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Halo 11-04-2010 09:53 AM

Tom Dempsey's NFL record 63-yard field goal stands test of time
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Edit: TODAY is the 40th anniversary of Dempsey’s kick, which shattered Bert Resheshar’s NFL record 56-yard length and gave a bad Saints team a 19-17 victory over a good Detroit Lions team in Tulane Stadium.

Dempsey, 63, who lives in Jefferson Parish, said he realizes that it’s just a matter of time before somebody breaks his record, which former Broncos kicker Jason Elam tied in the thin air of Denver 1998. He’s OK with that and plans to be the first to congratulate the record breaker just as he congratulated Elam.

“Kickers are better now than when I played,” Dempsey said. “Kickers have gotten better through the years. To kick one that long, everything has to be right. It’s a situation type kick.”

Dempsey said he didn’t realize just how long a field goal he was trying, and that was probably a good thing.

“I don’t think we ever planned on it being 63 yards,” Dempsey said. “I didn’t know because I had one of the great holders in pro football in Joe Scarpati and I never picked my spot. He did. He told me he was going to move it back a yard, because we used to kick it seven yards, two feet, because that made the laces come up and he moved it back an extra yard, because I want you to be able to get it up past the line.”

So if not for Scarpati’s adjustment, Elam would have the record to himself.

“Jason is a nice guy,” Dempsey said. “I respect the effort, but I tell him I’m still better below sea level.”

Dempsey, a member of the Saints Hall of Fame, donated the football that he kicked for the record to the Hall because “I figured that’s where it belonged.”

He said the longest kick he made in practice was “about 75 yards,” though he didn’t benefit from hands-on instruction the way kickers do today.

“I think kickers nowadays have a better situation, because we didn’t have too many coaches who knew anything about kicking,” Dempsey said. “I always used to tell people when I was going well, all the coaches were standing back and telling the press I’ve been helping this guy. He’s doing well. And they never talked to me. If it was going bad, there were no coaches out there to help you. You were on your own.”

Dempsey said he watched the Saints Super Bowl victory from “my favorite bar in the world,” The Old Absinthe House in the French Quarter, which was a popular hangout for Dempsey and his teammates when they were playing.

“It was absolutely phenomenal,” Dempsey said. “I walked out once I knew it was over with and watched the people charging down Bourbon Street. It was phenomenal. I was happy for them.”

Dempsey wouldn’t which current place-kicker might break his record, but he said he does have a preference.

“If I had my choice of who kicks it,” he said, “it would be Garrett Hartley to keep the record in New Orleans.”

From Les East,

Beastmode 11-05-2010 12:45 AM

Science and Dempsey's kick
Tom Dempsey - Inside a Moment in Time - ESPN

Good video.I like that it points out that Elam was in Mile High Stadium and took that into account. There should be seperate catergories based on environments. Dempsey holds the record without question.

Beastmode 11-05-2010 12:55 AM

Sorry, wrong link. Trying to find it again. I did watch kick again.

Man, he straight up knock the snot out of it and the thing is, he practically walked up to the ball unlike kickers today. That man had some serious leg strength. One of the Lions said it was wind aided. Maybe it was, stranger things have happened.

CheramieIII 11-06-2010 09:05 AM

tom dempseys 63 yard field goal - Yahoo! Search Results

I think this one may work. I still cry everytime I see it. I was listening to the game on the radio with a bunch of friends in the hood. It was cold and cloudy and we couldn't stop screaming. Neighbors were yelling out their front doors for us to shut up.

Halo 11-06-2010 03:35 PM

This is definitely NOT supposed to be in the NFL forum. Dempsey made NFL history with the WHO DATS baby!

Rather the Saints forum. Moving it there.

exiled 11-07-2010 11:28 AM

one of my favorite all time sports momnets. unbelievable!

CheramieIII 11-07-2010 05:10 PM

Dempsey had a beer gut from hell, half a foot, half a arm and a hangover from the night before when he kicked that ball. I say we give him a pass on the load boot!

darstep 11-07-2010 06:37 PM

That look back was a good day for the Saints and for Dempsey. My little league team met the Saints and Tom Dempsey at camp one year. He let us touch and feel his hand. How do I forget something like that? Richard Neal lived in the neighborhood and got us in to see the players. We were 90 lbs and in awe of those big guys. Dempsey still looks good. They called him Stumpy, now that was funny.

Crusader 11-08-2010 04:24 AM

Atop his bookshelf are many of the game balls he received throughout his career. He's proudest of a ball he received after the Saints beat Dallas.

"I always hated the Cowboys," he says.

Tom Dempsey's 63-yard field goal - ESPN

This was way before my time but you gotta love a Saint that says that.

On a side note, the unofficial NFL record for a FG is 65 yards, Made by Swedish kicker Ola Kimrin in a preseason game between the Broncos and Seahawks in 2002. Gotta brag about the Swedes ;-)

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