The Silent Steal of the Chiefs Dominance
Jake White @jakewhite58 Chiefs Focus @Chiefs Focus
In 2017 Harrison Butker was a 7th-round pick for the Carolina Panthers. Picked to add some competition to veteran Graham Gano. Even after showing up Gano in training camp, the Panthers went with the more expensive Gano. Butker went to the practice squad until Andy Reid and the Kansas City Chief came calling.
Since then Butker is number 2 all-time in Field Goal percentage and Gano is 23. Now Gano has had a longer career and bounced around a few teams, but he was never the high leverage kicker that Butker has become. Gano’s best percentage season was in 2017 when he made 97 percent, but his career average is 84 percent, and has made 32, 50-yard plus field goals in his 12-year career.
By comparison, Butker has an average of 90 percent, and already has 20, 50-yard plus field goals in his 5-year career. Butker has been so reliable most Chiefs fans stop watching during extra points and field goals. Being the kicker for the high-powered offense in Kansas City has an extra benefit, but as we saw last season and in the playoffs, those high leverage kicks can save our season, and having the 2nd most accurate kicker in the NFL really helps.
When we signed Butker it was to fill in for injured kicker Cairo Santos, but he went on to kick a rookie-record 38 field goals so it was safe to say the job was his. Also, his ability to hit from distance is only second to the number 1 kicker in the league Justin Tucker of the Baltimore Ravens.
So where do these numbers put Harrison Butker in the active kicker echelon? In today’s game with the revolving door of kickers for more teams, having a kicker on our team that is as reliable as he is, is a luxury. Looking at the list of most accurate kickers most kickers have been on a few teams. Given Butker’s experience, ability to kick from deep, and accuracy, he is on the same level as Tucker. Tucker will have all the respect and accolades for his longevity as the kicker he is, but Butker is on his tail.
Without Butkers's silent dominance since he joined the Chiefs, would we have won the Super Bowl or been the powerhouse we are? It's one of those questions we luckily don't have to answer. Dave Toub, the Special Teams Coordinator and special teams guru has assembled a great special teams unit and Butker is the catalyst for all of it.