Kickers never seem to get the respect they deserve…whether it’s in a game, season, or when it comes to induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. It took forever for punter Ray Guy and kicker Jan Stenerud to get in. This year, it is the fourth year that the NFL’s all-time leading scorer and the greatest kicker in NFL history Morten Andersen is on the Hall of Fame ballot.
Playing a quarter of a century, being on two all-decade teams, and scoring more points than any player in NFL history should be enough for Andersen to get in…at least you would think so. Shockingly enough, he’s not in yet. Andersen joined me on The Jake Brown Show on CBS Radio’s Play.it to talk about his chances to get in on Saturday when the 2017 Hall of Fame class will be announced in Houston.
“I get good vibes but I have good vibes every year, I’m a positive guy so it’s gonna take a lot to get me down it’s really not worth it to get too upset about it,” said Andersen. “You’ve got to realize there’s 14 other guys who are deserving who are gonna be in that room under discussion so man I’m just honored to be one of those guys, it sounds a little bit like a company line but eventually they’re gonna be tired of looking at my name in that room and say we haven’t brought him through yet maybe it’s time so as long as I’m still in the room and apart of the conversation on Saturday before the Super Bowl that’s a good thing.”
The timing could not be more perfect if Andersen indeed gets inducted this weekend. His former team, the Atlanta Falcons, will play Sunday in just their second Super Bowl in franchise history. Andersen kicked the 1998 Falcons team to their only Super Bowl prior in 1999. If he’s inducted, Andersen will be at the game against the Patriots Sunday.
“I think the timing would be really good this year,” said Andersen. “I think the field lends itself to someone like myself who maybe hasn’t been in the final discussion a lot the previous years where you had a Brett Favre, had guys who were kind of slam dunks so I think this year might lend itself to at least some of the voters taking a look and saying you know this guy is a strong candidate and we’re gonna vote for him so that’s kind of what I’m hoping I don’t have a lot of room for negative feelings or bitterness I don’t have a lot of use for it it’s negative energy for me I choose to focus on having a good time in Houston and enjoying the process. I know lots of friends from down there and lots of colleagues who I’ve played with and played against so it’ll be a good time like a reunion so I’m not really sweating it but it would be awesome if it happens obviously.”
Unfortunately, special teams players have not got the love they deserved when it comes to a trip to Canton. Andersen isn’t a fan of calling their position ‘specialists’ as every position is ‘specialized.’
“It’s been how long since Jan Stenerud went in and it took Ray Guy over 20 years to get in…23 years and he went in as a senior selection so it’s not like the voters are eager to put us in,” Andersen said. “I hope it changes. I hope it opens the door for more guys who are qualified and who are considered some of the greatest in the game regardless of what position you play. I think it’s important to mention that they call us specialists but the game of football is so specialized now that it’s hard to really point to one position and say that position is not a specialized position. You have pass rushers to come in on third down, you have nickelbacks, you have all kinds of players on both sides of the ball who are very good in one or two things and are brought in to play situational football and it’s the same with the kicking position, the punting position and the long snapping position. We’re brought in we have a certain set of demands set on us and a certain skillset.
“So, I’d like to move the conversation away from us being called different from the rest just because our knuckles are not in the ground. I’d like to see us just be treated as human beings of course, but as football players because we do contribute, we put points on the board. I never felt I wasn’t apart of the team. I felt I was one of the leaders on and off the field and I felt I contributed as much as the next guy and I felt that my teammates felt the same way and so I think the conversation needs to move towards a more broader understanding that the kicking position is really a viable football position and it’s treated as such.”
Andersen also spoke about the Falcons Super Bowl run, the city of Atlanta, and he tells an incredible story of the time he kicked field goals on the beach last year in a speedo. You can hear the entire podcast here or by searching for The Jake Brown Show on iTunes Podcasts, Spotify, and Stitcher.
Jake Brown is the Digital Program Manager at CBS Sports Radio and a columnist for CBS Sports Radio, CBS Local Sports, and CBS Local. You can catch him on The Jake Brown Show on CBS Radio’s Play.it, iTunes, and Spotify. It’s a weekly sports show mixed in with a bit of entertainment and interviews as well every week. He occasionally hosts SportsTalk1240 on WGBB in Long Island, and formerly hosted Brown and Scoop, Brown and Troupe, and on ESPN Radio NH. Jake lives in Queens and being a Mets fan is finally paying off.