Tech’s Harrison Butker comes up clutch for Chiefs in Super Bowl LVII

Credit: D. Orlando Ledbetter

Harrison Butker, who played at Georgia Tech, hit a late field goal that lifted the Chiefs to a 38-35 win over the Eagles in Super Bowl LVII.

GLENDALE, Ariz. – Chiefs kicker Harrison Butker shook of an early miss and made a 27-yard field goal to lift the Chiefs to a 38-35 victory over the Eagles in Super Bowl LVIl Sunday.

For Butker, who played at Westminster and Georgia Tech, it was joyful end for what was a difficult season at times.

“I was expecting to have to go kick a field goal when we got closer down to the end zone,” Butker said of the game-winning drive. “The thought went through my mind that we’re just going to go score a touchdown, but as soon as (Jerick McKinnon) took a knee (at the 2-yard line), it was pretty clear that we were kicking a field goal. A shorter field goal, I took a couple more reps in the net. We went out there and executed.”

McKinnon went down short of the end zone in the closing minutes that allowed the Chiefs to run more time off the clock before Butker delivered the game-winner with 11 seconds remaining.

Butker missed a 42-yard field goal that would have given the Chiefs a 10-7 lead in the first quarter.

“I just pulled it,” Butker said. “It was a little wobbly. I didn’t make great contact with the ball. Unfortunately, it didn’t go through. As the game went on, I felt like I was hitting it pretty good.”

Butker didn’t want to dwell on the missed kick, which hit the left upright.

“You’ve got to focus on the next kick,” Butker said. “You look at the scoreboard and go wow, we could have had three more points. You’ve got to get that out of your mind and focus on the process.”

On the same field, Butker suffered an ankle sprain in the season-opener against the Cardinals. He returned in Week 6 against the Bills and made 2 of 3 field goals.

“The only reason he had problems was because of the high ankle sprain,” Chiefs coach Andy Reid said. “That’s rough on a kicker, especially on that plant leg. I was just a matter of just getting through that. ... For the rest of the season from when he was hurt. He’s very tough. He’s a tough kid.”

The Chiefs were down 24-14 at halftime.

“That’s kind of what (quarterback) Patrick (Mahomes) and (Travis) Kelce were harping on,” Butker said. “We have to have energy. We have to take advantage of this moment. We’re not going to have another chance basically. We can’t have any regrets.

“Especially on their first drive to start the second half, make a statement and go get a touchdown.”

The Chiefs were unstoppable in the second half. They put up 24 points, scoring on every possession.

The same field on which Butker was injured presented problems. Many players slipped and some changed cleats at halftime, according to Eagles tight end Dallas Goedert.

“I personally didn’t have any issues with the field,” Butker said. “I’m glad that I didn’t slip.”

Butker marveled at Mahomes and he was able to play through a first-half aggravation of his high ankle sprain.

“He’s very tough,” Butker said. “He’s a warrior. He kind of banged his ankle up going into the half. I know there was no question that he was going to be in the game running, I don’t know how long that run was, 20 yards or whatever it was. He’s a warrior. That’s something that makes him so great is the fact that he’s so competitive and he won’t take no for an answer. He’s going to find a way to win.”

Butker knew he would be called on after Mahomes late run on the game-winning drive.

“Yeah, that run got us into field goal range,” Butker said. “I had to be ready to go. The offensive line did a great job blocking and I’m just so thankful (that we had) a great snap and hold by James Winschester and Tommy Townsend. Glad it went through.”

Butker also kicked the game-winner to defeat the Bengals in the AFC championship game two weeks ago which sent him to his third Super Bowl.

“I kind of learned from the first one,” Butker said. “You have to relax and get off your feet. The game is so much longer. A normal game is three hours long. I don’t know how long this game was with the warmups and the halftime show is another 25 minutes and then there are extra timeouts throughout the game. It definitely feels different from all of the other games you’ve played in the regular season and playoffs. I thought we handled it pretty well.”

Butker gave a nod to Georgia Tech from his post-game press conference.

“Go Jackets and thank you for all of your support,” Butker said.

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