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Denver Broncos kicker Matt Prater sets NFL record with 64-yard field goal

The NFL has been playing football since 1920, and nobody had ever hit a field goal longer than 63 yards, until Denver's Matt Prater got a shot at the end of the first half on Sunday.

Prater hit a 64-yard field goal to set the NFL record. He barely got the kick over the crossbar, but that won't matter in the record book. Take a look at the flight path of the field goal.

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The record was set in 1970 by Saints kicker Tom Dempsey, when he hit a 63-yard game winner. He stood alone until Denver's Jason Elam tied it with a 63-yarder in 1998. Oakland's Sebastian Janikowski, kicking in Denver, hit a 63-yard field goal in 2011, and San Francisco's David Akers hit a 63-yard field goal last year.

 

Prater is known for his huge leg, but had never gotten a chance to beat the longstanding record. With the Broncos trailing 21-17 late in the first half, coach John Fox decided to gamble (no doubt considering how the gamble on a long field-goal attempt by Alabama's Nick Saban was returned for a game-winning touchdown by Auburn last week) and give Prater a shot on the final play before halftime. The Titans had a player in the end zone for a return, but it didn't matter. Prater's field goal was good.

The fact that three of the five longest field goals in NFL history have been kicked in Denver's thin air will be held against Prater, but that might be evened out by the conditions in Denver on Sunday. The temperature in Denver for kickoff was 18 degrees. The ball must have been pretty hard when Prater kicked it, but it sailed through.

Since nobody had kicked a field goal longer than 63 yards in the NFL from 1920 to Sunday, Prater's record might stand for a while.

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Frank Schwab is the editor of Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at shutdowncorner@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

 

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