Officials hope that the NFL season is not interrupted by coronavirus, but now we know the pandemic has impacted at least one notable football legend. NOLA.com reported Sunday morning that record-setting Saints kicker Tom Dempsey died from coronavirus complications over the weekend.
COVID-19, the novel coronavirus currently gripping much of the globe in a pandemic and is particularly deadly in nursing facilities. And as ESPN confirmed the report, we know it is responsible for the death of the 73-year-old placekicker who once held the NFL record for longest field goal for 28 years.
Former New Orleans Saints kicker Tom Dempsey, who famously made a 63-yard field goal in 1970 despite being born without toes on his right kicking foot, has died due to complications of the coronavirus, his family told NOLA.com. He was 73.
Dempsey had been battling Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. He was a resident at the Lambeth House senior living center in New Orleans, which has been hit hard by the virus. More than 50 residents have been affected, according to NOLA.com.
The Saints released a statement they shared on Twitter Sunday morning.
Statement from New Orleans Saints Owner Gayle Benson on the death of legendary kicker Tom Dempsey: https://t.co/nDVUocm2UC
— New Orleans Saints (@Saints) April 5, 2020
Dempsey’s most impressive record was set in 1970 when he made four field goals in a 19-17 win over the Detroit Lions, including an NFL record 63-yard field goal. That record stood for nearly three decades until it was tied in 1998 by Denver Broncos kicker Jason Elam. In 2014, Matt Prater broke the record with a 64-yard field goal. The custom cleat he used to kick with still sits in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.