Inducted as a member of the Saints' hall of fame in 1989, Dempsey finished with a 61.6 percentage on field goals, 89.4 percent on extra points.
A year later, fitted with a specially customized kicking shoe for his right foot, he earned a roster spot with the New Orleans Saints, who were just three years into their existence as a franchise. He is best remembered for his record-setting 63-yard field goal in 1969. The development in his condition prompted Ashley and the rest of the Dempsey family to hire a hospice care agency to take care of Tom at the Lambeth House. Ashley Dempsey said Sunday that her father, who has resided in an assisted living home for several years after being diagnosed with dementia, tested positive for the coronavirus a little more than a week ago.
Dempsey joined the Eagles in 1971 after he struggled in the preseason following the historic kick with the Saints. As the team described it, "On Nov. 8, 1970, the Saints trailed the Detroit Lions 17-16 at Tulane Stadium". New Orleans, where many contracted the virus during Marti Gras, has had 153 deaths so far.
Dempsey joined the Saints out of college in 1969, and the following year he set the National Football League record for the longest field goal in history with a 63-yard game-winning effort as time expired against the Detroit Lions. The record has since been matched by 5 kickers and it was shattered - actually more like broken - by Denver Bronco kicker Matt Prater in 2013, when he scored a field goal from 64 yards.
"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", Benson added. "I made certain that they heard me say, 'It's good!' And I kept screaming into that microphone, 'It's good! He holds a special place in the hearts and minds of the Saints family".
At least 15 residents at the home have died of the illness, including Dempsey, at the Lambeth House, reports the Times-Picayune.
He is survived by his wife, Carlene, children and grandchildren.