Tom Dempsey (Born January 12, 1947) was an NFL kicker for the New Orleans Saints (1969 - 1970), Philadelphia Eagles (1971 - 1974), Los Angeles Rams (1975 - 1976), Houston Oilers (1977) and Buffalo Bills (1978 - 1979). He played college ball at Palomar College.
He is most widely known for his NFL record 63 yard field goal, kicked in the final 5 seconds to give the New Orleans Saints a 19-17 win over the Detroit Lions on 8 November 1970. This record still stands (as of the start of the 2006 season), although it was equalled by Jason Elam of the Denver Broncos on October 25th 1998.
In those days in the NFL, prior to 1974, the goal posts were on the goal lines instead of the end lines. With time running out in the game, the Saints attempted a place kick with holder Joe Scarpati spotting at the Saints' own 36 yard line. The snap from Jackie Burkett was good, and Dempsey nailed the field goal with a couple of feet to spare. The win was one of only two for the Saints in that otherwise-forgettable season.
Dempsey was born with no right hand, and a right club foot, no toes on his right foot (which was his kicking foot). He wore a modified shoe with a flattened and enlarged toe area, giving somewhat the appearance of a hammer. He used a straight approach to kick the ball as opposed to the "soccer style" used by nearly all place kickers today. Dempsey's accomplishment led to the NFL passing a rule requiring that all footgear be "normal" (their term) regardless of the kicker's personal situation.
Dempsey has since retired from football and currently resides with his wife Carlene, who teaches history at a New Orleans suburb elementary school.