Football in the state of Michigan is a big deal. Despite the fact that the Lions (until recently) have been a bit of a laughing stock in the league, some of the biggest stories in football seem to originate in the state, whether it's from the traditionally great college programs, or the most recent addition, the Michigan Panthers.

Well, the Lions have been making strides as of late, even hosting, and winning their first home playoff game in decades. But now, they're about to make another bit of Michigan football history, by picking up a miracle kicker, who set UFL records in their home stadium.

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Jake Bates shocked us all at the beginning of the UFL season, setting a UFL, and Ford Field record, launching a 64-yard game-winning field goal through the updates of the Michigan Panthers home opener, easily making him the player of the game.

It was also incredible, because it was his first in-game field goal kick since high school.

 


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Now, to be fair, he was a kicker in college at the University of Central Arkansas, Texas State, and then eventually Arkansas. But he was the kickoff guy, so pinning it between two yellow posts wasn't his ultimate goal. But he was also a soccer player at UCA, AND earned All-SEC honors in 2022, leading the SEC with an average of 64.47 yards per kickoff.

So the kid's used to kicking it far.

Well, he had a monstrous year for the Panthers, finishing 21 of 28, two of which were 60+ yard game-winners, and his hard work has paid off, landing him a two-year contract with the Lions.

The pickup by Detroit is perfect, given Dan Campbell's hesitance to go to veteran Michael Badgley, who only has three made field goals of 50 or more yards in the past 2 seasons.

And who knows, maybe Bates ends up being another UFL bust in the league, but at the very least, the Lions went for an ACTUAL kicker this time. God forbid this turns out to be another Kickalicious incident. Oof.

Detroit Lions First Round Picks since 2000

The Detroit Lions don't have a ton of drafting success to look back on, but the first round of the NFL Draft is always an exciting venture. At the very least, this list gets more and more pleasing as it nears the present day. These are the Detroit Lions first-round picks since 2000.

Gallery Credit: Jacob Harrison

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