KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Harrison Butker kicked what turned out to be three game winning field goals of more than 50 yards Sunday to beat the Los Angeles Chargers.
A 53-yarder was called back by a penalty. A late time out was called before the second kick of 58 yards. Then he made another 58-yard kick to win the game in over time.
Butker has the golden toe, and now the red and gold cleats he booted the game-winner with — and another 58-yarder earlier in the game — might be the most famous footwear to come from our area since Dorothy’s ruby red slippers.
The paint design on Butker’s Nikes was designed by a Clay County sheriff’s deputy. Craig Greco had never painted shoes before this year. Now his artwork is being showcased nationwide.
But the story of those shoes actually starts in Greco’s son’s room.
“When I first painted my boy’s nursery, that kind of wowed some people,” he said.
He moved on to canvases, and then decided to start working on shoes, even though he’s color-blind.
“From what I understand there are only a dozen guys who are painting for NFL. I kind of asked them, ‘What are you using for process? What products are you using?’ And come to find out a lot of the same paint I was already using,” he said.
And when you’re just starting out, why not reach out to the Super Bowl Champs and see if they’d be interested in your air brush acrylic designs? He may not have landed Mahomes, but his designs still might get more airtime.
“There’s one athlete who gets more attention than anyone else when it comes to his cleats and that’s the kicker,” Greco said.
Greco designed shoes for Butker to kick off the NFL season, and then got them back to redesign for next week’s Ravens game.
“We just decided to do a double fade on this one still staying somewhat modest,” Greco demonstrated.
He said he spends several hours prepping them, making sure the color won’t fade and that they remain flexible enough to kick 58-yard game winners. The lifelong Chiefs fan now has more of a vested interest in crucial moments of the game.
“I know he’s going to do great. That’s why he’s the best kicker in the NFL, but it’s stressful to me just to watch my cleats on the field,” he said.
Butker usually uses the same shoes just twice, repainting in between. Greco isn’t sure if the shoes from Sunday’s game will make their way back to his studio — or a glass case inside Arrowhead.
“I’d be pretty honored to know that I’ve painted cleats that are in there, and it’s pretty neat that he set a record like that. What a great place to go,” Greco said of the idea.
Greco actually learned he was color blind through some tests for his job at the Clay County Sheriff’s Office. He said he didn’t initially mention the condition to Butker, but hasn’t had any complaints about his designs.
He’s started a side business, Greco PaintWorks, he’d like to turn into a full-time career.