Malcolm Butler: “They gave up on me”

AP

Cornerback Malcolm Butler‘s Patriots career took off thanks to a big play in a Super Bowl and it may have come to an end without a single defensive play in a Super Bowl.

Butler was surprisingly left on the bench when the defense was on the field in Sunday’s 41-33 loss to the Eagles in Super Bowl LII. Patriots coach Bill Belichick called it a football decision at halftime, saying he “made the decisions that give us the best chance to win.”

Belichick reiterated that after the game, saying it was not a disciplinary action. Butler was sick at the start of the week, but did not appear on the Patriots’ final injury report of the week.

Butler didn’t shed light on his absence. He told reporters he had nothing to say in the locker room after what may well be his final game as a member of the team.

Butler is set for unrestricted free agency next month and Sunday’s decision makes it seem unlikely that the Patriots will be using a franchise tag to keep him from hitting the market.

UPDATE 11:10 p.m. ET: Butler had more to say in the locker room.

They gave up on me. F—. It is what it is,” Butler Mike Reiss of ESPN.com. “I don’t know what it was. I guess I wasn’t playing good or they didn’t feel comfortable. I don’t know. But I could have changed that game.”

111 responses to “Malcolm Butler: “They gave up on me”

  1. Very odd decision to say the least, I look forward to hearing more about it.

    Either way- thanks for 2014 Malcolm and good luck with your new team.

  2. The cheaters are done. When they can’t get a hold of the other teams play signals after the second half, they lose to a backup QB. Joe Montana would have never made that fumble in the last minute.

  3. BB’s ego is getting way too big. Defensive genius gave up 41 points, secondary got shredded and Malcolm Butler doesn’t even get one play. BB got completely out coached this game.

  4. That was the multi million dollar benching. Top CB’s get $10 million a year on the open market. Teams won’t pay a “back up” anything close to that. Poor timing for Butler.

  5. That situation was beyond weird. For Belichick to say that coming out of half-time knowing it would be aired seemed like he went out of his way to embarras Butler.

  6. Clearly a punishment for something by belichick. If he’s healthy enough to be active and play on ST then he’s healthy enough to play at least on 3rd and 8s and other key passing downs. One play every 15 minutes wouldn’t have killed him. Obviously belichick was letting his ego get in the way

  7. Dying to hear the real story behind this.

    Wonder how Kraft feels about this. And Brady?

    Massive amounts of hubris by BB to bench Butler to make a point. Not the only factor in the loss, obviously, but not insignificant, either.

  8. Single worst defensive performance I’ve ever seen out of a championship football team. The players or the defensive coach didn’t even show up. Good luck Detroit. You can have him.

  9. Matt Sabourin says:
    February 4, 2018 at 10:58 pm
    Considering the Pats just put up one of the worst defensive performances in SB history, I’m going to go out on a limb and say having their best defensive player on the field would have improved things. Unless he murdered somebody last night and we just don’t know about it yet, this was one of the worst decisions I’ve ever seen by a coach. I know it’s Belichick and he’s the best of all-time, but what an awful

    Yeah Philadelphia’s D didn’t look much better.

  10. There does seem to be a mean and cruel streak in BB. You’re never quite sure what the inside story is, but sad to see Butler being humiliated in this way. It will be his last
    season in a New England uniform,but some team will pick him up, pay him, and he has a chance to be a very fine corner back again. Malcolm, time to move on.

  11. If he’s healthy enough to be active and play on ST then he’s healthy enough to play at least on 3rd and 8s and other key passing downs. One play every 15 minutes wouldn’t have killed him.
    ___________________________________

    I don’t know if you noticed but ST play wasn’t very spectacular this game.

  12. Strange decision not play your best corner. Well, on the bright side he will cash in on his talent when free agency begins.
    Just because Belichick and Brady are coming back won’t make things easy since they will be losing McDaniels and Patricia to head coaching jobs.

  13. It was a great game, but benching Butler was weird! What’s the real story? Lots of players play through illness. This ain’t passing the smell test. Not a Pats fan, by the way. Congratulations Eagles! 🦅

  14. Willing to bet he hadn’t recovered the strength to line up and chase WRs play after play after being sick earlier in the week. If it was the flu, he could be over the symptoms and still be nowhere near strong enough to play that quickly

  15. The logic of this benching, as a Patriots fan, escapes me. To claim that he didn’t give you a good chance of winning, especially watching that hideous performance just makes no sense.

  16. I love the grace of everyone bathing in the Pats’ blood. All of us here came on and tipped our cap to Philly and made the obvious observation that our defense was terrible. No one is whining or making excuses. Most of you aren’t even Philly fans, YEESH. Worry about your own team even being good enough to lose the Super Bowl before you go grave dancing.

  17. one of the few poor coach’s decisions by bill belicheck.

    horrible timing for him to make this huge blunder too.

    i think pete carroll just moved passed him for best patriots coach ever.

  18. Clearly the best defensive players were not on the field when the secondary gets shredded as they did. I have never seen the New England Patriots have so many secondary issues. The defensive coverage was just not there!

  19. Magnumpimustache says: Eagles earned it.

    ———————-
    But what happened to all that Pats fanboys arrogance u had last week? What – no excuses this time?

  20. Playing could very well have been the biggest thing that ever happen in this kids life. BB took that away from him… I can’t think of any teaching moment that BB had to prove but it seemed wrong that’s for sure.

