The Denver Broncos' Matt Prater bested Dempsey with a 64-yarder in 2013 — 43 years after Dempsey unleashed his cannon-shot opposite Lions' defenders who had been laughing at what they believed to be an impossible attempt.Also, we're all living under unusual circumstances now in the Time Of The COVID. But New Orleans hasn't been completely erased from the world yet. It will be someday. And it will be missed.
Before Prater's kick, three others had also hit 63-yarders over the years.
Prater's kick came in the thin air of Denver, 5,000-feet above sea level, as had those by two of the players who tied Dempsey's mark.
As a rookie in 1969, Dempsey delivered an All-Pro season but was cut by the Saints in 1971 after missing seven of eight kicks during preseason, which he attributed to falling out of shape while being treated to countless drinks and meals after his historic kick. But he rebounded and played for several other teams — the Eagles, Rams, Oilers and Bills — before retiring following the 1979 seasonAnyway, RIP, Tom. Prior to 2006, there were only a handful of moments that Saints fans were fond of claiming to have witnessed in person. And of those, Dempsey's kick was one of the few that was a genuinely good moment and not some ironically cherished mind boggling failure. "Only 80s kids will remember" a time when the story of this one regular season field goal was passed down to you as a sacred prize of your cultural heritage. It was the franchise's single greatest achievement all the way up until 1987.
I was pleased to find this relatively clear video of the kick on YouTube last night. The footage I grew up seeing was always a lot grainier.
Even when we include the 2009 season NFC Championship and Super Bowl in the mix, there isn't anything in Saints history that surpasses Dempsey as a pure moment save for one. And as fate would have it, ESPN is replaying that tomorrow night.