By Jonathan Comey
Cold, Hard Football Facts director of shuffleboard

One of the sweetest happenings of the 2007 NFL season came when this item flashed across the Cold, Hard Football Facts string-and-Dixie-cup transaction wire:

        ATLANTA FALCONS - Signed K Morten Andersen

Ahhh. That just feels right. A season without Morten Andersen is like a season without sun, and now we can break out the SPF-15 and bask in More-toe's glow.

It doesn't take much, but the return of Andersen (arguably one of the five or six best 47-year-old Danish kickers in the league) makes us wistful for days of yore, when his trendy Euro-mullet was all the rage:

When Morty broke in with the Saints in 1982 as a fresh-faced 22-year-old lad, the world was a different place. We feared nuclear obliteration. "Cats" was in pre-production. Pacman Jones and Vince Young were but gleams in their parents' eye.

And the Danish left-footer was beginning his assault on the NFL record book. Twenty-five years later, and he's got several key NFL records:

    * Most games played: 368
    * Most points: 2,445
    * Most field goals:  540
    * Most 50-yard field goals: 40

Is he a Hall of Famer? In our book, yes. Jan Stenerud is the only kicker in there, and Morten Andersen was better longer than anyone ever. However, if he wants to wind up in Canton he should probably retire soon – he doesn't want to butt heads with "young" guys like Adam Vinatieri and Jason Elam when that time comes.

Morty's rebirth reminds us that the NFL is not just a place for the young to frolic. As the NFL has become more and more of a fixture, careers have also been getting longer.

And so, we offer the Cold, Hard Football Facts All-Time, All-Old team, an all-star cast of players who performed well into their late 30s and sometimes beyond.

George Blanda, who was a so-so QB and kicker that made his mark by playing good football until age 48 gets an honorary spot on the team.

But while Blanda was a great story because of his age, the players on our All-Old Team were still at the top of the game at a very advanced part of their careers.

... Like our old friend Morten Andersen, who is pumping up the ball as we speak and getting ready to kick off.

Careful, Morty! Don't break a hip!



QB Warren Moon (age 41 with Seattle in 1997, threw 25 TDs, made Pro Bowl)

RB John Riggins (age 35 with Washington in 1985, rushed for 1,239 yards and 14 TDs)

RB Marcus Allen (age 36 with Kansas City in 1996, scored 9 touchdowns, gained 1,100 yards from scrimmage)

WR Jerry Rice - (age 40 with Oakland in 2002, 1,211 yards receiving,  made Pro Bowl , 77 yards in the Super Bowl)

WR Charlie Joiner - (age 37 with San Diego in 1985, 932 yards and 7 TD)

TE Shannon Sharpe (age 35 with Denver in 2003, 770 yards and 8 TD)

T Jackie Slater (age 35 with Rams in 1990, made Pro Bowl at right tackle)

T Lou Groza (age 35 with Cleveland in 1959, started all 14 games at left tackle, helped Jim Brown lead league in rushing)
G Bruce Matthews (age 40 with Tennessee in 2001, made 14th Pro Bowl)
G Will Shields (age 36 with Kansas City in 2006, made 12th consecutive Pro Bowl)

C Jeff VanNote (age 36 with Falcons in 1982, made Pro Bowl, started until he was 39)


DL - Doug Atkins (age 38 for New Orleans in 1968, made Sporting News all-NFC team)

DL Jim Marshall (age 41 with Minnesota in 1978, 16-game starter)
DL Gino Marchetti (age 37 with Baltimore in 1964, made Pro Bowl)
DL Reggie White (age 37 with Green Bay in 1998, named Defensive Player of the Year)
LB Chris Hanburger (age 35 with Washington in 1976, made his 9th Pro Bowl)
LB Ted Hendricks (age 36 with Oakland in 1983, All-Pro, Pro Bowler, Raiders won Super Bowl)

LB Chuck Howley (age 35 with Dallas in 1971 Pro Bowl, all-NFL, Super Bowl MVP)

     (UPDATE: Ray Lewis has to have a spot here after a great 2010 at 35)

CB Night Train Lane (age 36 with Detroit in 1963, all-NFL)

CB Darrell Green (age 39 with Washington in 1999, 16-game starter)

S Ken Houston (age 35 with Washington in 1979, made Pro Bowl)

S Rod Woodson (age 37 with Oakland in 2002, led NFL in interceptions with 8)

K Morten Andersen (age 42 with Kansas City in 2002, went 22-26 on FGs)
P Sean Landeta (age 39 with Philadelphia in 2001, averaged  career-high 45.6 yards a punt)
KR Brian Mitchell (age 35 for Philadelphia in 2002, 27.0 per kick return, 12,3 per punt)