Controversial "Punt God" in prime position to play for Super Bowl winning team

The player known as "Punt God" apparently makes Kansas City roster after backup punter waived after minicamp.
Matt Araiza booms a punt during Buffalo Bills training camp two years ago. Araiza was waived by Buffalo during training camp after winning the punting job, when his name arose in a sex scandal.
Matt Araiza booms a punt during Buffalo Bills training camp two years ago. Araiza was waived by Buffalo during training camp after winning the punting job, when his name arose in a sex scandal. / Joshua Bessex/GettyImages

And then they were down to one.

The Kansas City Chiefs inched closer to finding a starting punter when street free agent Matt Araiza, known by many as the "Punt God", won a minicamp battle against BYU's former punter Ryan Rehkow, who was waived after camp.

Araiza is expected to take over the punting job as he is the only punter on the roster and it does not appear as though Kansas City is expected to sign another. Araiza is the former San Diego State phenom who had booming kicks as a collegian and won the Ray Guy Award in 2021 which is awarded to the nation's top punter.

He was originally drafted by the Buffalo Bills in the sixth round of the 2022 NFL Draft and was heading toward a roster spot until his name surfaced in a sex scandal in San Diego. Araiza, who can flip the field with the best of them, was out of the game until his name was cleared this spring and he was signed by the two-time Super Bowl-winning Chiefs.

His career as a Buffalo Bills team member came crashing to a halt when a lawsuit in San Diego accused him and two of his former Aztec teammates of the gang rape of an underaged collegiate co-ed. The lawsuit was filed in August, 2022 and when it became public, he was waived the next day.

However, after being dropped from the civil suit and the state deciding against bringing charges against Araiza, his name was cleared and then he began to peddle his wares to the National Football League. His signing was announced by the Chiefs in February.

The Chiefs were looking for a punter to replace Tommy Townsend who was an unrestricted free agent and was not expected to be resigned. Townsend signed a contract with the Houston Texans during free agency and the Chiefs were left with only Araiza on the roster.

Rehkow was signed after the NFL Draft, but he did not last long. The Chiefs charted every kick during the mandatory minicamp and realized that Araiza was going to beat Rehkow and that there was no better time than the present to anoint him as the guy. Araiza will also serve as the holder for placekicker Harrison Butker on field goals and extra points.

Before minicamp, but after the draft when Rehkow was signed as an undrafted free agent, Chiefs' special teams coordinator Dave Toub declined to put a timeline on the decision between Araiza and Rehkow, but did stress that the difference just might come down to who Butker was more comfortable with as the holder, due to the fact that Townsend was Butker's only holder since 2020.

"We're practicing everything, the holds, the throws....who can throw better. We're trying to look at everything to evaluate it. Holds are important. [Harrison] Butker's going to be involved. I'm going to talk to him to see who he likes when it comes time. We don't know when we are going to make that decision."

Chiefs special teams coach Dave Toub

The left-footed booming punter will need every rep during training camp as the Chiefs will have to revamp their punt coverage team to make up for the fact that their punter is now left-footed. The gunners will have to adjust and the special teams unit will have to get used to having the ball come off of Araiza's foot differently.

Rehkow's roster spot was needed when the team decided to sign Montana defensive tackle Alex Gubner after he was invited to participate in minicamp and excelled during the one-on-ones and showed that he was worthy enough to sign and bring to training camp in July.