Making a field goal during a football game is hard. Don’t listen to anyone who tells you otherwise. The pressure alone makes it tough and opposing players trying to block a kick only adds to the difficulty. Yet, somehow, NFL kickers make it look so easy.
Throughout the years, there have been some incredible legs to blast pigskins through the uprights. A few of them have even made the Pro Football Hall of Fame. It’s definitely not the most glamorous job in the world, but it can do more than just pay the bills if you’re good at it.
As for the longest field goal in NFL history, that belongs to former Denver Broncos kicker Matt Prater, who boomed a 64-yarder back in 2013.
Matt Prater’s Record 64-Yard Field Goal
Trailing 21-17 at the end of the first half, the Denver Broncos sent out kicker Matt Prater to make his second field goal of the game. It was a gamble, no doubt, but it was worth the chance to cut the Tennessee Titans lead and go into halftime at Sport Authority Field at Mile High with some momentum.
Up to that point, four NFL players had made a 63-yard field goal. Nobody had cleared it from 64. That’s what Prater was facing, though, and he was ready to make history.
Prater did his normal routine. He took a deep breath. Then, he kicked the living shit out of the football with his right foot and needed every gust of wind in his favor to squeak it over the goal post. The NFL record was his and, despite trailing in the game, several Broncos players rushed the field like they had just won the Super Bowl.
“Such an awesome moment, I’m glad it came in a win,” Prater said. “It was crazy, it was awesome because almost the whole team rushed the field after that kick. It definitely was a momentum swing.”
Denver rolled over Tennessee in the second half to win 51-28. Prater made three field goals and six extra points that December afternoon. None were obviously more impressive than his 64-yarder before halftime.
As of October 2020, it remains the longest in NFL history. There have been longer field goals in high school, NCAA college football and NFL preseason, but none longer during the National Football League regular season or playoffs
NFL Kickers With 60-Yard Field Goals
Since the NFL-AFL merger in 1970, there have been 22 field goals over 60 yards. Some kickers have even flirted with the record recently, including Graham Gano’s 63-yard game-winning kick against the New York Giants in 2018 and Brett Maher’s 63-yarder against the Philadelphia Eagles in 2019.
Maher also added two more 62-yard field goals against the Eagles and New York Jets in the last two seasons as well.
Here is the full list with assistance from the Pro Football Hall of Fame:
64 Yards: Matt Prater (Denver Broncos, 2013)
63 Yards: Tom Dempsey (New Orleans Saints, 1970), Jason Elam (Denver Broncos, 1998), Sebastian Janikowski (Oakland Raiders, 2011), David Akers (San Francisco 49ers, 2012), Graham Gano (Carolina Panthers, 2018), Brett Maher (Dallas Cowboys, 2019)
62 Yards: Matt Bryant (Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 2006), Brett Maher (Dallas Cowboys, 2018, Brett Maher (Dallas Cowboys, 2019)
61 Yards: Sebastian Janikowski (Oakland Raiders, 2009), Jay Feely (Arizona Cardinals, 2012), Justin Tucker (Baltimore Ravens, 2013), Greg Zuerlein (St. Louis Rams, 2015), Jake Elliott (Philadelphia Eagles, 2017)
60 Yards: Steve Cox (Cleveland Browns, 1984), Morten Andersen (New Orleans Saints, 1991), Rob Bironas (Tennessee Titans, 2006), Dan Carpenter (Miami Dolphins, 2010), Greg Zuerlein (St. Louis Rams, 2012), Chander Catanzaro (Arizona Cardinals, 2016)
Touchdowns are cool, but so are long field goals. Teams like the Detroit Lions, Green Bay Packers, Buffalo Bills, Minnesota Vikings, Cincinnati Bengals, Indianapolis Colts, and Seattle Seahawks, among others, have all been on the wrong side of history, too.
It’s only a matter of time before the record is broken during the NFL season. Brandon McManus wants to be the guy. Watch it be a rookie or something outrageous during the COVID-19 outbreak, though.
This post was originally published on July 16, 2020.