There’s nothing better for an NFL fan than watching their favorite team kick a game-winning field goal as time runs out. It doesn’t matter how long the kick is, either. Any game winner can make even the least passionate fans jump off their couch and hug whoever they see first.
But a long field goal creates an even more special feeling. The combination of uncertainty and nervousness explodes into exuberance as nothing else can. So, what is the longest field goal in NFL history and who kicked it?
There have been 17 60-yard field goals made in NFL history
A 60-yard field goal almost sounds like folklore, but there have actually been quite a few made by NFL players. In the history of the league, there have been 17 field goals made from 60 yards or further.
The first 60-yarder in NFL history came from Tom Dempsey in 1970. Dempsey, a kicker for the New Orleans Saints at the time, nailed a 63-yard field goal against the Detroit Lions. He probably thought his record kick would never be beaten, but he was wrong.
Two kickers have hit multiple 60-yard field goals during their careers. Greg Zuerlein made a 60-yarder and a 61-yarder, and Sebastian Janikowski made a 61-yarder and a 63-yarder.
The most recent 60-yarder was Jake Elliott’s 61-yard bomb against the New York Giants in 2017. Elliott was even more impressive considering it was to win the game with no time remaining.
Every 60-yarder is as impressive as the next, but only one man holds the record for the longest field goal in NFL history.
Matt Prater made the longest field goal in NFL history in 2013
In 2013, the Denver Broncos faced off against the Tennessee Titans on a cold December day. The cold weather clearly affected the defenders, as the teams combined for 69 points in the game.
One man who wasn’t fazed by the weather was Broncos kicker Matt Prater. With three seconds left in the first half, Prater waltzed onto the field to attempt a 64-yard prayer before halftime.
Plenty of kickers have attempted a field goal of that length, but Prater was the first to put it through the uprights. Prater launched the kick through the mile-high air, and it easily sailed through the goalposts to set the all-time record.
No one has beaten his 64-yarder since.
Matt Prater’s 64-yarder isn’t the longest in football history
Prater’s 64-yard field goal is the only kick made of that length in the NFL. However, it isn’t the longest made in football history.
Four kickers have made field goals of 67 yards. The catch? They were all in college at the time. That’s right, the longest made field goal during a game actually came from the NCAA.
In 1978, Joe Williams made a 67-yard field goal for Witchita State. Tom Odle of Fort Hays State made the most recent 67-yarder in 1988.
Will we ever see a 67-yarder in the NFL?
All stats courtesy of Pro Football Hall of Fame