State Your Case: Morten Andersen


Photo courtesy of the New Orleans Saints

morten

(Photos courtesy of the New Orleans Saints)

By Clark Judge

Talk of Fame Network

The NBA’s leading all-time scorer is in the Hall of Fame. The NHL’s leading all-time scorer is in the Hall of Fame. Major-league baseball’s leading all-time scorer is in the Hall of Fame. And the NFL’s leading all-time scorer is … at home reading his mail?

We don’t make ‘em up, people. Former kicker Morten Andersen not only isn’t in the Hall; he’s never been discussed as one of its 10 annual finalists.

OK, so he’s been discussed, and that’s a step forward. But would someone please tell me why a guy who not only scored an NFL-record 2,544 career points but played in an NFL-record 382 games, nailed an NFL-record 565 field goals and is the leading career scorer for two teams – New Orleans and Atlanta – isn’t in Canton?

Detractors will tell you it’s because he’s a kicker, and, like it or not, there’s a prejudice among the Hall’s 46 selectors against special-teams performers. Furthermore, he kicked much of his career in domed stadiums, and voters will subtract points there, too.

Well, then, great. First of all, Jan Stenerud is in the Hall, and last time I checked he was a kicker. Second, I don’t care where he kicked. Andersen was good enough to be named to two all-decade teams, which means he was considered to be the best at his position for two decades.

Yeah, I’d call that remarkable.

But that’s not all. He was a seven-time Pro Bowler, a six-time All-Pro and someone who not only set 13 NFL records but was so reliable he was nicknamed “Mr. Automatic.” Yet he’s not good enough to get into Canton without a ticket? Please.

“I thought my numbers historically stack up against my peers and that I’ve been relevant at the position; that I changed the way people thought about the position,” he told the New Orleans Times-Picayune a year ago. “I’m very proud of what I’ve done.”

He should be.

He had a strong leg, once hitting a 60-yard field goal which was then the second longest in NFL history. He was accurate, nailing 80 percent of his kicks. And he was indefatigable, playing his last season when he was 47 … hitting a career-best 25 of 28 field goals with Atlanta.

But his career field-goal percentage isn’t enough to satisfy critics, who point to Andersen’s rank of 46th among all-time kickers. OK, so he ranks 46th. Stenerud ranks 96th. And you know where John Unitas ranks among quarterbacks? He’s tied at 76th with Jim McMahon and Bert Jones.

So I don’t care where Morten Andersen or John Unitas or any of the past greats rank now. I just care if they were among the best of their generation, and Morten Andersen was. Remember, he wasn’t named to one all-decade team. He was named to two.

The New Orleans Saints in 2009 get it. They inducted him into their Hall of Fame, then last month made him the fourth member of that team’s Ring of Honor.

Now Morten Andersen waits on Canton. Eligible for induction for three years, he’s been a finalist the last two – and that’s a good sign. But he hasn’t made the cut from 15 to 10, and until that happens let’s be honest: He’s not close to the Hall.

“I respect the process,” Andersen told the Times-Picayune. “If I’m lucky and worthy enough in the eyes of the committee, hopefully I’ll be back.”

Oh, he’ll be back. I have no doubt about that. What I want to know is: When will he be in?

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11 Comments

  1. Rasputin
    September 15, 2015
    Reply

    Clark, Since Gosselin didn’t deign to answer, I’ll try you. When will Chuck Howley, the most deserving senior era player not already enshrined in Canton, finally get his first shot at being discussed “in the room”? Or for that matter when will he at least get one of these “state your case” write ups?

    • September 16, 2015
      Reply

      We have written about Howley. Goose made a case for him last November (http://www.talkoffamenetwork.com/cowboys-fans-howl-for-howley/). As to when he gets his shots … that’s up to the senior committee. I know he’s one of candidates they discussed.

      • Rasputin
        September 16, 2015
        Reply

        No, I’ve already read that. It’s not a State Your Case piece, just a post-poll write up after readers here chose Chuck Howley as the most deserving Cowboy not in. I don’t think I’ve ever heard Dallas “representative” Gosselin talk about Howley unless it’s in direct response to a fan’s question (usually even then only fleetingly), or in a poll like this where he obviously had to be listed among others.

        • Rasputin
          September 17, 2015
          Reply

          I’ll add that Howley only gets a few lines of bio in that piece, which also devotes lines to Martin and Harris, both of whom do have their own State Your Case articles.

      • Rasputin
        September 16, 2015
        Reply

        Wait, to clarify, are you confirming that Howley was a senior finalist this year?

        • September 17, 2015
          Reply

          No

          • Rasputin
            September 17, 2015

            To further clarify, are you saying he wasn’t?

  2. Joe
    September 15, 2015
    Reply

    Clark what are Anderson’s chances of getting into the Final 10 for the Class of 2016?

    • September 15, 2015
      Reply

      Dont see it. Should make Final 15. But candidacy seems to die there. Board just not enamored with kickers … but think he will eventually make it.

  3. Stig Pedersen
    September 18, 2015
    Reply

    Morten is a stand-up guy, that I have met several times and have had lots of fun with.
    For me (as a Dane) it is weirs that this record-beating guy is not in H.O.F. it is simply bad judgement.

    Acknowledge a guy that comes and literally kick the but out of NFL as the most scoring player.
    Acknowledge the number of games
    Aknowledge the contribution to the game and his teams…

    NFL – this is the year, make it happen!

  4. bachslunch
    March 20, 2016
    Reply

    I’m glad Morten Andersen has been a finalist as I think he definitely deserves to be enshrined. He’ll wait a while, but should be elected sooner or later. Attempts to rank kickers by FG percentage adjusted for era I’ve seen show Andersen in the top 4 or 5 along with Jan Stenerud (in), Lou Groza (if they cover back that far, and he’s also in), Nick Lowery (should be in), and Gary Anderson (should be in).

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