The great dane

BD alum becomes first Giant to enter NFL Hall of Fame

The great dane

Cory Vervynckt, Sports editor

Editors note: This story first appeared in our March 10 print issue.  It is reprinted here in honor of BD graduate Morten Andersen making the NFL Hall of Fame this weekend.

Morten Andersen is a retired NFL kicker, Ben Davis Alumni, Hall of Fame inductee and the NFL’s all time leading scorer. He is one of the most successful players in NFL history, amassing multiple NFL records and was inducted not only to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, but he was inducted to the Michigan State Hall of Fame, New Orleans Saints Hall of Fame and the Ben Davis Hall of Champions.

Andersen was born on August 19, 1960 in Copenhagen, Denmark. He started playing soccer when he was young as it is the most popular sport in Denmark. In 1977 he came to the USA with the Youth for Understanding exchange student program. Andersen moved in with Baker family in Chapel Glen. His host dad, former administrator Dale Baker, talked Morten into kicking a football as the team was in desperate need of a new kicker.

Head Coach Bob Wilbur was so impressed with Morten that he made him the new kicker, or as Morten put it, “They were flying pretty good and next thing I know I’m the new kicker.”

Andersen has credited the ten months he spent playing football at Ben Davis as the most important of his career.

“Those months were very formative for me, life changing in fact. I didn’t speak the language, I didn’t know the culture, the whole experience changed me as a person and a football player.” Andersen said.

After his season at Ben Davis Morten went to Michigan State University. Andersen starred at Michigan State setting several records including the Big Ten longest Field Goal he was also an All-American in 1981. Morten enjoyed his time in East Lansing he enjoyed the campus life, so much so that after his rookie season he came back to finish his degree.

Andersen was drafted by the Saints in the strike shortened 1982 season. He went on to play for the Falcons, Giants, Chiefs, Vikings and the Falcons again. Racking up multiple NFL records Andersen is regarded as one of the greatest kickers of all time. Not only did Andersen rack up stats, he hit many important kicks. Andersen said some of his most important were in his playoff runs with the Falcons and the Saints, “The NFC championship game winning kick sticks out in my mind, as does the game winner in my first playoff run with the Saints.” Andersen said.

Andersen retired in December of 2008 after a great 26 year career. He found out earlier this year that he’d be inducted into the Hall of Fame. The Saturday before the Super Bowl between the Falcons vs Patriots was when he’d find out.

“My wife and I were in the hotel room and we’d either get a phone call with bad news or a knock at the door with good news, luckily we got a knock at the door and it was the Vice President of the Pro Football Hall of Fame Dave Baker who shook my hand and told me, ‘Welcome to Canton.’” Andersen said.

After finding out Morten got to go out during the pregame ceremonies of Super Bowl 51 where he watched the Patriots historic 25 point comeback, “It was an implosion of epic proportions,” Andersen said on his former teams performance.

Although Andersen’s resume holds the NFL all time scoring record, Indianapolis Colts kicker Adam Vinatieri is currently on pace to break his record within the next two seasons.

Andersen voiced his opinion on the longitme kicker, “Records are made to be broken. Adam is a fantastic kicker and a fantastic person. He deserves it, plus it’d be nice to see another kicker associated with the Indianapolis area holding the record.” Andersen said on Vinatieri.

Now Morten is based out of Atlanta, he runs his own event planning company called Morten Andersen global. He plans mostly high profile golf outings. He also runs many youth foundations.

Morten Andersen will go down as one of the greatest kickers of all time. He holds numerous records, played in many high profile games, and is now a Hall of Fame inductee. He played a fantastic career and lived a phenomenal life. Ben Davis is proud to have such an accomplished alum grace our halls.