Saints kicker Andersen a Hall finalist

Former New Orleans Saints kicker Morten Andersen is one step closer to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The “Great Dane” was announced Thursday night as one of 15 modern-day finalists for the Class of 2014, which will be selected on Feb. 1.

Andersen, who spent the first 13 seasons of his 25-year career in New Orleans, might have the best case for Hall of Fame induction of any kicker in NFL history. The native of Denmark is the league's all-time leading scorer with 2,544 points. And he's the all-time leading scorer in both Saints and Atlanta Falcons history. Andersen was a member of the NFL's all-decade team in both the 1980s and 1990s. And he was selected to seven Pro Bowls.

Andersen's biggest hurdle, however, is that kickers haven't gotten much love from the Hall of Fame historically. Jan Stenerud is the only full-time kicker in the Hall of Fame. George Blanda and Lou Groza were both part-time kickers.

But Andersen is getting closer. Last year, in his first year of eligibility, he only made it to the list of 25 semifinalists before getting cut. Now he's in the final 15.

Plus, the Saints have broken through the previously-impenetrable Hall of Fame barrier in recent years. Over the past four years, outside linebacker Rickey Jackson and offensive tackle Willie Roaf became the first two players who spent a large portion of their careers with the Saints to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.