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Sports Then and Now



40 Years Ago: Tom Dempsey’s 63-Yard Field Goal 3

Posted on November 06, 2010 by Dean Hybl

Tom Dempsey gave the Saints an improbable victory with his field goal 40 years ago.

The New Orleans Saints didn’t have a lot to celebrate during their first two decades in the NFL, but they did enjoy one special moment 40-years ago this week when their improbable kicker made a seemingly impossible kick to defeat the Detroit Lions 19-17 on November 8, 1970.

Even during an era when straight-on kickers were still the majority in the NFL, Tom Dempsey was not your pro-typical NFL player.  Dempsey was 6-foot-2, but weighed more than 250 pounds. He also was born without fingers on his right hand or toes on his right foot.

Nonetheless, Dempsey played football at Palomar Community College in San Diego and then somehow found his way into the NFL with the New Orleans Saints.

As a rookie in 1969, Dempsey earned first-team All-Pro honors and appeared in the Pro Bowl while ranking fifth in league with 99 points. He led the NFL with 41 field goal attempts and was third in the league with 22 successful attempts.

In 1970 Dempsey and the Saints were struggling when they hosted Detroit in week eight. Dempsey had converted only five field goals through the first seven games and the Saints were 1-5-1 on the season. Read the rest of this entry →

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