2003 NFL season
The 2003 NFL season was the 84th regular season of the National Football League. Regular-season play was held from September 4, 2003, to December 28, 2003. Due to damage caused by the Cedar Fire, Qualcomm Stadium was used as an emergency shelter, thus the Miami Dolphins–San Diego Chargers regular-season match on October 27 was instead played at Sun Devil Stadium, the home field of the Arizona Cardinals; the playoffs began on January 3, 2004. The NFL title was won by the New England Patriots when they defeated the Carolina Panthers, 32–29, in Super Bowl XXXVIII at Reliant Stadium in Houston, Texas, on February 1; this was the last season until the 2016 NFL season where neither of the previous Super Bowl participants made the playoffs. If an onside kick inside the final five minutes of the game does not go 10 yards, goes out of bounds, or is touched illegally, the receiving team will have the option of accepting the penalty and getting the ball immediately; the kicking team was penalized, but had another chance to kick again from five yards back.
League officials encouraged networks to cut to a commercial break if an instant replay challenge review was initiated. Networks were not permitted to utilize those game stoppages for their prescribed commercial periods. Dick Hantak and Bob McElwee retired in the 2003 off-season. Hantak joined the league as a back judge in 1978, was assigned Super Bowl XVII in that position, he was promoted to referee in 1986, working Super Bowl XXVII. McElwee joined the NFL in 1976 as a line judge, became a referee in 1980, he was the referee for three Super Bowls: XXII, XXVIII, XXXIV. Walt Anderson and Pete Morelli were promoted to referee to replace McElwee. Cincinnati Bengals – Marvin Lewis. Dallas Cowboys – Bill Parcells. Detroit Lions – Steve Mariucci. Jacksonville Jaguars – Jack Del Rio. San Francisco 49ers – Dennis Erickson. Philadelphia Eagles – New stadium: Lincoln Financial Field. New Orleans Saints – New AstroPlay home turf by mid-season Atlanta Falcons – New FieldTurf surface Green Bay Packers – New remodeled Lambeau Field Chicago Bears – New remodelled Soldier Field.
Buffalo Bills – New AstroPlay home turf Atlanta Falcons – New logo, new uniforms Detroit Lions – New uniforms, added black trim on logo and numbers Philadelphia Eagles – Added silver trim to numbers on uniforms. Introduce new home alternative uniforms. Black uniforms with white numbers with midnight green shadow in numbers. San Diego Chargers – White pants with road uniforms. New England Patriots – Added third alternative uniforms. Silver uniforms. Miami Dolphins – Added third alternate uniforms. Orange uniforms. Houston Texans – Added third alternate uniforms. Red Uniforms. Cleveland Browns – Added new alternate orange pants last worn in the Kardiac Kids era of coach Sam Rutigliano. Tennessee Titans – Added third alternate uniforms, powder blue Indianapolis finished ahead of Tennessee in the AFC South based on better head-to-head record. Denver clinched the AFC 6 seed instead of Miami based on better conference record. Buffalo finished ahead of N. Y. Jets in the AFC East based on better division record.
Jacksonville finished ahead of Houston in the AFC South based on better division record. Oakland finished ahead of San Diego in the AFC West based on better conference record. Philadelphia clinched the NFC 1 seed instead of St. Louis based on better conference record. Seattle clinched the NFC 5 seed instead of Dallas based on strength of victory. Within each conference, the four division winners and the two wild card teams qualified for the playoffs; the four division winners are seeded 1 through 4 based on their overall won-lost-tied record, the wild card teams are seeded 5 and 6. The NFL does not use a fixed bracket playoff system, there are no restrictions regarding teams from the same division matching up in any round. In the first round, dubbed the wild-card playoffs or wild-card weekend, the third-seeded division winner hosts the sixth seed wild card, the fourth seed hosts the fifth; the 1 and 2 seeds from each conference receive a bye in the first round. In the second round, the divisional playoffs, the number 1 seed hosts the worst surviving seed from the first round, while the number 2 seed will play the other team.
