The 300: #24 Morten Andersen

Kickers are always a controversial choice in any list like this, but how could we ignore this guy?

NFL CAREER

New Orleans Saints (1982-1994)

Atlanta Falcons (1995-2000, 2006-2008)

New York Giants (2001)

Kansas City Chiefs (2002-2003)

Minnesota Vikings (2004)

 

POSITION

Kicker

 

WHY IS HE IMPORTANT?

In February this year the Hall of Fame electors did the unthinkable and selected Morten Andersen at the head of the Class of 2017. It signified a shift in the approach of the Hall, which had previously only ever elected one kicker (Jan Stenerud  in 1991) and which had only elected punter Ray Guy as a senior candidate rather than from the general pool of players available.

Andersen was, by any measure, a worthy candidate for election. The life of an NFL kicker, as many have found already this season, is a precarious one, where one bad game can cost you your job. Andersen managed a career which spanned three decades, kicked for his first team for twelve seasons and only retired due to long term injury problems. At that time he held the record for most points scored in the NFL and was only days away from becoming the oldest player to appear in an NFL game.

Andersen’s career was all the more remarkable for the fact that he grew up knowing nothing of the NFL. Born and raised in Denmark, he only came across the game on a cultural exchange to a school in Indianapolis. There, his kicking in just one season was enough to earn him a scholarship to Michigan State University. The rest, as they say, was history.

Although Andersen’s leg strength declined noticeably towards the end of his career, the simple fact is that NFL franchises don’t sign veteran players at any position if there is a younger and just as good alternative out there. And for 25 seasons Andersen was up there with the best of the best – the Falcons even brought him back from a season in NFL Europe in 2006. He definitely deserves his spot on our list.

Richard O’Hagan

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Richard O'Hagan
Writer on such diverse topics as sport, music, theatre, law and politics. Author of 'Eddie the Sheep'. Supporter of underachieving teams, including the Chicago Bears from before that brief, heady, period in the mid-1980s when they were actually any good. All I want for Christmas is a Jim McMahon away shirt.
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    Kickers are always a controversial choice in any list like this, but how could we ignore this guy? NFL CAREER New Orleans Saints (1982-1994) Atlanta F
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