are higher. And you must embrace the uncomfortable to go into that rarified air of excellence.
I learned esprit de corps or group spirit from my special teams' brothers and coaches. There have been many dynamic and colorful special teams' coaches, and I love and thank them all. Like the players they coach, they're a special breed.
I want to mention one coach, Frank Gansz, Sr., who had a profound impact on everyone he encountered. We lost Coach Gansz, but his memory and legacy live on through the many players and coaches he impacted. I had my best year with Coach Gansz. He was an ally and friend who we'll never forget and I will always honor.
My sincere gratitude to all my teammates and support staff throughout the years. Brian Hansen and Bobby Hebert, they were a big part of my journey.
While I've always appreciated the uniqueness of my position, I never felt isolated. I always felt included and a part of the team. I value the long snapper and holder. You were my bread and butter, and I was fortunate to have the very best. The countless hours spent drilling with you, working to be great, is one of my favorite memories.
I believe my induction sends a clear message that the position of the specialist is important, relevant, and undeniable. Hopefully, more will find their way into the Hall of Fame.
I'm honored to join my new Hall of Fame brother, Jan Stenerud, tonight, along with all these great legends of the game, along with the Class of 2017.
Jan, you set the standard, and it was high. All specialists owe you a debt of gratitude for your unselfish trailblazing. You've always carried yourself with dignity and grace and have been a tremendous friend and advisor through this process.
Also, I know some of the great kickers in our game are here tonight. Thank you for making the game better and me better by being the very best.
Finally, I want to thank Team Andersen. My mom and dad encouraged my brother and I to travel and broaden our horizons. I'm thankful to both of you for giving us balance for life. I proudly share this honor with you.
My brother, Jakob, is amazing and talented, and we'll always have a special bond.
My wife, Jennifer, has been the light of my life for 27 years. You are the most unselfish, giving human being I know. You've always been the light and never the shadow. I'm forever grateful for your unconditional love and friendship. Everyone you connect with is profoundly changed by your incredible giving spirit. You are rare in so many ways. I know I out kicked the coverage when I met you. Love you.
To my boys, Aiden and Sebastian, I want you to know your dad succeeded because he worked hard and had perseverance. I encourage you both to stay curious and ask questions. Live your life with passion and energy, and give more than you take. I love you immensely and proudly share this wonderful night with you.
Our family foundation supports a variety of charities. We believe in our young generation, and we believe in our special op soldiers and their families.
Our motto is: What you give will grow, and what you keep will perish. My hope and prayer for all of us tonight is that we will always possess a generous spirit of giving, love, and compassion for each other.
Thank you. Good night, Canton. And good night, Denmark.