UFL Week 1: Five takeaways from first weekend of merged spring football league between XFL and USFL

The inaugural United Football League season kicked off this past weekend, the combined product of the merged XFL and USFL leagues. All the USFL and XFL teams played each other in Week 1 of the season, part of a 10-week regular season which the top two teams in the USFL and XFL divisions will play in the postseason. 

As Week 1 of the UFL season concluded, here are five takeaways from the four games played. 

64-yard field goal wins game

The spring football leagues never seem to be devoid of kickers, which held true during the opening day of UFL games. Jake Bates kicked a 64-yard field goal with three seconds left to lead the Michigan Panthers to an 18-16 victory over the St. Louis Battlehawks.

What made the field goal even more impressive? Bates hadn’t kicked an impactful field goal since high school, making the kick even more improbable. The 64-yard field goal was the longest field goal of Bates’ career and the longest field goal in spring football games dating back to 2019. Bates’ field goal was the second longest field goal in Ford Field history, behind Justin Tucker’s 66-yard field goal in 2021 — which won a game for the Baltimore Ravens.  

The fake punt that went viral

Brad Wing only threw one pass in his entire professional football career, until he faked a pooch punt attempt in the San Antonio Brahmas opener that went for a touchdown. The touchdown pass was already impressive from Wing — who was initially the holder on a 58-yard field goal attempt — as he threw it to an offensive lineman for the score. Center Alex Mollette was lined up as the left end on the field goal attempt and was wide open downfield when Wing took a chance and threw it to him.

The play is not seen often in professional football, so for a UFL team to pull it off gave some positive vibes for the league. 

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