Morten Andersen was the oldest exclusive kicker in NFL history when he retired at the age of 47. Andersen is originally from Copenhagen, Denmark, and moved to the United States as a foreign exchange student for high school. He played college football at Iowa State University and kicked for the Cleveland Browns from 2000 to 2004. The most recent example in the NFL happened last year when Dan Meyer, who played for the New York Jets, was 46 years old.
Andersen's age is notable because it has been reported that he only participated in the pre-season games during his final season due to health concerns. He officially announced his retirement on August 26, 2004. Before retiring, he missed two field goals in a game against the Pittsburgh Steelers. One of those misses was from 55 yards out with just over a minute left in the fourth quarter to allow the Browns to hang on for a 20-17 victory.
The oldest player in the NFL is Moses Taylor, who was 44 years old when he retired in 1872. He played center for the Baltimore Ravens and had 11 seasons in the league. Bill Dudley, who played for the Chicago Bears from 1953 to 1956, was also 44 years old when he retired. He played right guard and made the All-NFL team in 1955. Albert Benbrook was 45 years old when he retired in 1898; he played left end for the Philadelphia Quakers.
We discovered that four of the top twenty kickers in NFL history are left-footed kickers, including the leader, Morten Andersen, as well as John Kasay, David Akers, and Sebastian Janikowski, who is still active and kicking for the Oakland Raiders.
Left-handed kickers are not as uncommon among college football players as one might think. There have been at least ten left-handed kickers in the NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision over the past decade. Most major American sports allow athletes to identify themselves as either right- or left-handed; however, in soccer and rugby, players must use their feet simultaneously when taking kicks.
In addition to Andersen, Kasay, Akers, and Janikowski, other notable left-footed kickers in NFL history include Matt Prater, Jason Elam, Daniel Carlson, and Josh Brown.
There have been several left-footed quarterbacks in NFL history, including Doug Williams and Bernie Kosar. Additionally, there are two left-handed tackle positions in the league - one based on how you look at it, each player's hand is on the opposite side of the helmet. The other is the center position, which is usually held by a guard or a linebacker who lines up next to the head of the quarterback.
While Morten Andersen holds many impressive NFL records, he has also set many age-related records, including the oldest player to score 14 points in a game 47 years, 133 days (for Atlanta Falcons vs. Seattle Seahawks, December 30, 2007) and the oldest player to kick 5 field goals in a game 47 years, 133 days (for Atlanta Falcons vs. Seattle Seahawks, December 30, 2007). (46 years, 43 days). 2.
Tom Brady became the oldest player in NFL history to score a touchdown in Week 1 when he carried the ball into the end zone against the Saints at the age of 43 years, one month, and ten days. For numerous years, it appeared that he could play for as long as he wished.
Gary Anderson was one of the league's most skilled kickers. Nonetheless, he will be remembered for the pass that lost the Minnesota Vikings a Super Bowl spot in 1998. Then there's the Hall of Famer best known for complaining that the footballs were too chilly to kick. While with the Denver Broncos, Anderson complained about the temperature of the balls used in several games during the 1995 season. When asked by reporters if the balls were too cold, Anderson replied, "Yeah, I think so." The NFL started using new balls for each game during the 1994 season as a safety measure in response to complaints about the quality of the balls used in previous years' games.
In addition to the loss of momentum that results from kicking a ball out of bounds, there is no rule that prevents a player who has possession of the ball when his or her team kicks it away from him or her from taking control of it again. This happened in an October 2001 game between the Jacksonville Jaguars and the New York Jets when Doug Brien kicked a field goal attempt off track and the Jags took over on their 20-yard line. With less than two minutes left in the first half, Brien hit another field goal to make it 3-0 Jax. On fourth down with 1:50 remaining in the third quarter, however, the Jets drove down the field and scored a touchdown with :05 left in the period to cut the lead to 3-point.
Sadly, I believe he died of a heart attack at the age of 40 in 1987. Efren Herrera was purchased from Dallas in 1978 for a fifth-round draft selection and was the Seahawks' first genuinely excellent kicker, generally speaking. He made just under 70% of his field goals, but he was a local legend for his ability to fake field goals. He apparently did this so often that it became an actual strategy for the team, which is pretty amazing given how hard they seemed to try to fail at it.
Herrera finished with four seasons of at least 1,000 yards kicking and three of those years were over 50%. In 1981, he set a then-NFL record by making 21 straight field goals (from 50 yards out or closer). He also made all 58 extra point attempts that season. The next year, he missed only one field goal attempt from beyond 50 yards out. That was enough to win the NFL's Most Valuable Player award as well as the league's Comeback Player of the Year award.
After leaving Seattle following the 1985 season, Herrera went on to play for several other teams including two seasons with the New York Giants. He ended his career with another successful kick in Washington during an NFC Championship game against San Francisco. He nailed a 52-yarder to send it to overtime where the Redskins won it with another field goal of their own. He had five seasons with at least 100 points scored and four with at least one hundred point penalties against him.
Mark Moseley, the last full-time straight-on placekicker in the NFL, retired following the 1986 season with the Cleveland Browns. Manny Matsakis from Capital University was the final straight-on kicker chosen into the NFL by the Philadelphia Eagles, and he went on to become a successful college and CFL coach.
There have been several part-time kickers in the NFL over the years, but only one who was guaranteed a job each year and paid accordingly: Wes Chandler, who held this record until 1999. Before then, the last regular kicker to retire was Dave Meggett with the Buffalo Bills in 1983. The last straight-on placekicker to play in an entire season was Mark Moseley with the Cleveland Browns in 1986. Since then, all kicking duties have been shared by punters. The most recent example came in 2014 when Nick Folk of the New York Jets missed three field goals in a single game for the first time in NFL history.
During World War II, many experienced players were needed for the war effort so there were no professional football teams during that time. When football resumed in 1946, it was not considered important enough to have a straight-on kicker so those positions were not required on the roster. Instead, placekickers were selected from the pool of qualified players by coaches who wanted to use a specialist instead of a true placekicker/punter combination.