Tom Dempsey, one of the NFL's legendary figures, has passed away due to complications from coronavirus. He is one of 15 people in his New Orleans retirement home to die after contracting the virus last month. Dempsey was 73.
Dempsey, who was born without toes on his right foot or fingers on his right hand, is forever associated with New Orleans where he set the NFL record for the longest field goal. Dempsey played for five franchises over 11 seasons. In each of his first three seasons he had the longest field goal in the NFL.
As a rookie in 1969, he made his only Pro Bowl and led the league in field goal attempts. During his second season he kicked a 63-yard field goal against the Detroit Lions as time expired. The record stood for more than 40 years until Matt Prater kicked a 64-yarder in Denver in 2013. In each of his first three seasons Dempsey had the longest field goal in the NFL.
Gone, but not forgotten, Dempsey's name will live on forever in NFL history. From the New York Times:
"Every so often someone still comes up to Tom Dempsey to put his achievement into perspective. Not long ago, a total stranger approached him wanting to talk about the Kick. "And he said to me," Dempsey recalled, " 'You're really nothing but a one-kick kicker.' And I thought: 'Yeah, but I kicked it once. What the hell did you do?' ""