The two surviving teams from each conference's divisional playoff games meet in the respective AFC and NFC Conference Championship games, hosted by the higher seed. Although the Super Bowl, the fourth and final round of the playoffs, is played at a neutral site, the designated home team is based on an annual rotation by conference. * Indicates overtime victory ** Indicates double overtime victory The following teams and players set all-time NFL records during the season: The 2003 NFL Draft was held from April 26 to 27, 2003 at New York City's Theater at Madison Square Garden. With the first pick, the Cincinnati Bengals selected quarterback Carson Palmer from the University of Southern California. NFL Record and Fact Book NFL History 2001– Total Football: The Official Encyclopedia of the National Football League Football Outsiders 2003 Team Efficiency Ratings Pro Football Reference.com – 2003
2001 NFL season
The 2001 NFL season was the 82nd regular season of the National Football League. In the wake of the September 11 attacks, the NFL's week 2 games were postponed and rescheduled to the weekend of January 6 and 7. In order to retain the full playoff format, all playoff games, including Super Bowl XXXVI, were rescheduled one week later; the New England Patriots won the Super Bowl, defeating the St. Louis Rams 20–17 at the Louisiana Superdome. Following a pattern set in 1999, the first week of the season was permanently moved to the weekend following Labor Day. With Super Bowls XXXVI-XXXVII scheduled for fixed dates, the league decided to eliminate the Super Bowl bye weeks for 2001 and 2002 to adjust. In the wake of the September 11 attacks, the games scheduled for September 16 and 17 were postponed and rescheduled to the weekend of January 6 and 7. In order to retain the full playoff format, all playoff games, including the Super Bowl, were rescheduled one week later; the season-ending Pro Bowl was moved to one week later.
This was the last season in which each conference had three divisions, as the conferences would be realigned to four divisions for the 2002 NFL season. Canceling the games scheduled for September 16 and 17 was considered and rejected since it would have canceled a home game for about half the teams, it would have resulted in an unequal number of games played: September 16 and 17 was to have been a bye for the San Diego Chargers, so that team would still have played 16 games that season and each of the other teams would have played only 15 games. As a result of rescheduling Week 2 as Week 17, the Pittsburgh Steelers ended up not playing a home game for the entire month of September; the ESPN Sunday Night Football game for that week was changed. It was scheduled to be Cleveland at Pittsburgh, but it was replaced with Philadelphia at Tampa Bay, seen as a more interesting matchup; the Eagles and Buccaneers would both rest their starters that night, would meet one week in the playoffs. In recognition of this, when NBC began airing Sunday Night Football in 2006, there would be no game scheduled for Weeks 11 to 17 – a game scheduled in the afternoon would be moved to the primetime slot, without stripping any teams of a primetime appearance.
This way of “flexible scheduling” would not be utilized at all in 2007, since 2008, it is only utilized in the final week. The games that made up Week 17 marked the latest regular season games to be played during what is traditionally defined as the "NFL season". Another scheduling change took place in October, when the Dallas Cowboys at Oakland Raiders game was moved from October 21 to 7 to accommodate a possible Oakland Athletics home playoff game on the 21st; the rescheduling ended up being unnecessary as the Athletics would not make it past the Division Series round. This was the only NFL season where every jersey had a patch to remember those who died on 9/11, while the New York Jets and New York Giants wore a patch to remember the firefighters who died; the season ended with Super Bowl XXXVI. Fumble recoveries will be awarded at the spot of the recovery, not where the player’s momentum carries him; this change was passed in response to two regular season games in 2000, Atlanta Falcons–Carolina Panthers and Oakland Raiders–Seattle Seahawks, in which a safety was awarded when a defensive player’s momentum in recovering a fumble carried him into his own end zone.
