Living with 63 yards -- and beyond
While Elam shares the record with Dempsey, Kimrin's 65-yard effort overlooked
Tom Dempsey Factoids
On Nov. 8, 1970, the Saints' Tom Dempsey entered the NFL record books by booting a 63-yard field goal against the Detroit Lions.
Just For Kicks
Converting from 75 yards, just for funElam and Kimrin each claim to have hit field goals from as far away as 75 yards in practices. Still, Elam believes that when the current NFL record falls, it might be by a relative whisker. "There's a big, big difference between 63 and 70 yards," Elam said. "I would have to say, if somebody was able to hit 64, 65, 66 yards, that would stand probably for many years. I'd be shocked if somebody hit it from 70. "There's only so much a human body can do propelling a piece of leather through the air with your leg." Just as some speculated that Dempsey had some sort of an advantage by virtue of wearing a special shoe to accommodate his toe-free right foot, skeptics have wondered whether Elam, Kimrin and any other kicker benefits from kicking a mile above sea level in Denver. Kimrin answered that when he was challenged during a tryout with the Dallas Cowboys.
“"An advantage? I don't know, I've never walked in his shoes. It could have easily been a disadvantage," said Elam, who owns the NFL record for most seasons scoring 100 or more points (16). "He had a gift and talent for kicking the ball. More power to him." Dempsey told ESPN's Seth Wickersham how he felt about Elam tying his record in 1998. If and when the 63-yarder is eclipsed in an NFL regular-season game, Dempsey will embrace the moment. "The part that I think that aggravated me the most is when Jason Elam tied the record. I had 50 sportswriters in America call me and every one of them wanted me to bad mouth Jason Elam because he kicked it in Denver," Dempsey recalled. "And I told them, I said, 'Guys, it's not where, it's the effort it took to do it, that is what you respect.' He made a hell of a kick, so I respect what he did and records are made to be broken. I had to break someone's record, Bert Rechichar [56 yards, 1953, for the Baltimore Colts]. I broke his record and he came down to New Orleans to congratulate me. "So that is what you should do. You respect whatever it took to do it."
An advantage? I don't know, I've never walked in his shoes. It could have easily been a disadvantage. More power to him.” -- Jason Elam on Tom Dempsey, who kicked with a special shoe that the NFL eventually banned
Sheldon Spencer is an NFL editor at ESPN.com.
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