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Issue 16 – Easter 2023

The Jungle

To the Heights

On Harrison Butker's winning kick at the Super Bowl.


There were eight seconds left in Super Bowl LVII, and the sixty-eight thousand fans packed into Phoenix’s State Farm Stadium held their breath. The Kansas City Chiefs and the Philadelphia Eagles were tied 35-35, and the game’s outcome would come down to whether or not Harrison Butker, the Chiefs’ kicker, could hit a twenty-seven-yard field goal. More than one hundred thirteen million television viewers watched as Butker got up from the sidelines and ran out to the field. The pressure was on. He prayed a quick Hail Mary.

When Butker reached his position on the field, he looked up and paused. Two weeks before at the A.F.C. Championship, he had found himself in a similar situation at the forty-five-yard line with three seconds left in the game. His kick was good then, and the Chiefs had squeaked past the Cincinnati Bengals, 23-20. Until this moment, that was the biggest kick of his career. But now the stakes were infinitely higher. If he kicked the ball over the bar, the Kansas City Chiefs were Super Bowl champions. If he missed, he would go down in N.F.L. history as the kicker who cost them the big game. The pressure was immense, but Butker was at peace. “Yes, this is important,” he thought to himself. “But it’s not the most important thing. I need to calm down, and realize that I’m a child of God and He has given me this talent.” He took a deep breath and kicked the ball with all his might. It flew through the air and it soared over the bar. The crowd went wild.

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About the author

Colm Flynn

Colm Flynn is a reporter with EWTN News, covering Vatican affairs and stories of faith around the world.