An NFL legend lost his battle with COVID-19.

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Former New Orleans Saints player, Tom “Stumpy” Dempsey, passed away late Saturday night due to complications stemming from COVID-19.

He was 73 years old.


Dempsey contracted the virus in March during an outbreak at the Lambeth House retirement home in New Orleans. He is one of at least 15 residents there to die after being stricken with the disease.

However, Dempsey’s 63-yard-field goal in 1970 set the NFL record giving Saints fans a rare uplifting moment in the franchise’s early years. He overcame huge odds to establish a virtually unbeatable record.

Before long-distance place-kicking became a staple of the sport, Dempsey’s thunderous boot not only beat the 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 7 yards.

An unlikely football hero, he was born without fingers on his right hand or toes on his right foot. He wore a small, flat shoe on his kicking foot that is now on display at the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

In 2012, Dempsey publicly disclosed that he had been diagnosed with dementia.