Yearbook, Nov. 8: Tom Dempsey's kick

November, 8, 2012
Nov. 8, 1970: Despite many attempts to best it, no player -- at least not in the NFL, not in the regular season -- has surpassed what Tom Dempsey did on this day 42 years ago: Kick a 63-yard field goal, with two seconds left, for a New Orleans Saints team that needed every inch of that length to beat the Detroit Lions by two at Tulane Stadium. Famously, the former defensive end did it with a straight-ahead approach and no toes on his right foot.

Nobody matched Dempsey's feat for nearly three decades -- not until Jason Elam did it in the thin Colorado air in 1998. It has been equaled twice since, in the past two years: by Sebastian Janikowski in 2011 with the Oakland Raiders (also in Denver), and this season by David Akers with the San Francisco 49ers (in Green Bay, Wis.).

Tom Dempsey kicking the recrod longest field goal, at 63 yardsAP PhotosDempsey.
Jason Elam in 1998 tying Tom Dempsey's record for longest NFL field goal at 63 yardsAP Photo/Bryan KelsenElam, in 1998 while with the host Denver Broncos.
Sebastian Janikowski in 2011 tying Tom Dempsey's record for longest field goal at 63 yardsKirby Lee/US PresswireJanikowski, in 2011 against the host Denver Broncos.
David Akers after kicking a 63-yard field goal in 2012.AP Photo/Jeffrey PhelpsAkers, against the host Green Bay Packers in September this year.
Patrick Dorsey is a Los Angeles-based writer and editor for He has worked for the Web and newspapers. He also played in one Division-III golf tournament (he shot 105).



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