The 2022 NFL season has big shoes to fill in the kicking department.
By Week 3 of last season, Justin Tucker etched his name in the record books with a game-winning 66-yard field goal to lift the Baltimore Ravens over the Detroit Lions, passing kicker Matt Prater’s eight-year record in the process.
Just one week prior, Prater nailed a 62-yarder of his own for the Arizona Cardinals, good for top 10 in the NFL.
With preseason coming to a close, all eyes shift to the new season and potential history-making moments.
With Tucker and Prater both back in pads this season, there’s a good chance fans will be treated to some record-breaking kicks. Or perhaps a new face will emerge to land on the leaderboard.
Here’s a look at where Tucker’s kick stacks up against the previous records and what fans can expect in the 2022 season:
What is the longest field goal in NFL history?
Justin Tucker holds the distinction after launching his game-winning kick at Ford Field last season. He broke the record previously held by Matt Prater, who drilled a 64-yard attempt with the Denver Broncos to end the first half in a 2013 contest against the Tennessee Titans.
While Tucker had the benefit of playing inside a dome in Detroit, Prater’s kick came at Mile High in Denver. The elevation causes lower air density, which leads to further distances on throws, punts and kicks.
Tucker’s kick set an NFL record, but it is still well short of the NCAA record. On Oct. 16, 1976, Abilene Christian’s Ove Johansson uncorked a 69-yard field goal against East Texas State.
With the kick, Johansson broke a collegiate record that had stood for less than 20 minutes. Across the state, Texas A&M’s Tony Franklin hit a then-record-breaking 64-yarder against Baylor at 2:20 p.m. CT. Johansson’s kick went through around 2:40 p.m. CT.
What is the longest field goal attempt in NFL history?
The longest field goal attempt in NFL history would have clobbered both Tucker’s record and Johansson’s.
Oakland Raiders head coach Lane Kiffin opted to send out Sebastian Janikowski for a 74-yard kick at the end of the first half of a 2008 game against the San Diego Chargers instead of giving quarterback JaMarcus Russell a chance to throw a Hail Mary. From his own 34-yard line, Janikowski booted a kick that went right of the goal posts and failed to reach the end zone.
What are the 10 longest field goals in NFL history?
Tucker holds the top spot, while Prater was relegated to second on the podium.
There are six kickers tied for third with 63-yarders and four kickers tied for ninth all-time with 62-yarders.
1. Justin Tucker, 66 yards (Ravens at Lions, 2021)
2. Matt Prater, 64 yards (Broncos vs. Titans, 2013)
T-3. Brett Maher, 63 yards (Cowboys vs. Eagles, 2019)
T-3. Sebastian Janikowski, 63 yards (Raiders at Broncos, 2011)
T-3. Graham Gano, 63 yards (Panthers vs. Giants, 2018)
T-3. Jason Elam, 63 yards (Broncos vs. Jaguars, 1998)
T-3. David Akers, 63 yards (49ers at Packers, 2012)
T-3. Tom Dempsey, 63 yards (Saints vs. Lions, 1970)
T-9. Matt Prater, 62 yards (Cardinals vs. Vikings, 2021)
T-9. Brett Maher, 62 yards (Cowboys at Jets, 2019)
T-9. Brett Maher, 62 yards (Cowboys vs. Eagles, 2018)
T-9. Stephen Gostkowski, 62 yards (Patriots vs. Raiders, 2017)
T-9. Matt Bryant, 62 yards (Buccaneers vs. Eagles, 2006)
One common thread between these kicks, aside from astonishing distance, is that they all came at the end of a half. While at other points in the game it might make sense to punt from such a distance, the expiring clock has led to more coaches taking a chance with their kickers to put some points on the board. Of these 13 kicks, three were game-winners and 10 came at the end of the first half.
Only four of the NFL’s 62-plus-yard kicks were made inside domes. The other nine occurred at outside venues, including three in Denver and one in Mexico City, where Gostkowski also benefited from some elevation.
What’s the longest NFL field goal in 2021 after Justin Tucker’s game-winning 66-yard field goal?
Prater might have lost his record to Tucker, but he showed just how strong his leg still is in Week 2 against the Minnesota Vikings when he capped off a chaotic first half by nailing a 62-yarder at State Farm Stadium.
Who are some of the best kickers heading into the 2022 regular season?
Tucker and Prater obviously return as the kicking veterans, but they’ve got some close competition coming up behind.
Brandon McManus of the Chicago Bears and Ka’imi Fairbairn of the Houston Texans each made career-long 61-yard field goals last season. Trailing McManus and Fairbairn are Jake Elliott and Evan McPherson who each made 58-yard attempts.
McPherson, the youngest of the bunch at 23, went viral for his clutch gene that sent the Cincinnati Bengals to the AFC Championship for the first time in over three decades. With a long career ahead of him, McPherson could pose a serious threat to Tucker’s record.