Taunting rules and roughing the passer will be enforced. Mike Pereira became the league's Director of Officiating, succeeding Jerry Seeman, who had served the role since 1991. Bill Leavy and Terry McAulay were promoted to referee. Phil Luckett returned to back judge, while another officiating crew was added in 2001 in preparation for the Houston Texans expansion team, the league's 32nd franchise, in 2002. Due to labor dispute, the regular NFL officials were locked out prior to the final week of the preseason. Replacement officials who had worked in college football or the Arena Football League officiated NFL games during the last preseason week and the first week of the regular season. A deal was reached before play resumed after the September 11 attacks. New Orleans Saints – Replaced their gold pants with black pants. Pittsburgh Steelers – New stadium: Heinz Field. San Diego Chargers – White pants with road uniforms. Denver Broncos – New stadium: Invesco Field. St. Louis Rams – New font for uniform numbers.
Philadelphia Eagles – New hard turf field, due to a cancelled preseason game scheduled against the Baltimore Ravens in which Ravens’ coach Brian Billick told officials of the NFL that he refused to have his team play on a slippery and bouncy turf field which he deemed unsafe. Buffalo Bills – Gregg Williams.
Trevor Deshea Townsend is a former cornerback in the National Football League, is the secondary coach for the Chicago Bears. He served as an assistant defensive backs coach for the Arizona Cardinals and the New York Giants, he played college football for the Alabama Crimson Tide and was selected by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the fourth round in the 1998 NFL Draft, played a season with the Indianapolis Colts. A native of Batesville, Townsend played high school football for the South Panola Tigers, where he was the teammate of fellow future Alabama Crimson Tide star Dwayne Rudd. Townsend played quarterback at South Panola and led the team to the 1993 Mississippi State 5A championship and an undefeated 15–0 record. Along with Rudd, Townsend continued his career in college at the University of Alabama where both became members of the Theta Delta Chapter of the Phi Beta Sigma fraternity, in 1995, he majored in business management. Townsend grew from a special teams player and nickel back, into a solid starter for the Pittsburgh Steelers at cornerback.
Townsend was known for his outside speed as a pass rusher. Townsend has recorded 322 tackles, 15.5 quarterback sacks and 18 interceptions during his twelve years as a Steeler. He had a key sack on Seattle quarterback Matt Hasselbeck during the final minutes of Super Bowl XL, which helped secure the Steelers eventual victory, he was re-signed by the Steelers as an unrestricted free agent in March 2006. During the 2008 season, Townsend accepted the reduced role from starting cornerback to the nickel package. In August 2010, Townsend joined the Indianapolis Colts. On November 9, 2010, he was waived by the Colts. For the season, Townsend played in eight Colts games with no starts, totaled 10 tackles and no interceptions or sacks. In February 2011, Townsend was hired as assistant defensive backs coach of the Arizona Cardinals, joining former coach Ray Horton. In January 2013, Townsend was hired as cornerbacks coach at Mississippi State University. On January 18, 2019, Townsend was named the defensive backs coach for the Chicago Bears, a position, renamed to secondary coach.
ESPN.com Deshea Townsend player card The Deshea Townsend Show on KDKA/CW
Alabama Crimson Tide football
The Alabama Crimson Tide football program represents the University of Alabama in the sport of American football. The team competes in the Football Bowl Subdivision of the National Collegiate Athletic Association and the Western Division of the Southeastern Conference; the team is coached by Nick Saban. The Crimson Tide is among the decorated football programs in NCAA history. Since beginning play in 1892, the program claims 17 national championships, including 12 wire-service national titles in the poll-era, five other titles before the poll-era. From 1958 to 1982, the team was led by Hall of Fame coach Paul "Bear" Bryant, who won six national championships with the program. Despite numerous national and conference championships, it was not until 2009 that an Alabama player received a Heisman Trophy, when running back Mark Ingram became the university's first winner. In 2015, Derrick Henry became the university's second Heisman winner. Alabama has 905 official victories in NCAA Division I, has won 31 conference championships and has made an NCAA-record 69 postseason bowl appearances.
