the study of the kicking components within sports

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

The 63 Club: Dempsey, Elam, Janikowski & Akers

The four members of The 63 Club share the record for longest NFL field goal, at 63 yards. Of course yards is the unit of measurement that happened to become the accepted standard for football fields. Had feet become the standard, it would be The 189 Club. If we used metric like most of the rest of the world, it would be The 58 (meters) Club. For reference purposes, it also equates to 128 cubits, 0.3 furlongs, 81 pikes, or 0.0000000000000061 light years.

Tom Dempsey - November 8, 1970
"I didn’t know it was 63 yards. I truly didn’t because I never, ever measured off where I kicked from. I always let my holder do that, because I had other things to worry about and I happened to have a great holder in Joe Scarpati at that time. I went out there, we lined it up and Joe looked back at me and said, 'Tom, we’re going to move back a yard.' Normally you kick a ball at seven yards, two feet because if you do that, the laces are forward every time. He said we’ve got to give it more time to get high. We got a perfect snap, we got a perfect hold and I hit it as hard as I could. I knew the second I hit it that it was going to go a long way. I didn’t know if it would stay straight the whole time, but it did."

"That's a pretty incredible thing that [Dempsey] did, at that time of the game. Mine was at kind of a fun time, his was for the game." 
I hit that about as good as I could hit the ball. I guess that was my prime, though they never really told me when my prime was.
Well, I think the biggest thing is getting the opportunity. I've always maintained, especially today, that there are lots of talented guys capable. But you're only going to get a chance to do it right before the half or maybe the end of the game. Those opportunities don't come along that often."

"I had a dream I broke the record, and it was here in Denver. The ball really carries here. I didn't hit it really good, but that's no excuse. [The altitude] really helped it. ... It cleared by like one yard only....
It means a lot. I'm not big on setting goals, but I wanted to be 10 years in the league, break the record or tie the record and win the Super Bowl. Those were my three goals, and I've got two out of three. Hopefully, this year I get the third one."

"I tried really hard to get it there. I didn’t think I actually hit it that great, I was like, ‘Oh well, it was fun to give it a shot.’ Then I was like, ‘Wait, it’s still kind of going.’ When you hit the goalpost, whether it’s the crossbar or the upright, it usually makes a really loud and obnoxious sound coming back at you. It went through and I think that’s about the biggest miracle I’ve seen in a long time."

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