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Falcons, Saints Legend Has Powerful Message for NFL Rookies
22nd April, 22:52Getty Former New Orleans Saints/Falcons kicker Morten Andersen.
Only the best will fulfill their dream of playing for the National Football League beginning tomorrow through Sunday. From there, only the absolute will continue to do great things for themselves and win All-Pro or hopefully a Super Bowl ring. From there only the ABSOLUTE best of the best will leave behind a legacy and get inducted into the National Football League Hall of Fame.
It's not just a survival of the fittest.
The "Great Dane" so they call him, is one of three kickers thus far to have left behind a legacy in the NFL and inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame.
The Falcons and Saints legend, Morten Andersen sat down with Heavy.com and shared a powerful message for players transitioning from the college level to the NFL.
"It's a sprint NOT a marathon. Understand it's a marathon it's not a sprint, Andersen said. The NFL season is a lot longer than college and it's big business. You can't get too up, you can't get too down. You have to find that rhythm and you have to be consistent. If you want to stay in the league you have to be consistently great every week or another person will take your job.
There are two ways to get your team better -- get better players or get the players you have better. Two options. And so if you want to be in the category where you become indispensable How do you do that? You have to be obsessed about preparation and performance and finding new ways and being so vigilant about protecting your spot on the roster. Because there's only a finite amount of roster spots.
If you can't do it, there are a thousand guys just like you who will, who can, who want to. That's the real world."
Andersen's story is far from the ordinary that most players who grow up playing Pop Warner Ball.
The Great Dane was raised in Denmark where he was a gymnast, a long jumper, and a soccer player. He visited America in 1977 where he kicked his first football and instantly made 100 new friends. All it took was one impressive season for Michigan State to offer him a free ride.
Andersen's NFL career began in 1982, a fourth-round pick for the Saints. He spent a total of 13 seasons in New Orlean and eight seasons as an Atlanta Falcon.
At 47-years-old, the legendary kicker retired in 2008 with 806 points and still the most in Falcons' history. He ended his career making an average of 82.1 percent of his goal attempts and 99.2 percent of his extra points. He was also a seven-time Pro Bowler and three-time All-Pro player. The most memorable kick in Falcons' franchise history is still Andersen's 38-yard field goal against the Minnesota Vikings to send the Falcons to their first-ever Super Bowl appearance in 1998.
In 2017 Andersen's shrine was added among the other 300 NFL Legends in Canton. In 2019, Andersen became a United States Citizen.
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Well right now, at this moment in quarantine...Andersen is either getting lucky playing Yahtzee with his wife, on the tennis court, or tossing back a cold one binge-watching Ozark.
In addition to all of that, Andersen has recently become the Global Ambassador for iGaming developer Better Collective. His plan is to he use his 25 years of NFL experience to help grow the betting industry's brands in the U.S. such as Bet Pennsylvania.
Andersen strongly believes sports betting is a great and unique way for the NFL to connect with its fan base.
"For me it's entertainment. I'm a casual better, Andersen said. So, it's not something I do for a living. I look at it as entertainment, sorta like going to see a movie. Sometimes the movie is good and sometimes the movie is not good. I think what's very unique about Better Collective's model is that they empower the igamer and they try to help and lift the betting community out of the darkness from and away from these offshore bookies that had the power before."
Bet-PA's mission is to bring online bookies and casinos to gamers in a completely transparent way.
Andersen is also busy continuing to do his part in helping the next generation of football players and continue to build his legacy by providing private kicking lessons.