At the time of his retirement in 2007, Morten Andersen was widely considered the greatest placekicker of all time. Consistency and longevity were the hallmarks of his Hall of Fame career. Anderson retired with countless records, not only as a kicker but in categories with statistics and milestones that set the bar for the history of the game, regardless of position. He retired as the all time leading scorer in NFL history. He left the sport having appeared in the most games in NFL history and a wide range of other records.
Andersen left the New Orleans Saints as the team’s all-time leading scorer, joined the Atlanta Falcons and by the time of his departure became that team’s all time leading scorer.
By the time he finally retired after an astonishing 25 seasons in the league, “The Great Dane” was a five-time First Team All-Pro, a seven time Pro Bowler and a member of both the 1980s and 1990s NFL All Decade Teams.
In September of 2020, he launched a new sports gambling podcast with the Vegas Insider Podcast network called Great Dane Nation.
In our latest Q&A, we recently chatted with one of the most interesting men in NFL history.
Tony Reid-You have a very cool and unique autograph with the smiley face inside your “A” in Andersen. How did that come to be?
Morten Andersen-I used to just sign Morten Andersen but now in the ‘A’ I put a smiley face in my autograph. I didn’t used to do that but the reason I do it now is to honor a teammate who passed away pretty young. Dave Waymer was a cornerback for the Saints. He used to sign his name and he put a smiley face in the ‘D’ in his name. He passed away in front of his family doing sit-ups one morning. He had a massive heart attack and passed. I wanted to honor him and I decided to carry on the tradition of Dave Waymer’s signing a smiley face in one of the letters of his name. I do a big, looping ‘A’ there is plenty of room. It looks like a big head, like I have anyway.
TR-You spent a mind blowing 25 years in the NFL. What is your most memorable fan interaction over the years?
MA-A kid came up with a bicycle. He wanted me to sign his bicycle. He put the whole bike up on the table. That was one of the more unique items I’ve signed. People are pretty respectful and it’s pretty easy to know if people are collectors or if they just want to profit from your signature. I work with a merchandise company Radtke Sports. We have a hologram on our items to authenticate everything. We know if there are any frauds or items that are not authentic. We are able to spot that pretty quickly. It’s massive. The amount of people that try to get away with stuff in that space is pretty rampant. You have to protect yourself and your brand. We do it with holograms and we can authenticate any signature that people claim is mine. I would know pretty quickly whether it is or isn’t. That is one aspect of the business that is pretty shady. You do the best you can.
TR-Do you still receive fan mail to this day?
MA-I do get mail. I probably get from five to ten letters a day with autograph requests. They donate to my family’s foundation and that is perfectly fine. We ask for a minimum donation of $25. Then I am happy to sign an item for them. We can authenticate it that way, too. I am on Cameo, too. The requests there have grown as well for video greetings and things like that. It’s been a lot of fun.
TR-Your rookie card was in the 1984 Topps set. Do you remember seeing yourself on a card for the first time?
MA-I think it was the card you are talking about. There is a sense that you arrived just because you are seeing it right there in front of you. That is kind of cool. I knew there were a bunch of cards out there that started to come out in the 80’s. The more you play the more cards there are of you. Now we have the Hall of Fame cards which are pretty cool, too.
TR– In the official database you have a total of 621 different cards available. What are your thoughts when you hear that number?
MA-I did not know that. That is amazing. Wow.
TR-The card companies would always send the players piles of cards back in the day. Did you manage to hold on to any of those cards?
MA-I do have a lot of the cards in my office. A ton of them. Topps will send you the whole set. We had deals when I played through the group licensing agreement with the NFLPA. Now I have a separate deal with Panini. That is more of an exclusive Hall of Fame deal. It’s fun to look at the old cards. If I have extra ones I will share it with a charity that needs and item or with a sick child. We try to help out as much as we can.
TR- You are a 7x Pro Bowler, a 2x Golden Toe, a 5x First Team All-Pro, an NFL All-Decade Team member for both the 1980s and 1990s. The list of accolades is endless. Do you have an office or mancave or area where you have memorabilia from your career displayed?
MA-I do have a sports bar in my basement. I have a lot of jerseys, a lot of helmets, a lot of footballs and a lot of different items from over the years. I used to have a sports bar in New Orleans. We gathered a lot of sports memorabilia. We had a lot of fun with it. I have kept a lot of that stuff. I have a Walter Payton jersey that he had signed for me. I did some Pro Bowls with Walter. That one is my most prized possession. That means a ton. He was a great player and a great man. That one is pretty treasured.
TR-Being a huge Chicago Bears and Walter Payton fan, could you share a quick story form your times with Sweetness?
MA-He was a practical joker. He would always joke around when we took pictures at the Pro Bowl. He would wreak havoc in that situation. That poor photographer would be beside himself because Payton would move around and make fun of everybody. He was an amazing dude. Highly competitive in everything he did. He was a humanitarian. He did a lot of good things not only for Chicago but for the league. I played with the Saints when he broke Jim Brown’s all-time NFL rushing record. I was a part of that game. We played in Soldier Field and we got our butts beat pretty good. They stopped the game and gave him the ball. In typical fashion, he wanted none of it. He grabbed the ball and ran it over to the sideline. He motioned to everybody to get back on the field so we could get going here. It said everything you need to know about Walter Payton. He didn’t want any attention. He wanted to deflect all of that away from himself and keep playing. He is missed. He was an amazing guy.
TR– What is your proudest record or achievement?
MA-The longevity, having played 382 games, which is the most in NFL history and the 360 consecutive games scoring which is still an NFL record, I just don’t see that ever being broken. That’s 22 1/2 years without missing a game and without not scoring a point. That is a bunch. That one I’m pretty proud of. I think the longevity and playing at a high level for so long is the biggest thing.
TR– You did you look to for inspiration as a young player but also as you became a pro and star yourself?
MA-I was a big Muhammad Ali fan. I liked what he did and what he stood for, not only on the field but off the field. He was powerful. He made a huge difference. He made a tremendous difference for a lot of people wherever he went. I got to meet him once in New Orleans. It was really special. He was one of the guys I looked up to. A guy like Walter Payton was another one of those guys. He was just a gamer. He worked so hard and was so humble. As a kicker, Jan Stenerud was a big influence. The Gogolak Brothers were the soccer guys that started it but Jan took it to another level and made it a weapon. He was pretty special. Those are some of the guys.