NFL Shockers: The Most Unlikely Game Winning Field Goals of All Time
Today, Jacksonville Jaguars kicker Josh Scobee drilled a 59-yard field goal with no time remaining to defeat the Indianapolis Colts in a stunning upset victory.
Scobee's kick was unlikely, to say the least. It appeared that overtime was inevitable, but the 28-year old came through in the clutch, nailing the longest field goal of his career.
His longest field goal before today? 53 yards.
Scobee's performance was a shock. But where does it rank amongst the all-time most unlikely game-winning field goals in NFL history?
5. Jim O'Brien, Baltimore Colts V. Dallas Cowboys, January 7, 1970
O'Brien's field goal was only a 32 yard attempt. So why was it so unlikely?
Two reasons. The situation, and the kicker himself.
O'Brien made his game-winning kick at Super Bowl V, and it was the first in NFL history to occur during the Super Bowl.
The rookie kicker will always have that honor, paving the way for future Super Bowl heroes like Adam Vinatieri.
But it was extremely unlikely mainly because Jim O'Brien was an atrocious kicker.
He finished his career with a 55.6% kicking percentage. And while 32 yards may seem like a chip shot for modern NFL kickers, O'Brien's career numbers from that distance were far from stellar. He only made 15 out of his 27 kicks from 30-39 yards in his career.
55% is a pretty bad success rate. Combine that with the fact that the kick was made in the championship, and it's a miracle that O'Brien pulled it off.
This will not be the last time that the Colts franchise appears in this list, by the way.
4. Josh Scobee, Jacksonville Jaguars V. Indianapolis Colts, October 3, 2010
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Scobee's kick falls in at No. 4.
Peyton Manning had just engineered another comeback, driving the Colts 65 yards for the game-tying score. The game appeared destined for overtime.
Then, the Colts defense, yet again, collapsed. They gave up a six-yard and a 22-yard completion, putting the Jaguars on the edge of field goal range.
Scobee's career long was a 53-yarder before today. Not anymore.
His 59-yard field goal was the third-longest game-winning field goal in NFL history, and one of the most unlikely game winners in league history.
3. Rob Bironas, Tennessee Titans V. Indianapolis Colts, December 3, 2006
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The Colts franchise seems to attract miracle kicks, doesn't it?
This one occurred in 2006. After leading most of the game, the Colts allowed a fourth quarter Vince Young touchdown pass and fell behind 17-14.
Manning responded late in the quarter, driving the Colts to the Titans' three yard line, before an Adam Vinatieri field goal tied the game at 17.
The Titans started their final drive at their own 25 yard line, and moved the ball only 33 yards downfield. Overtime was inevitable, right?
Not exactly. Luckily for Tennessee, the wind was at the back of their kicker, Rob Bironas, as he lined up for a last-ditch field goal, 60 yards from the goal posts.
Bironas later kicked a 56 yard field goal in 2007, so he does have a strong leg. But the Colts seemingly had this game in hand.
In fact, they had an apparent touchdown pass to Ben Utecht nullified due to a penalty late in the fourth quarter.
The Colts followed up this performance with a blowout loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars, but later rebounded to win Super Bowl XLI.
2. Matt Bryant, Tampa Bay Buccaneers V. Philadelphia Eagles, October 22, 2006
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His second longest kick was a 51-yarder.
But for one day, Matt Bryant became a legend in Tampa Bay. And a supervillain in Philadelphia.
The Buccaneers jumped out to a 17-0 lead, before the Eagles began to rally. A Donovan McNabb touchdown pass to Reggie Brown cut the lead to 17-14 in the 4th quarter, but a Bryant 44-yarder made it a six-point game.
Then, with only 43 seconds remaining, McNabb threw a screen pass to Brian Westbrook, who outran the entire Tampa Bay defense for a 52 yard touchdown. 21-20, Eagles lead.
It seemed over. No way a team could come back from that kind of gut punch touchdown, right?
Enter Matt Bryant. His 62-yard attempt just kept on going until it finally cleared the crossbar, giving the Buccaneers an improbable victory.
The field goal was the third longest in NFL history.
1. Tom Dempsey, New Orleans Saints V. Detroit Lions, November 8, 1970
Tom Dempsey was one of the greatest kickers in NFL history. But this kick was shocking even for him.
At the time, the goalposts were placed on the goal line itself. So when Dempsey lined up for a 63 yard field goal on the Saints' 37-yard line, the Lions thought that it was a fake.
No way the Saints would actually attempt a field goal from that far away, right? Especially with time running out in a 17-16 game.
The Saints had faith in their star kicker, and Dempsey rewarded them with the longest field goal in NFL history.
Well known for his square shoe, that was custom-made due to a lack of toes on his right foot, Dempsey set a record that still stands today with this game-winning boot.
Jason Elam later tied the record with a 63-yard strike of his own. But Dempsey's remains the longest game-winner in NFL history.