"How far is 63 yards?" I asked Ola Kimrin.
"Oh boy," he said from Sweden, with the slightest accent on his English. "It just looks so far."
You might not remember Kimrin. Back in 2002, he was looking to break into the NFL as a kicker after a stint leading NFL Europe in scoring. Then-Denver Broncos coach Mike Shanahan had been impressed with his leg -- Kimrin was a kickoff specialist for UTEP -- and decided to give him a training camp tryout against Jason Elam, who already owned a share of the longest field goal kicked in NFL history -- 63 yards. Everyday, the two practiced mega-bombs that sliced through the thin mile-high air.
During Denver's last preseason game against the Seattle Seahawks, Shanahan decided to see what his rookie could do. Toward the end of the first half, the coach sent Kimrin out to try a 65-yard field goal. It was his first attempt in the NFL. "I looked at the goal posts and then walked back to line up," Kimrin says. "I said to Tom Rouen, the holder, 'This is far,' He just looked at me and said, 'Yep.'"
Then Kimrin nailed it.