At Tales From Sport, we believe in giving athletes the platform to tell their stories first-hand. Of course, fans of any sports will always have their own opinion on what a players greatest moment was, but does that player feel the same? Or is there another, more personal moment that stands above all others?
In this series, we will be asking professional athletes from various sports one simple question, What do you consider the greatest moment of your career?
In the fourth edition of this series, Professional American Football player Phillip Friis Andersen joins us to share his answer.
‘My Greatest Moment in Sport’ by Phillip Friis Andersen
I think the greatest moment in my career is, probably quite surprisingly, getting cut from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
It changed my whole perspective of why I want to play football.
I put my happiness in the future, like a carrot on a stick. I was always chasing the next goal rather than enjoying the moment which was happening. This was an empty feeling. It was like a bucket of water with a hole at the bottom, always needing to get filled up.
I matured a lot and started looking inward. This was important since, if I were to point fingers at why situations were not going my way and make excuses, I would give away all my power to improve and grow. You cannot change the circumstances in your life, only how you choose to deal with them.
This change in mentality set me free and allowed me to start enjoying the moment. This has taken off all the pressure that I put on myself.
I believe if you are joyful with whatever you do. You will be successful.
Phillip Friis Andersen Biography
Phillip Friis Andersen is unquestionably one of, if not the best Kicker/Punter in Europe. His incredible ability to place kicks with pinpoint precision despite extreme pressure is an enormous reason behind his Sea Devils clinching the top playoff seed in the European League of Football Division North during the league’s inaugural season. Hamburg would not be in such a commanding position in their division without his golden foot and the points it brings. Despite playing in an often overlooked and underappreciated position, the Dane’s outstanding performances throughout the campaign have led him to be one of the front-runners for the first-ever ELF MVP award.
Andersen started his American Football journey initially as a Kicker, Punter and Wide Receiver. The future Sea Devil made his debut in 2012 for the Amager Demons, a team based in Tårnby Kommune, a municipality located south of his home city of København (Copenhagen) on the Danish island Amager in the Øresund. 2012 was also the first year the Demons competed in the Danish top division, the National Ligaen, after earning promotion from the tier below one season prior. Despite only managing two wins, both coming against the Kronborg Knights, the team avoided relegation during their maiden season among Denmark’s elite.
After one year as a Demon, Andersen decided to take his talents elsewhere, joining fellow National Ligaen side Herlev Rebels. 2013 turned out to be a fairly successful year for the Dane. Not only did he capture the 4 Helmet Trophy, but he also got to experience playoff football for the first time in his young career. After narrowly finishing ahead of Andersen’s former team by just one win, the Rebels secured their division’s third playoff spot with a 5-5 record. Unfortunately, Herlev fell at the Quarter-Finals stages 35-23 to the Aarhus Tigers.
Following the playoff heartbreak, Andersen was once again on the move in 2014. This time, the Dane bid farewell to his homeland and headed south to Germany to join the Berlin Adler in the GFL1. The top tier of German football has historically been considered the premier league in Europe, so this move marked a step up in competition for the Kicker/Receiver. Despite his new team narrowly missing out on the playoffs with a 6-6 record, the future Hamburg Sea Devil’s enjoyed a successful maiden season in Germany. He featured in 10 of Adler’s 12 games in the GFL1, earning 13 passing receptions for 255 yards. In addition, he converted five out of eight field-goal attempts as a kicker while also possessing a flawless PAT attempt record, scoring 34 in 34.
The most significant accomplishment Anderson achieved during his time as an Adler did not occur in the GFL. Instead, it took place during the Big6 European Football League. In 2014, the newly-established Big6 usurped the European Football League as the most prestigious competition for European football teams. However, while the Big6 may have been a new concept, its final game, the Eurobowl, certainly was not. The Eurobowl was first played in 1986 and had long been recognised as the holy grail of football in Europe.
During the first-ever Big6 campaign, Andersen and his Berlin Adler side defeated the 2013 Eurobowl finalist Swarco Raiders Tirol and the 2012 winners Calanda Broncos to reach Eurobowl XXVIII. This marked just the fourth time in the franchise’s 35-year history that they would play in the big game. The German team possessed a 1-2 record in the Eurobowl, winning it all in 2010 but falling at the last hurdle in 1991 and 2011. Awaiting them was their GFL1 North rivals, the Braunschweig New Yorker Lions. In an extremely tight affair, Berlin Adler emerged triumphantly. They managed to edge a 20-17 victory in the Friedrich-Ludwig-Jahn-Sportpark and lifting the prestigious trophy for the second time in their history.
Quarterback Darius Outlaw may have won the MVP award, but Berlin would not have won the game without Andersen. Braunschweig actually finished the game with more offensive yards. However, thanks to the Dane’s golden foot, Berlin finished with more points. The Kicker tallied eight points, converting two PAT attempts and scoring two incredibly crucial field goals, and was responsible for 40% of the Adler’s points. His second field goal, a rocket from 43-yards in the fourth quarter, were the last points Berlin managed to put on the board and ultimately became the game’s winning points.
