Prior to the Kansas City Chiefs’ first preseason game — in Chicago against the Bears — kicker Harrison Butker attempted to make a 74-yard field goal; he was unsuccessful.
Home cooking did him some good.
More Butker, just hit from 72(!!!) yards. #Chiefs pic.twitter.com/vxGjPBH4Nk— Harold R. Kuntz (@HaroldRKuntz3) August 20, 2022
Lining up on what would be the Chiefs’ 45-yard line, Butker made the 74-yarder at Arrowhead Stadium before the team’s preseason game against the Washington Commanders.
“It was the perfect situation out there, we had the wind blowing,” said special teams coordinator Dave Toub on Monday. “In pregame, he likes to hit long ones because it makes him feel like when we do kick a 50-yarder, he feels real close because he just banged 21 yards further than he just kicked the 53.”
But on Saturday, there was a problem with the logic — one that came in the third quarter.
“Then he missed the 53,” said Toub. “That wasn’t like him to miss that kick. I’ll let him tell you about it, but it was not normal for him. He was spot on in pregame for sure. The situation was good and he was banging those kicks.”
The preseason is a time for everybody to work out the kinks — and that includes Butker, who, when speaking to reporters last week, explained he made technique changes to his kicks.
He knows he has otherworldly power, but now he feels his kicks will be more efficient. Through two preseason games, Toub said the Chiefs feel good about him kicking from 55-plus yards out.
“We’re going to keep him 58 — 40-yard line would probably be his range,” said Toub. “Get the ball to the 40 then you have a really good legitimate shot to get it.
“That kind of kick there — [one from near 70 yards] — you do at the end of the half. You’ve got the wind behind you, no time left on the clock. You know, you’re just going to take a shot.
“That’s why we always try to, at the beginning of the game, kick into the wind. If we win the toss, we try to kick into the wind so we have the wind at our back in the second quarter so we can try those long field goals.”
Toub has been a special-teams coach in some capacity for more than 20 years — and in that span, he said that pregame kick may have been the longest kick he’s ever seen made.
“That 74 was pretty darn good,” said Toub. “I go back and we had (Baltimore Ravens kicker) [Justin] Tucker in the Pro Bowl (in 2017), and we had 9-on-7 going on, and he was behind us, and I was with him, and he was banging. Off the tee, he was hitting some long ones. I can’t remember how long they were, but they were 70-plus.”
Last season, Tucker set the field-goal record by hitting a game-winning 66-yard kick. Butker revealed last week that he tries to pick his brain every time the two players link up. Through five seasons, Butker’s longest is 58 — his 2020 game-winning field goal against the Los Angeles Chargers in an empty SoFi Stadium.
Working with Butker every day has made Toub believe.
“He might have a chance someday to break the record. If the right situation comes up, he has a chance. I’m sure he would like to have it.”