Eventually, we’re going to take stock of all the people who have died due to complications related to coronavirus and COVID-19 and the list will be staggering. Unfortunately, the virus has now claimed famed New Orleans Sants kicker Tom Dempsey, who died at the age of 73.

Ashley Dempsey, his daughter, said on Sunday that her father tested positive for the coronavirus just over a week ago. He had been battling Alzheimer’s disease and dementia and was residing at the Lambeth House senior living center in New Orleans,  which had been strongly affected by the virus. Over 50 residents od Lambeth House have been affected and at least 15 have died, per NOLA.com.

Dempsey set the mark for the longest NFL field goal made in 1970 when he booted a 63-yarder despite the fact that he was born with no toes on his right foot. Dempsey’s kick, which not only helped the Saints beat the Detroit Lions on the last play of the game, stood as the NFL record for over four decades until the Denver Broncos’ Matt Prater hit a 64-yarder in 2013. It was said that Lions defenders were laughing at Dempsey and the Saints for even attempting the unthinkable kick, which topped the previous record by seven yards.

Detroit Lions 19-17 on the last play of the game at Tulane Stadium on Nov. 8, 1970, but also stood as the NFL record for more than four decades. It beat the previous record by a full seven yards.

While Dempsey is mostly remembered as a Saint, his 11-year career actually took him to play for the Philadelphia Eagles, Los Angeles Rams, Houston Oilers, and Buffalo Bills as well. He only spent two seasons with the Saints while he spent four with Philly. Still, he was inducted in the New Orleans Saints Hall of Fame after retiring. After his playing days, Dempsey returned to New Orleans and worked as an oilfield salesman, high school football coach, and even as a car dealership manager for Tom Benson, who bought the Saints in 1985.

Current Saints owner Gayle Benson released a statement Sunday morning.

“The New Orleans Saints family is deeply saddened and heartbroken at this most difficult time. Tom’s life spoke directly to the power of the human spirit and exemplified his resolute determination to not allow setbacks to impede following his dreams and aspirations. He exemplified the same fight and fortitude in recent years as he battled valiantly against illnesses but never wavered and kept his trademark sense of humor. He holds a special place in the hearts and minds of the Saints family.”


About Sean Keeley

A graduate of Syracuse University, Sean Keeley is the creator of the Syracuse blog Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician and author of 'How To Grow An Orange: The Right Way to Brainwash Your Child Into Rooting for Syracuse.' He has also written non-Syracuse related things for SB Nation, Curbed, Neighborhoods.com, and many other outlets. He currently lives in Chicago.