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The18's Super Bowl preview: Which kicker is going to disappoint everyone?

Quarterbacks Patrick Mahomes and Jalen Hurts get all the hype, but true NFL aficionados know Sunday's big game comes down to the two most decisive players on the gridiron: kickers Harrison Butker of the Kansas City Chiefs and Jake Elliott of the Philadelphia Eagles.

It was Butker who sent "Joe Cool" Burrow packing in the AFC Championship with a 45-yard kick through gusting wind, while Elliott's already drilled nine extra points in just two postseason games.

But under the piercing gaze of over 100 million Americans, these large-toed savants of putting pigskin through PVC normally fade faster than that little plant your college roommate was growing in the closet. In the Super Bowl, kicks from over 40 yards have a conversion rate that's almost 15% lower than the regular season. So who's coming through in the clutch and who's getting cut? 

This is our fourth annual preview. In 2020 our system correctly predicted a Chiefs victory over 49ers. In 2021 it predicted the first-ever tie in Super Bowl history — that was incorrect. In 2022 it failed you by prognosticating a win for the Bengals

But we believe the system has largely auto-corrected itself heading into Sunday's game at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona. 

The18's Super Bowl Prediction


The gold standard

The gold standard that we're judging against.

Harrison Butker

Embed from Getty Images

Jake Elliott

Embed from Getty Images

Advantage: Butker continues to maintain the illusion that he needs next-gen technology to withstand getting smoked by Haason Reddick. Elliott has more of an old school look, and there's something about his chinstrap that makes it seem like the team forced him to engineer it out of a disused milk carton. 

Butker: 0 | Elliott: 1 


Harrison Butker

Embed from Getty Images

Jake Elliott

Embed from Getty Images

Advantage: It's refreshing to see Butker always carrying on the great placekicker tradition of having one cleat that footballs and one that soccers. On his plant foot, Butker has an adidas adizero Spark football cleat. On his kicking foot, Butker rocks a Nike Zoom Mercurial Superfly 9. He scores massive points for having different brands.

Elliott also goes with two different sports — he's got a Nike Vapor Edge football cleat on his plant foot while kicking with a Nike Tiempo Legend IX.  

Butker: 1 | Elliott: 1   


Harrison Butker: We've never found any dirt on this god-fearing student of the game, although he was once first-chair tuba in his school's symphonic band.  

"When we lost to the Bengals last year we lost on a Sunday — but I was kicking that Thursday. I really attacked the offseason. ... I love to kick — I love doing that," is how Butker describes his life.  

Jake Elliott: He has a slice of pizza and cheesecake before each game. 

Also, look at his pocket presence. 

And look how much time time he has on his hands since he's clearly not invited to team outings. 

Advantage: We've learned not to expect much from Butker at this point, but Elliott brings back some of the oddities we look for in our twinkle-toed friends. I also like that Elliott's been accused of employing the dark arts and bringing a bit of Concacaf to the NFL.  

Butker: 1 | Elliott: 2


Harrison Butker: Butker hit one from 62 (career long) this season but is 3-for-7 from 50+. He was dealing with an ankle injury but has since recovered.   

Jake Elliott: His career long is from 61 and he hit one from 56 this year while going 5-for-6 from 50+. 

Advantage: The "Butt Kicker" is a man mountain at 6 feet 4 inches, using his Great Blue Heron legs like oscillating pendulums of pure brute force. Elliott is more of a PAT kinda guy at 5 foot 9. 

Butker: 2 | Elliott: 2 


Harrison Butker: Butker won three state championships in soccer at The Westminster Schools in Atlanta, Georgia. He made the varsity team as a freshman. 

Jake Elliott: Elliott was a big tennis player in high school and didn't play football until his junior year. He got a full scholarship to Memphis and really buckled down on his life as a kicking minstrel there. 

Advantage: An easy win for Butker.

Butker: 3  | Elliott: 2

Prediction: The Kansas City Chiefs are going to win Super Bowl LVII by a final scoreline of 3 to 2. Rihanna is going to provide all the entertainment.

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