Red Zone

Chiefs kickers Ryan Succop and Cairo Santos face off

The Kansas City Star

The crowd at Missouri Western grew quiet and the tension was palpable as veteran Ryan Succop and rookie challenger Cairo Santos went head-to-head kicking field goals on Monday.

It was American football’s version of taking penalty kicks.

Succop went first and was good from 48 yards out. Santos matched him.

They were both successful from 48, 50 and 52, finishing five for five.

“They’re challenging each other,” Chiefs coach Andy Reid said. “Both of them are good kickers. Today was a tie. I told them it was like the World Cup. We played for an hour, and then they tied. It’s so exciting to watch, right?”

Santos, the Lou Groza Award winner at Tulane in 2012, is a serious threat to Succop, the club’s kicker since he was drafted in 2009. If Santos wins the job, the Chiefs stand to save about $1.6 million on the salary cap this year and $1.2 million in 2015.

“Every year we try to bring a guy who’s high caliber to push the guys that are here,” said special teams coordinator Dave Toub, “and we certainly have one with Cairo.

“I’ve said this before, I think he’s an NFL-caliber kicker. I think he’s going to be in the NFL, whether it’s on our team or on another team. The competition is real, and we’re excited about Cairo and what he’s able to bring.”

To reach Randy Covitz, call 816-234-4796 or send email to Follow him on Twitter @randycovitz.