The most heartwarming story for this Super Bowl isn’t what you think it is

A photo of Eagle Scout Porter Ellett

Yes, we’re all aware of the one Super Bowl-related storyline that everyone seems to either love or hate, with nothing in between.

But let me bring your attention to an inspiring story that I think we can all agree is fantastic.

Meet Porter Ellett, who’s about to finish his seventh season as a member of the Kansas City Chiefs coaching staff.

Ellett, 34, was hired by head coach Andy Reid prior to the 2017 season as senior assistant to the head coach. In 2020, he was promoted to offensive quality control coach. Prior to this season, he was promoted again, this time to assistant running backs coach.

According to his bio on the Chiefs’ official website, Ellett “has a long history of service work under his belt.”

Specifically, he owns Camp Overcome, a youth development program that implements positive attitudes through sports.

“He brings energy,” says Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes. “He never has a bad day. I know one day he’s going to be a head coach in this league.”

Perhaps none of this should be surprising.

Ellett is an Eagle Scout.

When he was 4 years old, he was involved in an accident that eventually resulted in the loss of his right arm.

Andy Reid’s left-hand man

Ellett graduated from Brigham Young University in 2014.

According to a 2019 story in BYU’s alumni magazine, when Ellett first interviewed with the Chiefs, Reid described the job as, “you need to be me when I’m not here. Or when I am here, you need to be my right-hand man.”

Ellett replied, “as long as you would be OK with your right-hand man not having a right hand.”

The unofficial title of “Andy Reid’s left-hand man” stuck.

The accident caused enough nerve damage to Ellett’s arm that he decided to have it amputated when he was 16.

Born right-handed, he had to teach himself to become left-handed.

He became an elite athlete in baseball, basketball, and track and field.

In high school, he became somewhat of a celebrity because of his accomplishments. He was invited to appear on Good Morning America, but only agreed to do it if they’d let him bring his entire team with him.

“I just do what everybody else does,” he said during his interview on the show. “It’s just different because I only have one arm.”

A blessing in disguise

A devout Mormon, Ellett said he considers it a blessing to have lost the use of his arm at such an early age because he barely remembers what it was like to have the full use of both arms.

His five sisters — “all pretty good athletes,” he said in a 2007 interview — kept him motivated to stay active in sports.

His parents kept him going, too. He grew up on a sheep farm, and he had to do his share of chores just like everyone else.

“The first time I moved pipe, I got so tired I thought I was going to faint,” he said in 2008. “I got halfway through and just set the pipe down and laid down in the middle of the field. My back was sore for a week, but I was OK from then on.”

After working briefly as a tax analyst in Salt Lake City, Utah, he decided to take a chance and try to have a career in his true passion: sports.

“My challenge is very visible,” he says. “I’m grateful that everyone can see it so maybe they can have some hope when they face whatever challenges they’re facing.”

Photo by Candice Ward/Getty Images


About Aaron Derr 418 Articles
Aaron Derr is the senior editor of Scout Life and Scouting magazines, and also a former Cubmaster and Scouts BSA volunteer.