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Building Legends by Remembering Legends

Where are they now? Morten Andersen

After working for 25 years in the National Football League, no one would have blamed placekicking legend Morten Andersen for quietly retiring and enjoying the fruits of his labor. But that would have been contradictory to the style of “The Great Dane”, as he was known during his playing days for five NFL teams, most notably the New Orleans Saints and Atlanta Falcons.

Morten AndersenInstead, Andersen devoted his “retirement” to the start of his very own consulting company in 2008, Morten Andersen Global, which helps businesses from his homeland in Denmark crossover into the United States market. Along with consulting, Morten Andersen Global is involved in a myriad of other business affairs, such as VIP golf events, kicking consultations and motivational speaking, all of which Andersen leads.

Andersen flawlessly adapting from NFL kicker to CEO is a testament of his early life. Born and raised in Denmark, Andersen was a promising young soccer star with no aspirations toward American football. That all changed in 1977 when Andersen, as part of a foreign exchange program, left Denmark to start his senior year at Ben Davis high school in Indiana. Upon finding out that this new school, in a new country, did not field a soccer team, Andersen decided it was time he try a new sport. Even though Andersen had never kicked a football in his life, he wowed his coaches at the tryout by making 50-yard field goals with ease.

The ability to adapt to new surroundings, and even a new sport, shows the type of person Morten Andersen was at an early age. It was this type of character, combined with his kicking prowess that led to a full athletic scholarship at Michigan State University.

While attending Michigan State, Andersen flourished as the Spartans’ placekicker from 1978-1981. He was second-team All-Big Ten his sophomore and junior seasons, before being named an All-American his senior year. It was during this time in 1981 that Andersen separated himself from the rest of collegiate kicking by making a 63-yard field goal, a Big-Ten record that still “is good” today.

Andersen was not only a standout on the football field, but in the classroom as well. Choosing to double-major in Communications and German, it was no surprise to see Andersen on another All-American list, this time, for academics. After graduating from Michigan State with a 3.25 GPA and two degrees, Andersen was prepared for life without the NFL. But that life would have to wait 20 or so years, because in 1982, the New Orleans Saints drafted placekicker Morten Andersen in the fourth round of the NFL Draft.

In four short years, Andersen became one of the NFL’s perennial kickers, and a definite weapon for the New Orleans Saints. During the 1985 season, Andersen made an astonishing 31 of 35 field goal attempts, a feat that led to him making the Pro-Bowl and All-Pro team for the first time in his career. While some may consider these accolades a considerable accomplishment, Morten Andersen was only getting warmed up.

For the next nine years, Morten Andersen was a cult super-hero for the Saints. There was not a field goal too far, or a situation too tense for the man now known as “Mr. Automatic”, whose cool demeanor and Danish moxie captivated the city of New Orleans. He was the toast of a town that loved to raise its glass, and Andersen did not mind footing the bill, even saying “every night was like a rock concert.” Unfortunately all concerts must end, and Andersen’s career with the New Orleans Saints was no different. After the 1994 season, Andersen’s 13th in New Orleans, the organization allowed the five-time All-Pro to be signed as a free agent by the rival Atlanta Falcons. Even though Andersen was gone, he certainly did not allow himself to be forgotten in New Orleans, as he is the Saints all-time leader in: points scored (1,318), field goals made (302), point-after-touchdowns (412), and games played (196).

While he enjoyed the adulation during his tenure in New Orleans, Andersen knew he could do more to help those in need, and did. He attended black-tie charity events, raised money for the New Orleans Ballet, and even conducted a New Orleans Symphony to help their cause, which is one of his favorite memories. So it should come as no surprise, that almost 30 years later, Morten Andersen is still helping those in need. Along with his consulting business, Andersen also runs a non-profit corporation, The Morten Andersen Family Foundation, which focuses on supporting quality of life initiatives for the youth, servicemen and women, and their families.

25 years in the league, seven Pro-Bowl appearances, six All-Pro selections, the NFL all-time scoring record... None of these are Morten Andersen’s biggest accomplishment. No, his biggest accomplishment is inspiring those around him. Whether it was a children’s hospital during his career, where Andersen became such a source of motivation for the kids that he had to start visiting weekly, or his non- profit foundation, The Morten Andersen Family Foundation, which has raised over 300,000 dollars for various charities. If these credentials were Fame resume, then Morten Andersen is on the first ballot.

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