Tom Dempsey

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Tom Dempsey
Date of birth:(1947-01-12) January 12, 1947 (age 65)
Place of birth:Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Career information
Position(s):Kicker
College:Palomar College
Organizations
 As player:
1969–1970
1971–1974
1975–1976
1977
1978–1979
New Orleans Saints
Philadelphia Eagles
Los Angeles Rams
Houston Oilers
Buffalo Bills
Career highlights and awards
Pro Bowls:1 (1969)
Playing stats at NFL.com
 
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Tom Dempsey
Date of birth:(1947-01-12) January 12, 1947 (age 65)
Place of birth:Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Career information
Position(s):Kicker
College:Palomar College
Organizations
 As player:
1969–1970
1971–1974
1975–1976
1977
1978–1979
New Orleans Saints
Philadelphia Eagles
Los Angeles Rams
Houston Oilers
Buffalo Bills
Career highlights and awards
Pro Bowls:1 (1969)
Playing stats at NFL.com

Thomas Dempsey (born January 12, 1947) is a former American football placekicker in the National Football League for the New Orleans Saints (1969–1970), Philadelphia Eagles (1971–1974), Los Angeles Rams (1975–1976), Houston Oilers (1977) and Buffalo Bills (1978–1979). He attended high school at San Dieguito High School and played college football at Palomar College. Unlike the "soccer style" approach used by nearly all place kickers today, Dempsey used a straight approach which was the style used to kick the ball during his era.

He is most widely known for his NFL record 63-yard field goal, kicked in the final two seconds to give the New Orleans Saints a 19–17 win over the Detroit Lions on November 8, 1970 at Tulane Stadium in New Orleans.[1] This record still stands as of 2012, although it has been equaled three times; on October 25, 1998, by Jason Elam of the Denver Broncos against the Jacksonville Jaguars, at Mile High Stadium in Denver, on September 12, 2011, by Sebastian Janikowski of the Oakland Raiders against the Denver Broncos, at Sports Authority Field at Mile High in Denver, and by David Akers of the San Francisco 49ers at Lambeau Field, on September 9, 2012. In a preseason game in 2002, Ola Kimrin kicked a 65-yard field goal, but as it was a preseason game, it is ineligible for the NFL record.

Prior to 1974 the goal posts in the NFL were on the goal lines instead of the end lines. With time running out in the game, the Saints attempted a place kick with holder Joe Scarpati spotting at the Saints' own 37-yard line. The snap from Jackie Burkett was good, and Dempsey nailed the field goal with a couple of feet to spare. The win was one of only two for the Saints in that otherwise-forgettable season. Dempsey's kick shattered the old mark of 56 yards set in 1953 by Colts' kicker Bert Rechichar.[1]

Dempsey's special kickin' shoe.

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".[2] Additionally, 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.[3] 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."[4][5]

In 1983, Dempsey was inducted into the American Football Association's Semi Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Dempsey has since retired from football and currently resides with his wife Carlene, who teaches history at Kehoe-France, a private school in Metairie, Louisiana. His house was flooded during Hurricane Katrina in 2005.[6]


The hurricane flooded me out of a lot of memorabilia, but it can't flood out the memories.

—Dempsey on the effects of Hurricane Katrina


References

External links