Andersen named finalist for Pro Football Hall of Fame

Former Falcons kicker Morten Andersen, who made the field goal to send the franchise to its only Super Bowl appearance, was among the 15 finalists named for the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Class of 2014, the Hall of Fame announced on Thursday.

Although they have been nominees in previous years, this is the first time that Andersen and safety John Lynch, a former 9-time Pro Bowler, have been finalists.

Four first-year eligible nominees – linebacker Derrick Brooks, coach Tony Dungy, wide receiver Marvin Harrison and lineman Walter Jones – were among the 15 modern-era finalists who will be considered for election to the Pro Football Hall of Fame when the Hall’s Selection Committee meets in New York City on Saturday, Feb. 1, 2014.

The 15 modern-era finalists, along with the two senior nominees announced in August 2013 — former Oakland/Los Angeles Raiders punter, Ray Guy and Atlanta Falcons and Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Claude Humphrey — will be the only candidates considered for Hall of Fame.

Anderson, who made the Pro Bowl seven times, is the NFL’s all-time leading scoring with 2,544 points.

George Blanda, Lou “The Toe” Groza and Jan Stenerud are the only kickers in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.

Andersen, a native of Copenhagen, Denmark, was drafted by the Saints in the fourth round of the 1982 draft.

He played for the Saints (1982-94), Falcons (1995-2000, 2006-07), New York Giants (2001), Chiefs (2002-03) and Minnesota (2004).

The other finalists include running back Jerome Bettis, wide receiver Tim Brown, owner Edward DeBartlolo Jr., coach Tony Dungy, linebacker/defensive end Kevin Greene, defensive end/linebacker Charles Haley, wide receiver Marvin Harrison, wide receiver Andre Reed, guard Will Shields, defensive end Michael Strahan and cornerback Aeneas Williams.