USFL kick gets on NFL radar with long field goal kick

Ramiz Ahmed played college football at the University of Nevada. He didn’t have a long career at the school playing just 2017 and 2018 before going undrafted by NFL teams in 2019. Yet, the potential importance of the USFL to the NFL was shown recently when Ahmed kicked a 61-yard field goal for the Pittsburgh Maulers. Player development is what the USFL can offer the NFL and provide a minor league-style relationship to the top-level league.

Ahmed may have earned himself a tryout with an NFL team this summer or a potential call-up to an NFL team once the 2022 season kicks off thanks to his brilliant kicking accuracy and distance. The place kicker’s 61-yard field goal is so far the longest in the USFL’s history. Of course, the league just started up this spring with games showcasing plenty of talent that either missed out on being drafted by NFL teams or fell through cracks.

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Field goal kickers have improved greatly over the last decade. In fact, the importance of strong field goal kickers has grown tremendously. Between 2000 and 2009, the NFL had just two field goals made from 60 yards or greater. In just once season, the USFL have had two field goals scorer of 60 yards or more. Once again, this shows the way in which talent goes through the cracks in the NFL and how a feeder league to the top level of American football can help teams and players.

Ahmed has played on an NFL team previously. Although he never got into an NFL game or kicked a field goal in the league, the Nevada product was on the Chicago Bears practice team in 2020. For whatever reason, Ahmed didn’t show the Bears anything special in practice to warrant a call-up to the game-day squad.

Perhaps it is the pressure, intensity, and improved quality of an NFL-caliber special teams defense that threw off Ahmed in practice. Or maybe the field goal specialist has simply improved since his days of playing on the practice squad for the Bears. Besides, how often did Ahmed have the opportunity to kick field goals in practice? He was likely just on the field allowing the Bears special teams defense the chance to line up and attempt to block kicks.

Despite Ahmed’s headline making field goal, the Pittsburgh Maulers are likely to miss out on the playoffs in year No. 1 of the reborn USFL. At the time of this writing, the Maulers are 1-6 in the league and last in the North Division. The top two teams in the division will make the postseason. Thus far, the New Jersey Generals and Birmingham Stallions are the only USFL teams to clinch playoff berths. The 10-week regular season will move into Week 8 with the Maulers clinging onto possible playoff hopes.

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