Atlanta Falcons: 15 best free agent acquisitions of all-time

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Morten Andersen, Atlanta Falcons
31 Jan 1999: Kicker Morten Andersen #5 of the Atlanta Falcons in action during the Super Bowl XXXIII Game against the Denver Broncos at the Pro Player Stadium in Miami, Florida. The Broncos defeated the Falcons 34-19. /

Morten Andersen. 4. player. 44. . K. (1995-00, 2006-07)

Morten Andersen is a Pro Football Hall of Fame placekicker, a seven-time Pro Bowler and a six-time All-Pro. The Danish left-footed kicker first starred in college at Michigan State before being a fourth-round pick by the New Orleans Saints in the 1982 NFL Draft.

Andersen spent his first 13 NFL seasons playing for the Falcons’ biggest rival. He made his first six Pro Bowls and his first five All-Pro teams as a member of the Saints. Andersen was there for the entire Dome Patrol experience and the peak of the Jim Mora era in New Orleans. However, playoff success had avoided him and the Saints during his entire time with the club.

The Saints released their all-time leader scoring leader after the 1994 NFL season because the organization believed his accuracy was slipping. Atlanta swooped in and signed him as a free agent. Andersen would go on to kick for the Falcons for the rest of the decade.

Statistically, his first season with the Falcons in 1995 was his best one. He made the Pro Bowl and was First-Team All-Pro for the final time of his illustrious football career. Andersen made 31-of-37 kicks that fall, including three 50-yard tries against the Saints in December. That was the first time in NFL history that a kicker made that many 50-yard field goals in a game. Atlanta made the NFC playoffs that season, too.

In a career littered with so many field goals and extra points, Andersen’s most famous kick came in the 1998 NFC Championship versus the Minnesota Vikings at the old Metrodome in Minneapolis.

After the Vikings’ star kicker Gary Anderson missed an easy 39-yard field goal that would have put Minnesota up 10 with just over two minutes left in the game, Andersen would deliver a game-winning 38-yard field goal to send the Falcons to the Super Bowl in overtime.

It was the signature moment of an outstanding NFL career for Andersen. That kick might have been the make that sealed his inevitable Canton enshrinement, but Andersen was far from done kicking professionally.

Even though the Saints thought he was washed up towards the end of 1994, Anderson kicked in the NFL through the 2007 NFL season. He spent time with the New York Giants (2001), the Kansas City Chiefs (2002-03) and the Vikings (2004) before returning to the Falcons as a free agent in 2006. Andersen kicked with the team through the miserable 2007 NFL season before retiring.

Simply put, Andersen is on the Mount Rushmore of NFL kickers. Though Matt Bryant has put up better numbers than him in Falcons uniform, Andersen earned a gold jacket as a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2017. Maybe one day he will have a spot on the Falcons Ring of Honor? It’s been a long time coming. Uncle Arthur, make it happen.