One of the links of the Atlanta Falcons to their only trip to the Super Bowl is gone. 47-year old Morten Andersen was waived by the team this afternoon. The 4-12 Falcons didn't take long to find a replacement for him. Jason Elam, who also has a book out this year titled " Monday Night Jihad ", was signed away from the Denver Broncos and will be playing for his home team for the remainder of his career.

Elam, from Snellville, Georgia, in Gwinett County, northeast of Atlanta, signed a four-year deal worth about $9 million, $3.3 guaranteed by the club. NFL's longest field goal made (63 yards by New Orleans Saints kicker Tom Dempsey) and became part of the fabric of the franchise, sharing the limelight with John Elway and Shannon Sharpe. Elam has 1,786 career points and has scored at least 100 points in every season. He also has a claim to Monday Night Football fame when he scored the 20,000th televised point in the history of that progam

His arrival in Atlanta will be a sentimental return and that may be a good thing for Falcon fans. He grew up in Snellville and played at Brookwood High and played collegiately at Hawai'i. His mother still lives in the area, and he has other family in the region. The devout and civically active kicker spent his offseasons in metro Atlanta before moving to Denver full time in 2003. This may draw more fans into the Georgia Dome next year, because the team needs it. The Falcons lost their identity when Micheal Vick was sent to prison and the team suffered in the box office. Any little bit that the team does is a huge help.

Morten Andersen will be missed. I know I'll miss him and that facemask he always wore with several different teams, including Atlanta's most hated rival New Orleans. I forsee him in Canton in a few years. Age may have caught up with him but who knows? Anderson may pull a George Blanda and play until he's 60.

It could happen, you know.


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