O'Hara: Perhaps the most pressure-packed kick of Jason Hanson's career had a double meaning

Posted Apr 4, 2013

In 2002, Jason Hanson had to kick an overtime field goal to fly back to Spokane, Wash. for the birth of his son, Luke

Talk about a kicker and his family laboring under pressure.

One of the most pressure-packed kicks of Jason Hanson’s 21-season career had double meaning because of the impending birth of his son, Luke.

Jason HansonK Jason Hanson

Hanson’s wife, Kathleen, was pregnant with the couple’s third of its four children and in Spokane, Wash., to give birth by C-section on Monday, Oct. 21, 2002.

The Lions were playing the Bears in Detroit on Sunday at 1 p.m., and Jason had a reservation on the last flight to Spokane that evening. The only thing that could snag his plans was if the game went into overtime.

"That was one of the funniest and best memories of my career," Hanson said Thursday. "My wife had to be on almost complete bed rest. We had no family in the Detroit area.

"The only way that I would miss my flight was if we went into overtime. It was the last flight out. Well . . . we went into overtime."

Hanson had a hand – or a right foot, to be accurate – in creating his own dilemma. He made field goals of 30 and 24 yards in the fourth quarter to tie the game at 20-20 and send it into overtime. The 24-yard field goal came with 2:19 left in regulation.

Overtime did not last long. On their first possession, the Lions drove 30 yards on eight plays to put Hanson in position to win the game, 23-20, with a 48-yard field goal. He took a quick shower and headed to the airport.

"Not only was the field goal to win the game, or lose," Hanson said. "If I make this, I catch my flight and see my son born. If I miss, I miss my flight and don’t see my son born."

Hanson said he got through security just in time to board the flight and get to Spokane in time for the birth.