Other NCAA records include 19 seasons with a 10 -- 0 start. The program has 34 seasons with 10 wins or more, has 41 bowl victories, both NCAA records. Alabama has completed 10 undefeated seasons; the Crimson Tide leads the SEC West Division with 14 division titles and 12 appearances in the SEC Championship Game. Alabama holds a winning record against former SEC school; the Associated Press ranks Alabama 4th in all-time final AP Poll appearances, with 53 through the 2015 season. Alabama plays its home games at Bryant -- Denny Stadium, located on the campus in Alabama. With a capacity of 101,821, Bryant-Denny is the 8th largest non-racing stadium in the world and the seventh largest stadium in the United States. Alabama has had 28 head coaches since organized football began in 1892. Adopting the nickname "Crimson Tide" after the 1907 season, the team has played more than 1,100 games in their 114 seasons. In that time, 12 coaches have led the Crimson Tide in postseason bowl games: Wallace Wade, Frank Thomas, Harold D.
"Red" Drew, Bear Bryant, Ray Perkins, Bill Curry, Gene Stallings, Mike DuBose, Dennis Franchione, Mike Shula, Joe Kines, Nick Saban. Eight of those coaches won conference championships: Wade, Drew, Curry, Stallings, DuBose, Saban. During their tenures, Thomas, Bryant and Saban all won national championships with the Crimson Tide. Of the 27 different head coaches who have led the Crimson Tide, Thomas and Stallings have been inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame; the current head coach is Nick Saban, hired in January 2007. National championships in NCAA FBS college football are debated as the NCAA does not award the championship. Despite not naming an official National Champion, the NCAA provides lists of championships awarded by organizations it recognizes. According to the official NCAA 2009 Division I Football Records Book, "During the last 138 years, there have been more than 30 selectors of national champions using polls, historical research and mathematical rating systems. Beginning in 1936, the Associated Press began the best-known and most circulated poll of sportswriters and broadcasters.
Before 1936, national champions were determined by historical research and retroactive ratings and polls. The criteria for being included in this historical list of poll selectors is that the poll be national in scope, either through distribution in newspaper, radio and/or computer online."Since World War II, Alabama only claims national championships awarded by the final AP Poll or the final Coaches' Poll. This policy is consistent with other FBS football programs with numerous national title claims, including Notre Dame, USC, Oklahoma. All national championships claimed by the University of Alabama were published in nationally syndicated newspapers and magazines, each of the national championship selectors, are cited in the Official 2010 NCAA FBS Record Book. In addition to the championships claimed by the university, the NCAA has listed Alabama as receiving a championship for the 1945, 1966, 1975, 1977 college football seasons. In Alabama's 1982 media guide, the last for Coach Bryant, 1934 is listed as the only national championship before Coach Bryant in a footnote about the school's SEC history.
In the 1980s, Alabama's Sports Information Director Wayne Atcheson started recognizing five pre-Bryant national championship teams by adding them to the University's Football Media Guide. According to Atcheson, he made the effort in the context of disputed titles being claimed by other schools, "to make Alabama football look the best it could look" to compete with the other claimants. Atcheson maintains; the University of Alabama 2009 Official Football Media Guide states that Alabama had 12 national championships prior to winning the 2010 BCS National Championship Game. The 2009, 2011, 2012, 2015, 2017 titles bring the total number of national championships claimed by Alabama to 17. Twelve of Alabama's national championships were awarded by the wire-services or by winning the BCS National Championship Game. In January 2013, CNN suggested that Alabama might be college football's new dynasty, in May 2013, Athlon Sports ranked Alabama's ongoing dynasty as the fourth-best since 1934, behind Oklahoma, Miami
A cornerback referred to as a corner or defensive halfback in older parlance, is a member of the defensive backfield or secondary in American and Canadian football. Cornerbacks cover receivers most of the time, to defend against offensive plays, i.e. create turnovers in best case or deflect a forward pass or rather make a tackle. Other members of the defensive backfield include the safeties and linebackers; the cornerback position requires speed and strength. A cornerback's skillset requires proficiency in anticipating the quarterback, executing single and zone coverage, disrupting pass routes, block shedding, tackling. Cornerbacks are among the fastest players on the field; the chief responsibility of the cornerback is to defend against the offense's pass. The rules of American professional football and American college football do not mandate starting position, movement, or coverage zones for any member of the defense. There are no "illegal defense". Cornerbacks can be anywhere on the defensive side of the line of scrimmage at the start of play, although their proximity and strategies are outlined by the coaching staff or captain.
