Denver's Jason Elam kicked a 63-yard field goal Sunday, tying Tom Dempsey's 28-year-old NFL record.
Elam's kick, which came at the end of the first half, matched the record Dempsey set for the New Orleans Saints against Detroit Nov. 8, 1970.
"I was watching it and gave a big cheer when it went through," Dempsey said from the New Orleans area. "It was a great kick, a great effort. You have to admire it."
"As good as people are getting now, I knew it was just a matter of time. People are kicking them longer and longer."
He would not have had a chance to tie the record if not for confusion on the Broncos' sideline.
Denver faced a fourth-and-3 at the Jacksonville 40-yard line with no timeouts left and time expiring. But instead of kicking immediately, the Broncos were called for a 5-yard delay-of-game penalty with four seconds left.
That meant Elam faced a 63-yard kick instead of a 58-yarder.
Elam came onto the field apparently expecting to atempt the shorter kick, but moved back and made the longer one after the penalty was marched off.
His kick barely cleared the crossbar, and the Broncos sideline erupted when it went through. A beaming Elam clutched the ball as he sprinted into the locker room for intermission.
Elam's kick bettered the Denver record of 57 set by Fred Steinfort in 1980.
Dempsey said the rule that puts the ball back at the line of scrimmage after missed field goal makes long attempts more rare.
"It still might be broken," he said. "It will have to be at the end of the half or the end of the game, though. That's the only time a coach will take a chance like that. It's too risky to do it any other time. It could be blocked or not make it. Mine was at the end of the game."
Dempsey said the record is a great memory.
"He'll be talking about it for a long time," Dempsey said. "I have been. It's nice the way people remember it."
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