What is the longest punt in NFL history? You asked the question and we found the answer. It is now part of our series of articles on major NFL records: we find the modern record, let The Best Sports Blog users know it, and then note previous holders of the record and discuss some modern close runs at it. This record was actually quite difficult to find (buried in a press release from the NFL Hall of Fame) but here it is:
In 1969, New York Jets Punter Steve O'Neal punted for 98 yards in a September 21st game versus the Denver Broncos.
O'Neal's record is now believed to be unbreakable. Then a rookie out of Texas A&M, O'Neal punted from his own end zone line. With the help of strong winds, the punt sailed through the air for 75 yards before hitting the ground. It was then helped by several extremely lucky bounces and finally settled after travelling an unprecedented 98 yards in total. In order for the record to be broken today, a punter would have to punt from within his own end zone and get the ball inside the opponent's five yard line. The odds of this happening are close to impossible but, as with any in-game record, it could always be broken at any given moment.
Before O'Neal set the modern record, it was held by Chicago Bears punter Jon Lintzenich. Lintzenich punted for 94 yards in a game versus the New York Giants on November 16th, 1931 and held what was then believed to be an unbreakable record. Before him, however, Hall of Famer Wilbur Henry may have been responsible for a punt of over 95 yards in 1923 but, since records were not kept in those days, the distance of Henry's punt is impossible to verify.
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