Morten Andersen’s induction into the Hall of Fame was a celebration for specialists. He became the first kicker inducted since Jan Stenerud in 1991. Ray Guy became the first punter enshrined in 2014.
“I believe my induction sends a clear message that the position of the specialist is important, relevant and undeniable,” Andersen said. “Hopefully more will find their way into the Hall of Fame.”
Andersen recalled the first time he tried American football. He arrived in the United States 40 years ago as a cultural exchange student at Ben Davis High School in Indianapolis.
That’s when he was introduced to a new game.
“It was then I learned that the process of kicking a football is quite involved,” Andersen said. “Players from everywhere proceeded to line up in front of me. I was confused. What are they doing? Is that necessary? The guys are really big. They block my view of those funny-looking posts sticking up in the air. A smaller guy approached me and asked me if I was ready. He was licking his fingers. Should I do that too, I asked him? He looked at me confused and proceeded to kneel on the ground. ‘Red, set.’ It startled me. Up in front of us was not a pretty view either. There was a line of big derrieres and they were facing me. And from the middle of the mass, a ball came flying back to the little guy kneeling on the ground. He placed it vertical on a small black platform. I took a second look. ‘Oh, man, the ball was not round.’ I looked around for help. Anyone, anything? Coach [Bob] Wilbur came over and whispered to me, ‘Just kick the [expletive] out of it. And if you don’t, I’m sending you back on the boat.’ Message received. The ball flew high and through those white things, and I looked over at my teammates and I think they liked what they saw.”
Andersen stayed in the U.S., played at Michigan State and became a fourth-round pick of the Saints in 1982. He became the NFL’s all-time leading scorer in 2006, and ended his career with 2,544 points.
Andersen played for the Saints, Falcons, Giants, Chiefs and Vikings in his 25 seasons.