In a blowout victory for the Detroit Lions against Jacksonville an under-the-radar position and player was essential to the game.
Michael Badgley was that player. The 27-year-old kicker hailing from Summit, New Jersey has been money since he’s been in Detroit.
It makes sense given his nickname, the “Money Badger,” which he trademarked in 2019.
Against the Jacksonville Jaguars Badgley went four-for-four on both field goals and extra-points. He accounted for 16 total points and was key to the Lions victory.
The Lions did not punt a single time against the Jaguars as they scored on every single one of their drives. If not for Badgley that feat would’ve been impossible.
He was the only Lion to account for points scored in second quarter and kept the Lions momentum going into the second half. If not for his three field goals in the first half, Detroit would’ve went into halftime with only a 14-6 lead over Jacksonville. A one-score lead into halftime would be a much different game plan for the Jaguars if that was the case.
In his seven games with Detroit he’s gone 11-12 on field goals and a perfect 18-18 on extra points. The only field goal he missed was a shanked 29 yarder against Buffalo in the third quarter. The miss turned out to be a huge mistake, because the Lions lost that game by three points.
The “Money Badger” bounced back in a huge way against the Jaguars. It shows that Lions head coach, Dan Campbell has faith in him.
“Once again, he came through big for us, you know, and I do, I got a lot of faith in him, he’s earned that,” said Campbell in his post game press conference against Jacksonville.
What’s even more impressive is what he had to do, to get to this point. He started the 2022 season with the Chicago Bears getting his first and only start in week four. In that one game played with the Bears he was a perfect four-for-four and scored the only points in the entire game for them.
Oddly enough, Chicago cut Badgley two days after being the only offense they had in that game. Detroit then signed the kicker the next day. He was on and off of the practice squad until late October because of a kicking battle. Finally, he got his start after Detroit cut previous kicker Austin Seibert.
Since 2020 Badgley has been on five different teams. After a poor 2020 with the Los Angeles Chargers they decided not to resign him. In 2021 he missed one kick for the Tennessee Titans and then they cut him. He finished that season with the Indianapolis Colts, but they didn’t resign him. 2022 was Chicago and now Detroit.
The Money Badger was electric in his rookie campaign with the Chargers. Hopefully he resurges this year with the Detroit Lions to become a mainstay on the roster.
Photo Credit: Paul Sancya – Associated Press
Photo Edit: Noah Wulbrecht – Woodward Sports