In my memory, there’s almost an aura around the kick that pushed the Atlanta Falcons into their first Super Bowl ever. It tumbled dramatically end over end, traveled the distance between galaxies, and made it over the crossbar just at the moment I went to college for the first time. It is a moment that hangs in the amber of eternity for me, and it always will.
Watching Morten Andersen’s 38 yard field goal now, knowing the outcome, a lot of the drama is sucked out of the moment. It looks like what it was: A fairly simple field goal, albeit under extremely pressure-packed circumstances. It was perhaps the biggest kick of Andersen’s career, and one of the highlights everyone will mention when he’s inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame later today, but it doesn’t explain on its own how Andersen got here.
That you have to leave to the numbers, which are fairly incredible. Andersen entered the league as a 22-year-old Dane for the New Orleans Saints, and he left the NFL a 47-year-old Dane for the Atlanta Falcons who hit a career high 89.3% of his field goals in 2007. During the 25 years in between, Andersen led the NFL in field goals attempted twice, field goal percentage once, and generally put together one of the most remarkable special teams careers in league history. His percentages for field goals don’t look phenomenal now, but they were at least good during his entire run before hyper-accurate, strong-legged kickers took over the NFL, and y’know, he kicked the Falcons to a Super Bowl. He’s a true legend.
The Falcons have been remarkably lucky in their history to have two historically great kickers between Andersen, who had two long stints with the team, and now Matt Bryant, among the most accurate kickers in NFL history. Bryant’s Hall of Fame case will have to wait, but thankfully Andersen’s already there, becoming the third Falcon in recent years to make it to Canton, alongside Deion Sanders and Claude Humphrey.
Below, I’ve added the info for the induction ceremony, if you’d like to watch. Congratulations to one of the best ever to do it!
NFL Hall of Fame Ceremony
Location: Pro Football Hall of Fame, Canton, Ohio
Time: Saturday, August 5, 7 p.m. EST
TV Channel: NFL Network