Baltimore Ravens kicker Justin Tucker had one of the biggest plays of the NFL season, a 61-yard field goal to beat the Lions last Monday, changing the playoff pictures for both teams.
The boot barely made it over the crossbar, which isn't surprising considering that was 5 yards longer than Tucker's previous career best. But Tucker thinks that, under the right conditions, he could back up 9 more yards and make one.
"If I pulled out the 8-degree driver – on a day when I'm feeling real fresh – I could probably hit one from 70 yards,'' Tucker told USA Today. "I hit one from 70 yards in pregame in Detroit this past Monday night.''
The NFL record is 64 yards, set this season by Denver's Matt Prater. Is a kick of 70 yards really possible?
Maybe. Tucker told USA Today that he hit a field goal in pregame warm-ups from 79 yards out before the season opener in Denver's thin air. Oakland's Sebastian Janikowski supposedly hit an 82-yard field goal in high school, and once attempted a 76-yarder in a NFL game (it wasn't close). A few years ago I saw Prater hit a 69-yard field goal in practice against a defense, although it wasn't rushing all that hard.
Field-goal accuracy has gone way up in the past few decades, and 50-yard field goals from the NFL's best don't seem all that difficult anymore because they hit them at such a high rate. Going for anything close to a 70-yarder would take a specific set of circumstances. A miss would give the other team incredible field position, so it's unlikely to be attempted unless it's at the end of a half. Even then, coaches would fear getting it blocked and returned for a touchdown, or even coming up short and being returned, like Auburn did to beat Alabama.
It seems unlikely we'll see a 70-yard field goal in a game. But Tucker, the NFL's hottest kicker, thinks it's possible, so who's going to argue with him?
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