After one year in Germany’s capital, Andersen returned to his home country to once again play in the National Ligaen in 2015. For the next two season’s, the Eurobowl XXVIII winner donned the black and gold uniform of The Søllerød Gold Diggers. The former Herlev Rebel debut season for the Rudersdal franchise turned out to be his most successful campaign in Danish football. For the second year in a row, Andersen found himself in a Bowl game.
The Gold Diggers qualified for the National Ligaen playoffs as the second seed, finishing with a 7-3 record. They secured their place in the championship game in Denmark, the Mermaid Bowl, after narrowly defeated Copenhagen Towers in the semi-finals of the playoffs. Unfortunately for Andersen and Søllerød, they could not capture the team’s third-ever championship, falling to the undefeated Triangle Razorbacks 21-17 at the Viborg Arena.
The Razorbacks also ended the Gold Diggers 2016 season in the playoffs. However, this time, it occurred at the semi-final stage. After earning the third playoff seed with a 6-4 record and defeating the Aarhus Tigers in the quarter-finals, Søllerød were defeated by the defending champions 35-28 and failed to avenge their loss from the season prior.
In February 2017, Andersen returned to Berlin, Germany, to play in the GFL1 for the second time in his career. However, instead of re-joining the Adler, he signed for their city rivals, the Berlin Rebels. According to football-aktuell.de, the Kicker made the move due to his love for the city and his admiration for Rebels Head Coach Kim Kuci, whom he had previously worked with at Berlin Adler.
In his first season with the Rebels, Anderson had a stellar individual campaign as a Kicker and Punter. The Dane played in all 15 of the franchise’s games in the GFL1. As a Kicker, he amassed 88 points by converting ten field goals and 58 PAT attempts. In addition, Anderson also managed to land an exceptional 43.2% of his punts inside the opposition 20 with zero touchbacks. The former Gold Digger also experienced playoff football for the first time in Germany, as his Rebels secured the fourth and final playoff seed in the North Division with a 9-6 record. Unfortunately for the capital city team, they were eliminated by eventual champions Schwäbisch Hall Unicorns 31-24 in the quarter-finals.
Anderson continued his terrific form during the 2018 GFL1 season. While his conversion percentage may have dropped slightly from 2017, the Dane was able to improve his point tally to 90, making 42 PATs and 16 field goals, including one from 52 yards. He was also statistically the best punter in the entire league. topping the punting table with an average of 41.0 yards per punt while also placing 40% of his attempts inside the opposition 20. Andersen’s Berlin Rebels once again reached the GFL1 playoffs in 2018, qualifying as the third seed with an 11-3 record. However, just like the year before, they were eliminated in the quarter-finals. The Frankfurt Universe was the team to end the Rebels’ season this time, emerging victorious after a bizarre game that ended 6-5.
In early 2019, Andersen packed his bags and flew across the Atlantic ocean to participate in the Husted Kicking Pro Camp during Senior Bowl Week in Mobile, Alabama, USA. The camp provides kickers with various coaches to learn from and, perhaps more importantly, offers exposure to NFL coaches and scouts by coinciding with the Senior Bowl. The former Eurobowl winner’s abilities impress the scouts of the NFL’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers enough that they invited him to a workout of their own. After once again showcasing his talent, the Buccaneers officially signed Andersen on February 7th, 2019. Unfortunately, the Dane’s stay in Florida was short-lived as he was released from his contract in April 2019. However, as Andersen said himself, this turned out to be the best thing that happened to him during his career.
Andersen’s next career adventure occurred outside of the sports world. While working as a bartender in California, USA, in order to raise money to work with a kicking coach, the former GFL star developed a passion for gin. His love for the drink grew to the point that, in 2020, Andersen, alongside two friends, actually created their own gin label called Amager Gin.
After time away from the sport due to the Covid-19 global pandemic, Andersen returned to Germany to continue his football career. But, unlike his previous two stays in the country, he would not be competing in the GFL1. Instead, the Kicker officially joined the newly-established European League of Football, signing with the Hamburg Sea Devils for their inaugural season on April 28th, 2021. The Dane quickly became a fan-favourite in Hamburg after scoring a walk-off, game-winning field goal during the Sea Devils’ opening round contest against the Frankfurt Galaxy.
Since his first kick in the league, Andersen has truly cemented himself as the best Kicker in the entire continent. As of Game Week 9 of the ELF, Andersen has converted 20 of his 22 Field goal attempts, including two from 50+ yards, and 23 out of 26 PAT attempts. Furthermore, the 83 points he has contributed this season make up an incredible 35.62% of Hamburg’s total points. The Sea Devils currently sit top of the ELF Division North with a 7-1 record, having secured a playoff birth with two games to spare.
It is safe to say that the Sea Devils would be in a far weaker position than they are now without Andersen and his golden foot.
An enormous thank you to Phillip Andersen for contributing to this article. He has been highly accommodating and supportive of our site and has been genuinely a great guy. We really appreciate the effort he put into this.
If you are interested in watching him play, sign up for the European League of Football Season Pass or Game Pass on their website, europeanleague.football
Andersen will next be in action on AUGUST 22nd, as the Hamburg Sea Devils take on the Panthers Wroclaw 2pm BST/3pm CET/9am EST.