Michael Badgley was sensational for the Chargers as a rookie, turning in a performance the franchise hasn’t seen from a kicker in decades.
Joey Bosa, Derwin James, and Keenan Allen come to mind when discussing some of the best rookie seasons from a Chargers player in recent memory; however, one more name needs to be mentioned along with them: Michael Badgley. As an undrafted free agent, Badgley had not only one of the best inaugural seasons in franchise history, but in recent NFL history.
Badgley began his NFL career with the Indianapolis Colts, making 10 out of 10 possible field goals and extra points in the preseason. If not for the return of future Hall of Fame kicker Adam Vinatieri, the rookie would have likely won the starting job. At the time, the Chargers were set with free agent kicker Caleb Sturgis, whose experience and kicking percentage were a welcome sight for a fan base whose team missed the playoffs due to a circus of chaos at the kicker position.
Sturgis, unfortunately, was both a disappointment and eventually unavailable, forcing the Chargers to sign Badgley for two weeks while he recovered. The result: An immediate upgrade, so much so that fans were calling for him to remain the starter. In the slaughter of the Cleveland Browns and thrilling victory in London, Badgley hit on another 10 straight kicks, bringing his career total (including preseason) to a perfect 20-for-20. It was obvious the team had something special in the rookie, so in true Chargers fashion, they went with the disappointing veteran.