Most modern National Football League defensive formations use four defensive backs. A cornerback's responsibilities vary depending on how the defense assigns protection to its defensive secondary. In terms of defending the run corners may be assigned to blitz depending on the coaching decisions in a game. In terms of defending passing plays, a corner will be assigned to either zone or man-to-man coverage; the most effective cornerbacks are called "lockdown corners", because they can cover an offensive receiver so on either side of the field, that the quarterback does not throw towards the receiver being covered by a "shutdown corner" any longer. A "shutdown corner" is most used to identify a cornerback that "lines up" on either side of the defensive zone of the field of play. In American football, "shutdown corner" is used to refer to only a few elite players. In zone coverage, the cornerback defends an assigned area of the field. Many schemes and variations were created to provide defensive coordinators great latitude and flexibility which aim to thwart offensive schemes.
When a team is using zone coverage, some areas of the field require special attention when defending against specific pass plays. They include the flats, mid range zones including the void, the deep zones; these are basic terms for the basic zones and routes which vary system to system, league to league, team to team. Advanced forms of coverage may involve "quarterback spies" and "containment" coverages, as well as various "on field adjustments" that require shifts and rotations. At this time the captain attempts to "read" the alignment of the offensive "skill players" in order to best predict and counter the play the offense will run, he will base his decision on past experience, game preparation, a sound comprehension of his teammates strengths and tendencies. These adjustments may change on a play by play basis, due to substitutions or evolving weather or field conditions. For example, defensive coordinators may favor a tendency to play a less aggressive containment style zone coverage during wet or slippery field conditions to avoid problems associated with over-pursuit.
The Cover 1 defense is an aggressive formation employed against offenses trying to gain short yardage. In the Cover 1 defense, one defender—normally a safety—plays deep zone downfield, providing security over the top and freeing the other safety to rush the line of scrimmage or drop back into coverage. Meanwhile, the corner's primary responsibility is to play on or off the receiver and not release him vertically. Defensive coordinators call for Cover 1 formations only when their cornerbacks are skilled at playing man-to-man coverage; the Cover 2 formation, which deploys four defensive backs in a "two-deep zone," is popular among NFL defensive coordinators because it uses two safeties to defend the deep routes instead of one. The safeties line up on or near their respective hashmarks between 11 and 15 yards off the line of scrimmage, while the cornerbacks line up around five yards from the wide receivers nearest to each sideline. With the safeties able to watch the play develop in front of them, the corners are free to pursue a more aggressive style of play.
In Cover 2, the cornerback is responsible for "containment," meaning that he is tasked with preventing any eligible receiver or ball carrier from running between him and the sideline. He funnels receivers toward the middle of the field and may physically "jam" them within five yards of the line of scrimmage in order to disrupt their assigned routes. If he determines that the offense is not attempting a running play or a pass into the flat, he drops back to defend the secondary; this is referred to as the "catch-and-run" technique. Cornerbacks mirror each other's zone responsibilities. However, sometimes they play a "man-up" style of bump-and-run cove
A linebacker is a playing position in American football and Canadian football. Linebackers are members of the defensive team, line up three to five yards behind the line of scrimmage, behind the defensive linemen, therefore "back up the line". Linebackers align themselves before the ball is snapped by standing upright in a "two-point stance"; the goal of the linebacker is to provide either extra run protection or extra pass protection based on the particular defensive play being executed. Another key play of the linebacker position is blitzing. A blitz occurs; when a blitz is called by the defense, it is to sack or hurry the opposing offense's quarterback. Linebackers are regarded as the most important position in defense, due to their versatility in providing hard hits on running plays or an additional layer of pass protection, when required. Similar to the "free safety" position, linebackers are required to use their judgment on every snap, to determine their role during that particular play.
