All records — even his, Tom Dempsey always said — were made to be broken.
That’s why, the former Saints kicker’s daughter, Ashley, said Sunday that he would not be upset that the NFL-record 63-yard field goal he kicked Nov. 8, 1970, was eclipsed Sunday by 1 yard in Denver by the Broncos’ Matt Prater. It was 14 degrees when Prater made his kick.
Dempsey, who suffers from Alzheimer’s, now resides at Lambeth House in New Orleans, and Ashley Dempsey said he is unable to speak of Prater’s 64-yarder.
“It wouldn’t have bothered him,” Ashley Dempsey said. “When Jason Elam (one of three players to equal Dempsey’s mark since then) tied it in 1999, my dad sent him an e-mail congratulating him. It always special to him that when he broke the record, he got a telegram from the kicker who had it (Bert Rechichar), so he would have been cheering for him to do it.”
Within a minute of Prater’s kick Sunday, CBS aired footage of Dempsey’s record-setter, which had been tied three times since then. It’s also the only one of the four that was a game-winner, giving the Saints a 19-17 victory against Detroit at Tulane Stadium.
“Dad always figured if somebody beat it, it would happen in Denver,” Ashley Dempsey said. “But he said, ‘I’ll always have the record for below sea level.’ ”
The Broncos’ Elam kicked his 63-yarder against Jacksonville on Oct. 25, 1998, in Denver; the Raiders’ Sebastian Janikowski kicked a 63-yarder against the Broncos on Sept. 12, 2011, in Denver; and the 49ers’ David Akers kicked one at Green Bay on Sept. 9, 2012.