Sebastian Janikowski kicked a record-tying 63-yard field goal on Monday night in Denver, but the Oakland Raiders think he was shortchanged.
The Raiders are appealing to have the kick officially go down in the record books as a 64-yarder, which would give Janikowski the record for longest field goal all to himself, ahead of Tom Dempsey and Jason Elam, who also booted 63-yard field goals.
We checked with the league office on how such appeals work and were told that clubs can ask for any play to be reviewed for statistical purposes, and the Elias Sports Bureau will review the play and make a decision.
So how do they decide the measurement on a kick? The question is whether Raiders punter Shane Lechler placed the ball on the Raiders’ 47-yard line or on the Raiders’ 46-yard line when he held for Janikowski’s field goal. If it was between yard lines, they would round down.
Here’s the relevant excerpt from the NFL’s Guide for Statisticians: “Field goals shall be measured from the spot of the kick. Spot of the kick is dictated by the same principle as used in determining the line of scrimmage. Example: If any point of the football when kicked rests on or above any yard stripe, credit distance from that yard stripe. If all of the ball rests between yard stripes, credit distance from the yard line nearest the intended goal.”
By that standard, the Raiders should not win this appeal: The ball was held between the 46 and 47 when it was kicked. Slate points out that Janikowski’s kick was longer than either Elam’s or Dempsey’s, but not a full yard longer. Janikowski’s kick will stay 63 yards.