Before the advent of the two-platoon system with separate units for offense and defense, the player, the team's center on offense was though not always, the team's linebacker on defense. Hence today one sees four defensive linemen to the offense's five or more. Most sources claim coach Fielding H. Yost and center Germany Schulz of the University of Michigan invented the position. Schulz was Yost's first linebacker in 1904. Yost came to see the wisdom in Schulz's innovation. William Dunn of Penn St. was another Western linebacker soon after Schulz. However, there are various historical claims tied to the linebacker position, including some before 1904. For example, Percy Given of Georgetown is another center with a claim to the title "first linebacker," standing up behind the line well before Schulz in a game against Navy in 1902. Despite Given, most sources have the first linebacker in the South as Frank Juhan of Sewanee. In the East, Ernest Cozens of Penn was "one of the first of the roving centers," another, archaic term for the position coined by Hank Ketcham of Yale.
Walter E. Bachman of Lafayette was said to be "the developer of the "roving center" concept". Edgar Garbisch of Army was credited with developing the "roving center method" of playing defensive football in 1921. In professional football, Cal Hubbard is credited with pioneering the linebacker position, he starred as a tackle and end, playing off the line in a style similar to that of a modern linebacker. The middle or inside linebacker, sometimes called the "Mike" or "Mack", is referred to as the "quarterback of the defense", it is the middle linebacker who receives the defensive play calls from the sideline and relays that play to the rest of the team, in the NFL he is the defensive player with the electronic sideline communicator. A jack-of-all-trades, the middle linebacker can be asked to blitz, spy the quarterback, or have a deep middle-of-the-field responsibility in the Tampa 2 defense. In standard defenses, middle linebackers lead the team in tackles; the terms middle and inside linebacker are used interchangeably.
In a 3–4 defense, the larger, more run-stopping-oriented linebacker is still called "Mike", while the smaller, more pass protection/route coverage-oriented player is called "Will". "Mikes" line up towards the strong side or on the side the offense is more to run on while "Wills" may line up on the other side or a little farther back between the defensive line and the secondary. The outside linebacker, sometimes called the "Buck and Rebel" is responsible for outside containment; this includes the weakside designations below. They are responsible for blitzing the quarterback. Only is the OLB responsible for outside containment and blitzing the Quarter Back they have pass coverage in the flats sometimes call A drop. Outside linebackers pass; the "flats" are the edge of the field closest to the sideline, from the line of scrimmage down about ten yards. The strongside linebacker is nicknamed the "Sam" for purposes of calling a blitz. Since the strong side of the offensive team, is the side on which the tight end lines up, or whichever side contains the most personnel, the strongside linebacker lines up across from the tight end.
The strongside linebacker will be called upon to tackle the running back on a play because the back will be following the tight end's block. He is most the strongest linebacker; the linebacker should have strong safety abilities in pass situation to cover the tight end in man on man situations. He should have considerable quickness to read and get into coverage in zone situations; the strongside linebacker is commonly known as the left outside linebacker. The weakside linebacker, or the "Will" in 4–3 Defense, sometimes called the backside linebacker, or "Buck", as well as other names like Jack or Bandit, must be the fastest of the three, because he
Morten Andersen, nicknamed the "Great Dane", is a Danish former American football kicker and All-American at Michigan State University. He is the all-time leader in games played in the NFL, with 382, he held both the NFL records for field goals and points scored, both records were broken by Adam Vinatieri in 2018. At retirement, Anderssen was the all-time leading scorer for two different rival teams, he retired after not playing for a team that season. Andersen was announced as a member of the 2017 induction class of the Pro Football Hall of Fame at that year's NFL Honors, he is only the second exclusive placekicker inducted in the Hall of Fame, the first since Jan Stenerud in 1991. Andersen was raised in the west Jutland town of Struer, Denmark; as a student, he was a gymnast and a long jumper, just missed becoming a member of the Danish junior national soccer team. He visited the United States in 1977 as a Youth For Understanding exchange student, he first kicked an American football on a whim at Ben Davis High School in Indianapolis.
