Throughout the history of the NFL, the Detroit Lions have always seemed to be on the wrong end of historic plays and that includes a play that took place 50 years ago today.
On November 8, 1970, the Lions took on the New Orleans Saints at Tulane Stadium and they held a 17-16 lead with just 2 seconds remaining in the game.
That is when the Saints marched out Tom Dempsey to attempt what would be a record 63-yard field goal. As you will see below, Dempsey barely made the kick to win the game for the Saints 19-17.
Dempsey, who was born with no toes on his right foot and no fingers on his right hand, wore a custom-made flat toed shoe, which some believed gave him an advantage.
“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.”
During an episode of ESPN’s Sport Science, the conclusion was drawn that Dempsey’s custom kicking shoe not only did not give him an advantage, but it put him at a disadvantage.
Dempsey’s record has since been broken by current Detroit Lions’ kicker, Matt Prater, who drilled a 64-yard field goal.