Michigan Panthers kicker Jake Bates makes second 60-plus yard field goal in two weeks

Bates hit a 64-yarder last week in the UFL's opening week

Two weeks into the United Football League's inaugural season, a kicker might be the league's breakout star.

Jake Bates kicked a 62-yard field goal for the Michigan Panthers on Sunday in a 20–13 loss at home to the Birmingham Stallions. The booming kick came one week after Bates hit a 64-yarder against the St. Louis Battlehawks.

Only one NFL kicker hit a 62-yard field goal last season, according to Pro Football Talk. That was Matt Prater of the Arizona Cardinals versus the Dallas Cowboys. Nobody made a kick from a farther distance. (Baltimore Ravens kicker Justin Tucker holds the NFL record with a 66-yard field goal made against the Detroit Lions in 2021.)

Now, Bates has 64-yard and 62-yard kicks on his resume in just two games played. That has drawn attention from NFL teams in need of a kicker, including the Lions. Bates signed free-agent deals with the Houston Texans and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last year, but was released by both clubs.

Bates, 24, was a kickoff specialist in college, playing at Arkansas, Texas State and Central Arkansas (where he also played soccer). His 60-plus yard field goals in the UFL were the first kicks he made in a game since high school.