Tom Dempsey has died after a bout with coronavirus

Tom Dempsey, a retired NFL kicker long known for a record-setting 63-yard field goal he kicked in 1970, died Saturday night in Louisiana after a bout with coronavirus, according to reports. He was 73. Dempsey contracted the virus in March while a resident of the Lambeth House retirement home in New Orleans.

With the kick, Dempsey broke Bert Rechichar's NFL record for longest field goal by seven yards. That record was equaled by Jason Elam in 1998, Sebastian Janikowski in 2011, David Akers in 2012, Graham Gano in 2018, and Brett Maher in 2019. On December 8, 2013, Matt Prater topped Dempsey's mark by hitting a 64-yard field goal. Dempsey's kick, which won the game as time expired at the end of the 4th quarter, is still the longest "walk-off" field goal.

Dempsey was born without toes on his right foot and no fingers on his right hand. He wore a modified shoe with a flattened and enlarged toe surface. This generated controversy about whether such a shoe gave a player an unfair advantage. When reporters would ask him if he thought it was unfair, he said, "Unfair, eh? How 'bout you try kickin' a 63 yard field goal to win it with 2 seconds left an' yer wearin' a square shoe, oh yeah, and no toes either." Additionally, when an analysis of his kick was carried out by ESPN Sport Science, it was found that his modified shoe had offered him no advantage – in fact, it was found that the smaller contact area could have reduced, not increased, the margin for error.

The league made two rule changes in the subsequent years to discourage further long field goal attempts. The first was in 1974, which moved the goal posts from the goal line to the back of the end zone (adding ten yards to the kick distance) and awarded the ball to the defense on a missed kick at the spot where the ball was snapped (this changed in 1994 to the spot of the kick). Then, in 1977, the NFL added a rule, informally known as the "Tom Dempsey Rule", that "any shoe that is worn by a player with an artificial limb on his kicking leg must have a kicking surface that conforms to that of a normal kicking shoe."


By: aristocracker (869.90)

Tags: Tom Dempsey, NFL Football, Coronavirus

Location: New Orleans