FanDuel - WFBC

December 09, 2013

Broncos' Prater Kicks Record-Breaking 64-Yard Field Goal: In the second quarter against the Tennessee Titans, kicker Matt Prater of the Denver Broncos set a new NFL record Sunday with a 64-yard field goal, passing the four kickers who hit a 63 yarder: Tom Dempsey of New Orleans in 1970, Jason Elam of Denver in 1998, Sebastian Janikowski of Oakland in 2011 and David Akers of San Francisco in 2012. Prater's kick was made in high-altitude Denver, which helps kick distance, but only in 14 degree weather.

posted by rcade to football at 10:04 AM - 10 comments

Young Rcade is a little bummed to see Tom Dempsey's name leave the record books. I loved that someone with Dempsey's physical challenges kicked that 63-yard shot -- seven yards beyond the old record and a last-second game winner to boot -- and had that straight back approach to the ball.

posted by rcade at 10:10 AM on December 09

I loved that someone with Dempsey's physical challenges kicked that 63-yard shot

Me, too.

Though, I always thought that his flat-front shoe (for his half-foot) was actually an equipment advantage for his position (according to the style of kicking in those day) and if it had happened today they would have disallowed it.

The shoe/foot in question:

posted by grum@work at 10:42 AM on December 09

I can't believe the record lasted as long as it did.

posted by dyams at 07:47 PM on December 09

Yes, Grum, I believe the straight-toe shoe was banned in 1977, which included the "Dempsey rule" in which kickers missing part of their foot which mandated they wear regular shoes. Dempsey had to wear a regular shoe through the rest of his career, which ended in 1979.

posted by jjzucal at 08:37 PM on December 09

Prater's kick was made in high-altitude Denver, which helps kick distance

It's time for the dreaded asterisk to enter the NFL record book.

posted by Howard_T at 08:49 PM on December 09

If you've ever seen footage (no pun intended) of Dempsey's kick, you get a sense for how remarkable it was. It was not kicked indoors - there was no Superdome at that time. It was kicked in the thick, lowland sultry air of old Tulane Stadium, where the Saints used to play. The day was overcast and funky. I felt as though I could almost see the air the ball had to travel through as I watched the broadcast. You could hear the sound of the kick as he struck it. It was a remarkable, unique sound.

Climate and sea level wise, New Orleans is the anti-Denver. It would be great to see how the big legs of today would do in the conditions Dempsey competed under.

I loved that the league made such a big deal out of the accomplishment at the time, and that the kick became so legendary. Even better, there were at least a couple of times during Dempsey's career when one of his kickoffs was being returned well upfield and he had to join the pursuit to prevent a score on the runback. I was amazed at how willing and able he was as he helped give chase.

posted by beaverboard at 08:50 PM on December 09

From wikipedia:

when an analysis of his kick was carried out by ESPN Sport Science, it was found that his modified shoe offered him no advantage - the smaller contact area could in fact have increased the margin of error.

posted by justgary at 09:04 PM on December 09

I don't know if you've ever been subjected to one of those ESPN Sport Science segments, but I'm surprised it didn't discover the kick was able to penetrate so far through the ether because Dempsey's leg was a perpetual motion machine. I think that lab is where Jenny McCarthy gets her vaccination studies done.

posted by yerfatma at 09:48 AM on December 10

it was found that his modified shoe offered him no advantage - the smaller contact area could in fact have increased the margin of error

I don't understand that statement. The front of his foot has a much wider contact area, and isn't pointed. The front of his other foot is pointed, so it has to have a much smaller area contact area.

I'm assuming it was a straight-on toe-punt style kick. If he actually kicked by putting his whole foot (where the laces would be) under the ball, then it would be a smaller area (compared to the other foot).

posted by grum@work at 09:49 AM on December 10

There's a sad addendum to this Dempsey story in regard to his enthusiasm for making tackles. He's a 66-year-old suffering from dementia.

In his NFL era, kickers were often expected to play other positions. He was even used as a wedge buster, and once was so confused after laying a hit on somebody that he went to the opposing team's sideline and took a seat on their bench.

He was led back to his sideline, and later re-entered the game.

posted by rcade at 10:07 AM on December 10

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