Chiefs’ Catholic Kicker Harrison Butker: A Knight in the Super Bowl

Chiefs’ Catholic Kicker Harrison Butker: A Knight in the Super Bowl February 4, 2023

Super Bowl LVII championship game on February 12, 2023 in Glendale, Arizona. Philadelphia Eagles vs. Kansas City Chiefs./Image: Adobe Stock

The members of Catholic fraternal organization the Knights of Columbus do many amazing things, but not that many Knights get the chance to kick off in the Super Bowl. But, depending on the flip of a coin on Sunday, Feb. 12, Knight Harrison Butker of the Kansas City Chiefs could do just that.

A Down-and-Up Year for Chiefs Kicker Harrison Butker

After an ankle sprain in week one of the season, Butker fought to recover, returning in week six. It still took a bit after that for the 27-year-old to get his mojo back. But when the Chiefs squared off against the Cincinnati Bengals in the AFC Championship Game on Sunday, Jan. 29, it ultimately all came down to Butker.

On third down for the Chiefs, with about eight seconds left in regulation play and the score tied at 20-20, a late hit on Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes — as he ran on his own sprained ankle for a first down — resulted in a penalty that moved the Chiefs 15 yards closer to the end zone.

Butker came on the field and nailed a 45-yard field goal to win the game for the Chiefs, 23-20, and send his team to the Super Bowl, as Bengal Joseph Ossai, the player who hit Mahomes, sobbed on the sidelines.

The Chiefs now face the Philadelphia Eagles on Feb. 12 in Super Bowl LVII at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona.

The Chiefs Need Mahomes’ Arm — and Butker’s Leg

This marks the third time in a row that Butker has been key in a Chiefs AFC Championship game. In 2021, he kicked a field goal that sent the game against the Buffalo Bills into overtime, and the Chiefs ultimately won with a touchdown.

In 2022, in the final seconds of regulation, he did the same thing against the Cincinnati Bengals. But this time, it was Bengals kicker Evan McPherson that made the game-winning overtime field goal.

But in 2023, that turned around.


“The AFC Championship Game was probably the biggest kick of my career – it always happens to be the playoff games where they’re game-tying or game-winning kicks,” Butker said. “And to be able to make that through was obviously thanks to God for allowing the kick to go through.

“I know it sounds weird, but 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 going to keep the process and keep going as much as I can until I’m not kicking footballs anymore.

“But yeah, it was a great feeling for that ball to go through and, obviously, my head’s down, I’m grinding every day now to get ready for the Super Bowl.”

The Man of Football As a Man of Faith

The on-field cardiac arrest of Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin set off a wave of public prayer. BTW, he’s doing well and recently released his own update video.

This public display of religiosity in the NFL took many in the media by surprise. But faith and football have been entwined since the sport’s earliest days. That includes Catholics, whether at Catholic colleges like the University of Notre Dame, or the NFL, where three of five pivotal founding members were devout Catholics (more on that here).

While most of the Christians in the NFL aren’t Catholic, we’re still represented, particularly among kickers. Along with Butker, other outspoken Catholic kickers include Greg Zuerlein (formerly of the Los Angeles Rams and Dallas Cowboys, now with the New York Jets), and the incredibly accurate Justin Tucker of the Baltimore Ravens (who’s also an opera singer),

In 2019, Butker shared his faith journey with EWTN:

While he didn’t kick a do-or-die field goal in that particular AFC Championship game, Butker was with the Chiefs in 2020. That year, for the first time since 1970, the team went to the Super Bowl and triumphed over the San Francisco 49ers (to the delight of many Seahawks fans, including me, who became temporary Chiefs fans in hopes of seeing our division rivals defeated).

A Super Bowl Champion and Knight Finds His Humility

With nearly two million members around the world, the Knights of Columbus serve their parishes and communities, and promote the Catholic faith. After winning the Super Bowl in 2020, Butker, a husband and now father of two, was invited to speak to his fellow members.

From, the website of the Knights of Columbus:

Harrison Butker’s impact on the football field is tremendous. As kicker for the Kansas City Chiefs, he was a vital component to the team’s victory in Super Bowl LIV. But the morning after the game, as he told the attendees at the Knights of Columbus 55th annual College Councils Conference, he still had to take out the garbage. This simple act was a humbling reminder to him while on top of the football world.

“Outside of the bright lights of the stadium, with the fans and the notoriety that come with being an NFL player, the greatest impact that I will make with my time on this earth is remaining dedicated to my primary vocation — helping my family get to heaven,” he said.

The Man Who Led Butker Back to the Faith and to the Knights

For cradle-Catholic Butker, a huge turning point came during his college years at Georgia Tech. Wavering in his faith, Butker met teammate Grant Aasen, a punter.

While a high-school junior in Fayetteville, Georgia, Aasen was playing as a running back. A tackle from a much larger player left him with a bad concussion and whiplash, which led to a subdural hematoma, requiring brain surgery.

Aasen was given almost no chance to recover fully, but he did — with a large V-shaped scar on his head to remind him of how close he came to losing it all.

At, Aasen recalled a comment from his parish priest:

“I do remember Father John Murphy, the priest at Holy Trinity,” Aasen said. “He came up to me after Mass once. He said, ‘How does it feel to be a miracle?’”

Switching to punting, Aasen joined his brother Davis at Georgia Tech, where his faith reignited at the campus Catholic Center. Then he met Butker. Not only did Aasen help bring Butker back to the Faith, he also convinced his pal to join the Knights of Columbus.

In a video from the Knights, Butker recalled:

“With Grant’s joy and his happiness, I could see that there was something that was thriving in him. I was like, what’s up with this kid? So, slowly, we started having conversations. I was asking him a lot of questions. He was this Catholic guy that was really proud to be Catholic.

“Grant got me to join the Knights. I really enjoyed the fraternal aspect of these Catholic men coming together.”

Here’s the whole thing:

Aasen, who was best man at Butker’s wedding, did leave Georgia Tech for the seminary. He graduated seminary cum laude with a degree in philosophy but didn’t become a priest. Instead, he went into business and now is COO of Cittadella LLC in Atlanta, Georgia (and is about to get married himself, in a Catholic ceremony, with Butker as one of the groomsmen).

Aasen also works in Adult Faith Formation at his parish.

Butker’s Challenge to Catholic Men

In his 2020 speech to the Knights, Butker challenged his fellow Catholic men to take up the call:

“Now is the time for you to take up your task, as men of the Church to fight this battle for our nation, to bring Christ back to our daily lives,” Butker said. “Men need to play active roles within our Church, and I believe being a Knight is a great start …Your priests need to hear from you. They need to see you. Other men need to see you.”

The world will see Harrison Butker on Super Bowl Sunday. Win or lose, he’s already a champion for Christ.

Image: Adobe Stock

Don’t miss a thing: Subscribe to all that I write at

About Kate O'Hare
Based in Los Angeles, Kate O'Hare is a veteran entertainment journalist, Social Media Content Manager for Family Theater Productions and a rookie screenwriter. You can read more about the author here.
"Christ came preaching the Kingdom of God, not just “to get to heaven”……and the K ..."

Chiefs’ Catholic Kicker Harrison Butker: A ..."
"the Church knows a lot, they have a billion sets of eyes all around this ..."

‘Vatican Girl’: Conspiracy Theories Compound the ..."
"Damar Hamlin became a living example of momento mori. Let's hope the experience reminds us ..."

Damar Hamlin: Potential NFL Tragedy Unleashes ..."

Browse Our Archives

Close Ad