UFL Kicker Jake Bates Proves Again He’s Addicted To Nailing Long Field Goals & Is A Near-Lock To Be In The NFL

Jake Bates

The Michigan Panthers probably have a future NFL superstar on their hands. You might say that’s a bold statement to make about anybody who plays in the fledgling United Football League. When it comes to kickers, however, they’re a lot easier to evaluate than most positions. Their job description boils down to one task: How accurately and far they can boot the pigskin.

Not since Matt Prater’s prime, when he’d convert modest Tim Tebow drives to three points via lengthy field goals for the Denver Broncos, have I seen anything quite like the consistent blend of power and precision that Jake Bates puts on display. He broke out in a big way this season with a 64-yard nuke in Week 1, and continued on Sunday with another 60-yarder — his third make from at least that far on the year.

Now that the NFL Draft has come and gone, us football junkies are starving for anything we can get. The UFL will have to do for now, and there isn’t a more electrifying talent in the league than Bates. At this rate, he’s going to give Ravens GOAT Justin Tucker a run for his money as the best placekicker on the planet. Quite something for a fellow who didn’t attempt a single field goal in college.

Fans and personalities across the X/Twittersphere are freaking out and/or showering Bates with praise for his leg-launching prowess.

Lots of Lions fans want Bates to stay right at Ford Field. Not that Dan Campbell is terribly inclined to send the field goal unit out on fourth down. He’s quite infamously aggressive, in fact. Never hurts to have a special teams weapon like Bates on standby, though — in particular when your team is fully ready to contend for a Super Bowl.

We just saw multiple teams use precious draft picks on kickers, which in a weird way, adds to the immense pressure on them. Pressure doesn’t appear to be a concept Bates is familiar with. To be a competent kicker given his lack of prior experience is impressive on its own. To emerge as a legitimate, cannon-legged revelation is another thing entirely.

Good for Jake Bates. The man is probably making himself millions of dollars. Or whatever it’ll be when he gets his inevitable crack at an NFL gig, it’ll be quite a raise from that Michigan UFL salary. If nothing else comes of the UFL and it proves to be another effort at spring football that falls short in the coming years, at least the league could hang its hat on unearthing a kicking sensation in Bates.

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock