Standing on the floor at Footprint Center in Phoenix, answering all sorts of questions from the masses of media people who flocked to the area for perhaps the biggest day on the sports calendar, Kansas City Chiefs kicker Harrison Butker knew how special it was to be a participant in three of the last four Super Bowls.
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“Very crazy! It’s a blessing,” Butker told Sports Spectrum on Monday during Super Bowl Opening Night, ahead of Kansas City’s showdown on Sunday against the Philadelphia Eagles. “I’m very fortunate. It’s very rare for this to happen.”
The 27-year-old Butker has played no small part in the Chiefs’ success, establishing himself as one of the best kickers in the NFL. In his six years in the league, all with Kansas City, Butker has connected on 88.2% of his field goals, good for the fourth-best percentage of all time. Yet maybe his most important kick came only 10 days ago, when his 45-yarder sailed through the uprights with three seconds remaining to send the Chiefs to the Super Bowl yet again.
Harrison Butker kicks the Chiefs into the Super Bowl ‼️
Kansas City defeats the Cincinnati Bengals 23-20 on a last second FG to win the AFC Championship and advance to the NFL Final against the Philadelphia Eagles. #NFLPlayoffs #AFCChampionship #SuperBowlLVII #ChiefsKingdom pic.twitter.com/l9EeEfgaeu
— For Future Considerations (@PodcastFFC) January 30, 2023
Butker is known to point to the sky after his attempts, always giving glory to God and reminding himself Who is in control.
“[God] is the most important thing,” Butker told Sports Spectrum. “If I didn’t have faith in God, I don’t think I’d be the father I am, the husband I am, the kicker I am. That kind of sets the tone for everything else and everything falls under that, but that gives me the strength to go do everything I need to do.
“I may have fears about it — I might have pressure — but I know I’m a child of God and He’s gonna protect me. And maybe that protection comes with some suffering, but that’s what’s best for me and I gotta accept that suffering and grow as best I can with that.”
Butker readily admits that the 2022-23 season has not been easy for him. He had high hopes for the season, but in Week 1 against the Arizona Cardinals, he suffered an ankle injury that sidelined him for the next four games. He returned in Week 6 with a bang, nailing a 62-yarder against the Buffalo Bills in his first kick back. His triumphant return was soon overshadowed by his struggles to regain his pre-injury form; he missed at least one extra point or field goal in each of his first five games after his return and ended the regular season only converting 18 of 24 field-goal attempts.
He addressed the trial that this season has been for him in a press conference last week.
“The temptation for me was just to be upset, kind of quit the process, just throw my hands up like, ‘I can’t do anything.’ But I just kept the faith. I want to give glory to God. I wouldn’t have been able to come in every day and attack every day with a smile, to be blessed, to be grateful to be in this position.
“… I always pray for God’s will to be done, so whether that’s a make or a miss, if I’m doing my absolute best to maximize the talents that He gave me, if it doesn’t go in I’m gonna keep the process and keep going as much as I can until I’m not kicking footballs anymore.”
Lengthy but powerful quote here from Harrison Butker on trials he dealt with this season.
"I always pray for God's will to be done, whether that's a make or a miss. If I'm doing my absolute best to absolute best to maximize the talents he gave me… I'm gonna keep going." pic.twitter.com/ksNXwXdyS5
— Glenn Kinley (@glenn_kinley) February 3, 2023
Butker talked to Sports Spectrum about realizing more than ever this season that his true worth is found in Christ alone.
“You miss some kicks and you realize, ‘OK, my identity can’t be all as a football player.’ So I grew a lot in my prayer life knowing that I’m nothing without Him and I gotta lean on Him, and if He wants to take anything away from me, He can. And if He wants to add anything, He can. It’s all up to Him.”
He continued later, “‘Jesus, I trust in You’ is a great [prayer], just trusting His will over our own will, because our own will would be worldly success, right?”
Butker knows that God’s will is certain to be done on Sunday in Super Bowl LVII, and he’s called to prepare and play to the best of his ability for God’s glory and simply trust His goodness in whatever the result may be. The Super Bowl is set for 6:30 p.m. ET.
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