Top 50 Falcons: No. 21, Morten Andersen

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution is counting down the Top 50 players in Atlanta Falcons history during the franchise’s 50th anniversary season. No. 21 is placekicker Morten Andersen.

Years played for Falcons: The game’s all-time leading scorer, Morten Andersen out of Copenhagen, Denmark, served two stints with the Falcons. His most memorable coming from 1995 to 2000 and later, from 2006 to ‘07 when he retired. His record of 2,544 points still stands to this day. “The Great Dane” holds countless kicking records and his remarkable 25 years in the league with the most games ever played (382) are two records that will likely not be broken anytime soon.

Morten Andersen's 39-yard field goal in overtime against the Vikings in the NFC Championship game in Minnesota in 1998 sent Atlanta to its only ever Super Bowl appearance. (Marlene Karas / AJC)

Jersey No.: 5

His impact on the team: The Kick. One singular moment made his career unforgettable for Falcon fans. He made the most memorable kick in Falcons history when he nailed a 39-yarder in overtime to defeat the Vikings in the NFC Championship game in Minnesota in 1998, sending Atlanta to its only ever Super Bowl appearance. Andersen thought about trying to beat George Blanda’s record for being the oldest player to play in the NFL. Blanda retired when he was 48 but after the 2007 season, Andersen, then 47, did not receive any offers and retired. In his last NFL season, he made 25 of 28 field goals, which was the most accurate season of his career.

On breaking the NFL scoring record in Atlanta: “The game was on in Denmark and it was morning, and I know they were celebrating. We lost the game to Dallas, which bothered me because winning the game was always the first goal, but looking back it was something I never thought I would do. Gary had the record, and he had set an incredible bar."

On “The Kick”: “The night before I visualized a 39-yard kick from the left hash. I had been keeping logs for years on all my kicks and would go through them visually to prepare. To me the kick was a forgone conclusion. It was in my wheelhouse, and I had great trust in my holder and protection. I saw everyone on the sidelines holding hands as they had a great deal of anxiety because they were not in control of the situation."

On his chances of getting into the Hall of Fame: “I was just up there and when you play in the league 25 years you either played with them, against them or they coached you. I have been a finalist for the last two years, and it would be a huge honor. There are a lot of deserving players, and at the end of the day I hope I get in that room."

Where he is now: Now 55, Andersen lives on Lake Lanier with his family. He has been married to Jennifer for 18 years and they have two sons, Sebastian, who is a linebacker at Lanier High School, and Aiden. He started Morten Andersen Global in 2008, a business-to-business consulting company, is a brand ambassador and does a lot of public speaking.

The countdown to the Top 50 players in Falcons history runs through the end of the season.

Top 50 Falcons Countdown

50: Chuck Smith

49: Michael Haynes

48: Jonathan Babineaux

47: John Zook

46: Ken Reaves

45: Lynn Cain

44: Justin Blalock

43: Bobby Butler

42: Tim Mazzetti

41: Buddy Curry

40: Scott Case

39: Jeff Merrow

38: Elbert Shelley

37: Matt Bryant

36: Alge Crumpler

35: Michael Turner

34: Ray Buchanan

33: Chris Hinton

32: Terance Mathis

31: Devin Hester

30: Don Smith

29: Greg Brezina

28: Chris Miller

27: John James

26: Bob Whitfield

25: Rolland Lawrence

24: Alfred Jenkins

23: Billy Johnson

22: Chris Chandler

21: Morten Andersen

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