He was so impressive in his one season of high school football that he was given a scholarship to Michigan State University. Andersen, with his left leg as his dominant kicking leg, starred at Michigan State, setting several records, including a Big Ten Conference record 63-yard field goal against Ohio State University, he was named an All-American in 1981. His success landed him the kicking job with the New Orleans Saints. On September 24, 2011, he was inducted into the Michigan State University Athletics Hall of Fame. Andersen's NFL career got off to a rocky start. On his first NFL kickoff to start the strike-shortened 1982 season, Andersen twisted his ankle and missed eight weeks of the season. Despite the early setback, he soon emerged as one of the strongest and most reliable placekickers in the NFL. In his years with the Saints, he was named to six Pro Bowls, kicked 302 field goals, scored 1318 points. In 1991, against Chicago, Andersen kicked a 60-yard field goal, tying him with Steve Cox for the second-longest field goal in league history at the time, behind the 63-yard record-holder kicked by Tom Dempsey.
Andersen's proficiency with field goal kicking earned him the nickname "Mr. Automatic." Following the 1994 season, he was released by the Saints for salary cap purposes and because his accuracy had started to decline. Following his release by the Saints, Andersen signed with the Atlanta Falcons, he silenced those who felt him to be washed up and was once again named a Pro Bowler during his time in Atlanta. In December 1995 against the Saints, he became the first player in NFL history to kick three field goals of over 50 yards in a single game. In Week 17 of the 1996 season, Andersen missed a 30-yard field goal that enabled the Jacksonville Jaguars to make the playoffs. Two years he kicked a game-winning field goal in overtime in the 1998 NFC Championship Game to beat the Minnesota Vikings and send the Falcons to their first-ever Super Bowl appearance. There are a number of interesting coincidences between Andersen and former NFL placekicker Gary Anderson. Anderson and Andersen have nearly identical last names, were born within a year of one another outside the United States, came to the United States as teenagers, had long and successful NFL careers throughout the 1980s and 1990s, hold first or second place in a number of NFL records for scoring, field goals, longevity.
Their overall accuracy is nearly identical. Anderson missed a field goal in the 1998 NFC Championship Game for the Minnesota Vikings before Andersen kicked his winning kick, both from the same distance as well. Andersen went on to play with the New York Giants for the 2001 season, followed by the Kansas City Chiefs the following two seasons. In the 2004 offseason, Andersen was beaten out for the kicking job by rookie Lawrence Tynes, he was released by the Chiefs for the final roster cut, was subsequently signed by the Vikings. Although his leg strength had declined with age, he continued to prove himself accurate for field goals. Having not been signed by a team following the 2004 season, he became a free agent and did not play in 2005, he announced NFL Europe games in the 2005 season. In January 2006, Andersen was inducted as the first member of the Danish American Football Federation Hall of Fame; that year, Andersen returned to the NFL, re-signing with the Atlanta Falcons. His first game back was against the Saints, on Monday Night Football.
The game was the first game in the Louisiana Superdome since Hurricane Katrina prevented its use for the entire 2005 regular season. Andersen scored the only Falcon points with a 26-yard field goal in the first quarter. In his second game back, Andersen made 5 of 5 field goals, as well as both extra point attempts, he was named NFC special teams player of the week, becoming the oldest player to earn the honor since the award was first introduced in 1984. He is the team record holder