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The story of the Greatest Kicker in the World

Just a few years ago, Badger kicker Zach Hintze kicked a 62 yard field goal against Purdue at the close of the half to tie and all-time Wisconsin Badger record for the longest field goal.

You heard that right, TIED, a record that stood for 121 years!

You read that right… 121 years!

Pat O’dea was a phenom of a very different era and played for the Badgers just prior to the turn of 20th century.  The “Kangaroo Kicker” — that’s the nickname he earned because he came all the way from Austrailia to study at UW-Madison. Pre 1900 football was still in its infancy and the forward pass was not yet an offensive weapon.  But kicking, and especially “drop kicking” was a skill that could afford a team a real advantage. Back then, a field goal was worth five points. It wasn’t until 1909 that they were scored as three.

If you look under the heading of Longest Made Field Goals in Wisconsin football history, you will find these entries in the pre-modern era:

62 (drop kick) by Pat O’Dea vs. Northwestern, 11/24/1898
60 (drop kick) by Pat O’Dea vs. Minnesota, 11/18/1899
57 (drop kick) by Pat O’Dea vs. Chicago, 11/13/1897
57 (drop kick) by Pat O’Dea vs. Illinois, 11/11/1899
55 (drop kick) by Pat O’Dea vs. Minnesota, 10/30/1887

And, if that isn’t enough to convince you, how about these punting records?

In the pre-modern era, when a football field was 110 yards long…

110 by Pat O’Dea vs. Minnesota, 10/30/1897
100 by Pat O’Dea vs. Yale, 10/21/1899
85 by Pat O’Dea vs. Lake Forest, 10/10/1896

Truly, O’dea was ahead of his time…. and now you know.  If you’re interested to learn more, there’s a great book on this and the early days of football by Dave Revsine called The Opening Kickoff: The Tumultuous Birth of a Football Nation.

 

And since this post is more of a trivia contest than teaching tool, do you know who was the last player in the NFL to make a drop kick PAT or field goal?

It’s by Doug Flutie in his last NFL game back on February 14, 2018.

Attending one (or many) of Mike Farley’s Kicking Camps, whether you’re a beginner or an all-conference player, is a great way to improve your skills in becoming a player your coach can count on… and Mike once kicked a 60+ drop-kick (in practice). 🙂