Andersen takes over record from Gary Anderson
ATLANTA -- Morten Andersen threw both hands in the air, then leaped into the arms of his holder.
With the simplest of kicks, the Great Dane became the greatest scorer in NFL history.
The native of Denmark has 2,437 points in his 24-year career. Anderson held the previous record of 2,434 points.
"I hope Gary Anderson is fly fishing in Canada for a long time," Andersen quipped. "I hope he's not coming back anytime soon. My congratulations to Gary for setting the bar. My job is to set it even higher."
The Danish minister of culture sent a telegram to the country's most famous American-style football player.
"It may be a pretty big deal back there," Andersen said. "I'm proud to be Danish. I hope they're celebrating back home tonight, or actually this morning," considering the six-hour time difference.
Andersen wasn't in much of a mood to celebrate, however. The Falcons (7-7) took a devastating loss in the NFC wild-card race and will likely have to win their final two games to have any chance of making the playoffs.
"It's tough to talk about individual records when you lose the football game," he said. "This is bittersweet for me. My priority is to win the football game, and I wasn't a factor tonight."
Andersen trotted on the field as he's done so many since entering the league in 1982, setting up for the chip-shot of an extra point from 20 yard away. As soon as the ball went through the uprights, the celebration was on.
The kicker thrust both arms toward the roof of the Georgia Dome before jumping into the arms of holder Matt Schaub. Andersen received a standing ovation from the crowd as he trotted toward the sideline, where he was mobbed by coach Jim Mora and the rest of the team.
The previous week at Tampa Bay, Andersen tied another of Anderson's records with his 538th career field goal.
Andersen signed with the Falcons before Week 3, becoming the second-oldest player in NFL history behind George Blanda. The Atlanta kicker had made 538 of 679 field-goal attempts and all but 10 of his 832 extra-point tries.
In the days leading up the game, Andersen refused to discuss the record. He said there was nothing to talk about until he got the mark.
But Andersen admitted that setting the record was one of the reasons he kept working out, even while missing the entire 2005 season because no team offered him a job. He also wants to win his first Super Bowl championship and become the league's oldest player.
Blanda played until he was 48.
"My next goal is to play until I'm 50," he said. "It's a goal I'm serious about. I know people snicker at it. They've been snickering at it for 10 years now. But if I can play at a high level and stay healthy, I think I can do it."
While he no longer has the leg strength of his prime, the left-footed kicker has been an accurate weapon for the Falcons. He has made 18 of 21 field goals, and pushed his perfect mark on extra points to 25 in a row.
Andersen has scored in 344 consecutive games, a streak that dates to Dec. 4, 1983.
"I'm proud of everything," he said, "but it's bittersweet."
Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press
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