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Morten Andersen ... Still Kicking


THE NFL'S ALLTIME leading scorer is back. After rookie Matt Prater missed two field goal attempts on Sept. 16, the Falcons signed old (he's 47) reliable, Morten Andersen. He made his 542nd career field goal in a 27--20 loss to the Panthers on Sunday, while raising his point total to 2,453. And there's plenty of twilight left: Andersen wants to play until he's 50.

Where he was when the Falcons called
In my basement [outside Atlanta] with my neighbor watching football, relaxing, chatting, having a cold one. I saw [the missed kicks], and then the phone rang. I had a workout Monday afternoon, signed a contract Monday evening.

The old-man jokes
Diagrams of crutches and a wheelchair were put in my locker. All kinds of jokes circulated, like, "Morten cried during Jurassic Park—it brought back memories." Everyone takes a shot; it makes them feel better about their own age. I don't mind. I could be on the couch like most 47-year-olds.

On Atlanta coach Bobby Petrino, who's seven months younger
I brought it up right away—to make sure he knew who had seniority.

Caring for his foot and body
I get a pedicure once in a while—when my wife [Jennifer] says it's time. I get acupuncture a couple of times a week, and I get massage therapy. They'll work the ankles, make sure they're not locked up. There are so many bones in the foot, you need to make sure they're all aligned.

Preparing for pressure kicks
I do mental training throughout the week. I take myself through specific game situations so when they come up I've rehearsed them. Before the snap you're in real time. Then right after the snap, that 1.2 or 1.3 seconds that you're actually out there on your work bench, time slows. You see the ball clearly, you see everything in slow motion. Then you complete the kick, and it switches back to real time. You come out of your little egg. It's amazing. You hear the noise; your sense of smell comes back. Then you see your teammates charging you.

On being released by the Saints because he was washed 1995
That theory was blown out of the water when I came to the Falcons and set records for most 50-yard field goals in a game, a season and a career.

On aches and pains
It takes me longer to warm up and get ready to practice than it used to, especially if it's cold. I make sure my core temperature is warm first. I don't leave anything to chance anymore.

Football in his native Denmark
It's becoming more and more popular. TV 2 Denmark shows games, and I blog on their website. Football's gone from cult status to mainstream. They're embracing it because it's a great, explosive game and also because there's an NFL player from their country.

On keeping Danish traditions with his wife and his son, Sebastian
We have a Danish Christmas. On Christmas Eve we dance around the tree, hold hands, sing carols. There are real candles on the tree. In Denmark they leave clogs outside the door instead of stockings, but we use stockings.

His favorite hobby
I'm a wine nerd. I have a cellar with 1,700 bottles, and my family has a vineyard in southern France, in Languedoc. Well, maybe not a vineyard; it's more like a house with some grapes. My twin brother [Jakob] and I have been going there for many, many years.