At one point, it was hard to imagine an NFL team ever having worse results kicking field goals. Because of one man, that seems to be a thing of the past.
The Los Angeles Chargers had tried everything. Kickers that were drafted, kickers that weren’t drafted. They tried highly-touted prospects and long-term veterans. They couldn’t seem to find an answer.
Enter Mike Badgley, the most unlikely name on the list. In fact, it wasn’t long ago, mystified at his signing, that I wrote about three kickers that were better options than Badgley.
Well, we can toss that all out the window now that we’ve seen Badgley kick.
This guy has been a rock of confidence since joining the squad. He’s missed just one field goal in 15 attempts and is 20-for-21 on his extra point kicks to this point. Compared to what we were seeing out of the likes of Younghoe Koo, Nick Rose and Caleb Sturgis, among others, those numbers look terrific.
Gone are the days where fans of the Chargers are watching field goals with their backs to the kicker, or their hands over their faces. Gone are the days where an attempt at a routine three points seems better than a 50-50 chance (those odds were high for a guy like Rose).
Last season, the Chargers watched a playoff spot go by the wayside largely due to all of their missed kicks. This season, with a much better squad, the fear was that a missed kick at a crucial moment would help eliminate the Bolts from the playoffs.
Gone are those days as well.
Badgley has not only alleviated that problem, he’s answered the question of who should be the Chargers’ kicker for the long term. If he hadn’t already done that before Sunday, he answered the question with an exclamation point as he drilled a 59-yard field goal just before halftime against the Cincinnati Bengals.
It stands as the longest made field goal in Chargers history, knocking Nate Kaeding and the 57-yard kick he made in 2008 from the top spot.
Any time you break a record set by Kaeding, you’ve done well. To this point, Badgley has done well and he’s filled the one hole that many fans of the team were worried most about.