Gridiron fans across Denmark were jubilant today as news trickled in from across the Atlantic that the nation’s first and only NFL player, Morten Andersen, has been selected to enter the prestigious NFL Hall of Fame (HOF).
Andersen, who made the final cut in his fifth year of eligibility and will become just the fifth kicker to make the HOF, is joined by Terrell Davis, Jason Taylor, Kurt Warner and LaDainian Tomlinson in the class of 2017, along with committee inductees Kenny Easley and Jerry Jones.
“The five remaining finalists – Andersen, Davis, Taylor, Tomlinson and Warner – were then voted on individually and all five received the necessary 80 percent positive vote from the Selection Committee to be elected,” the HOF revealed.
“Andersen, Davis, Easley, Jones, Taylor, Tomlinson and Warner will be formally enshrined into the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Saturday 5 August 2017. The Enshrinement Ceremony takes place at the new Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton and will be televised nationally by NFL Network and ESPN.”
Uphill for ‘Morton’
Despite being the leading point scorer in NFL history, the owner of numerous other records and being named on two all-decade teams in the 80s and 90s – which pretty much means you are the best at what you do for 20 years – induction into the HOF wasn’t an automatic formality for ‘Mr Automatic’.
Copenhagen-born Andersen, who was raised in Struer, Jutland, fell at the final hurdle for three straight years as he made the final nominee list in 2014-2016 but was not one of the chosen few to be inducted into the HOF classes of those years.
Further salt was added to the wound last year when the NFL misspelled his name (Morton instead of Morten) on its official 18-player shortlist.
But in a career that spanned 25 years from 1982-2007 and included memorable stints with the New Orleans Saints, Atlanta Falcons (twice), New York Giants, Kansas City Chiefs and the Minnesota Vikings, the HOF committee couldn’t avoid ‘The Great Dane’ forever.
Footing Falcon glory
Andersen reached a Super Bowl just once, losing out with the Falcons to his HOF class mate Terrell Davis and the Denver Broncos 19-34 back in 1999 in Super Bowl XXXIII. In the Falcons’ previous game, Andersen enjoyed his perhaps greatest moment, nailing a 38-yard field goal in overtime to beat the Vikings and lead the Falcons to their first ever Super Bowl appearance (see video below – where his name is misspelled again! (Anderson)).
The timing of Andersen’s HOF nomination couldn’t be more fitting. Tonight, in Houston, the Falcons will take the field against the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LI for only their second ever appearance.
Andersen and the rest of the class of 2017 will be officially inducted on August 5 at the Enshrinement Ceremony at the Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton, Ohio.