  21. vancouversportsbro says:
    February 4, 2018 at 10:56 pm
    The cheaters are done. When they can’t get a hold of the other teams play signals after the second half, they lose to a backup QB. Joe Montana would have never made that fumble in the last minute.
    ***************************************************************************************
    What were Montana’s stats in his eighth Super Bowl?

  22. vancouversportsbro says:
    February 4, 2018 at 10:56 pm
    The cheaters are done. When they can’t get a hold of the other teams play signals after the second half, they lose to a backup QB. Joe Montana would have never made that fumble in the last minute.

    Too bad he didn’t do it when he beat you Seahawks, right?

    #oneyeardynasy

  23. I guess when the Pats illegally filmed the eagles practices and got their gameplan rummaging through garbage, they determined that it would be better to play taller CBs

  24. It wasn’t that “they” gave up on him, simply because “they” don’t make that decision.

    “They” is “Belichick”.

    But well done by Malcolm not to directly throw the HC under the bus.

  25. Not a Patriots fan and I’m happy with the outcome of this game. That said, I respect Brady and Belichick and all they’ve done. Even the best make bad decisions and evaluating in hindsight always goes this way.

  26. He could have changed that game. It’s true. I was wishing they’d put him in. He was itching to go in. Maybe BB thought he won’t be able to keep up since he was sick and probably still weak. Who knows?

  27. Three years ago Bill won a Super Bowl by putting Butler on the field in a key situation.
    This year Bill lost a Super Bowl by refusing to put Butler on the field even when it was clear his d as is wasn’t working.

  28. vancouversportsbro says:
    February 4, 2018 at 10:56 pm
    The cheaters are done. When they can’t get a hold of the other teams play signals after the second half, they lose to a backup QB. Joe Montana would have never made that fumble in the last minute.

    See 1990 NFC Championship Game.

  29. Flash1287 says:
    February 4, 2018 at 11:03 pm

    Matt Sabourin says:
    February 4, 2018 at 10:58 pm
    Considering the Pats just put up one of the worst defensive performances in SB history, I’m going to go out on a limb and say having their best defensive player on the field would have improved things. Unless he murdered somebody last night and we just don’t know about it yet, this was one of the worst decisions I’ve ever seen by a coach. I know it’s Belichick and he’s the best of all-time, but what an awful

    Yeah Philadelphia’s D didn’t look much better.

    It did on the game’s pivotal play.

  30. LSUstrong says: maybe he lost a step from just getting over the flu.

    ———————+

    Or maybe it was because the dog ate his homework…

  31. they probably benched him so that he has less market value and the pats can re-sign him. it may have cost them a super bowl because the defense was just plain awful without him.

  32. hemikegun says:
    February 4, 2018 at 11:22 pm
    vancouversportsbro says:
    February 4, 2018 at 10:56 pm
    The cheaters are done. When they can’t get a hold of the other teams play signals after the second half, they lose to a backup QB. Joe Montana would have never made that fumble in the last minute.
    ***************************************************************************************
    What were Montana’s stats in his eighth Super Bowl?
    ………………………….
    Took Brady twice as many tries to win one more than Joe. In an era where you can’t touch the QB.

  33. vancouversportsbro says:
    February 4, 2018 at 10:56 pm
    The cheaters are done. When they can’t get a hold of the other teams play signals after the second half, they lose to a backup QB. Joe Montana would have never made that fumble in the last minute.

    See 1990 NFC Championship Game.

    Montana got leveled and was knocked out of the playoffs and the ENTIRE SUBSEQUENT 1991 season. And…..oh yeah..fumbled as well.

  34. Butler had an awful season! But unless he slapped a coaches mother, he should’ve been out there. Rowe is embarrassingly bad. Belichick’s stubbornness probably cost the Pats this game

  35. He wasn’t benched, he played on STs. But he’d been ill, probably still a tad too sluggish in practice for the plan they had. He may have been upset and said something improper to BB because he was in tears before the game, hence BB being a tad terse about it. Butler is gone now for sure.

  36. I feel sorry for this young man. It appears with what is known now, that BB let his gigantic ego get the best of him. Also, does TB always run off the field, after he loses, and not have the common courtesy to greet the winning q/b ?

  37. Um… While Joe Montana DID get leveled by Leonard Marshall in the 1990 NFC Championship Game, that is NOT why he missed the 1991 season. Montana missed the entire 1991 season and most of the 1992 season with an elbow injury sustained during the 1991 pre-season.

    But yes, it is very odd that Butler did not play at all on defense.

  38. Patriots fan here and this decision bugs me. How much worse could the defense have played with Butler on the field? Was Belichick trying to prove a point or something? Is the Super Bowl the time and place to do that? He’s still the greatest coach of all time, but I think this was a really bad call.

  39. see packer fan boys cry baby Rodgers will complain he doesn’t have any receivers when he gets his 30 million a year Stop making excuses brady is almost 41 and except for gronk he throws for over 500 yards with average receivers. Tell baby Aaron to make it work if he wants 30 million a year

  40. This inexplicable move reminds me of Landon Donovan being dropped from the US soccer national team by then head coach Jurgen Klinsmann in 2014. Donovan was the greatest player the US has produced. The explanation by Belichick makes no sense. How could benching Butler give them the best chance of winning. The game stats do not show it. The Patriots D couldn’t stop Foles. Would Butler have done worse? It makes no sense.

  41. cheetasnevaprospa says:
    February 4, 2018 at 10:55 pm
    Patsie fans will use any excuse they can find for their latest well-deserved loss, but the fact is their team simply isn’t as good as the Eagles.

    ——————-
    The Eagles were indeed better tonight and earned their win. I cant think of any excuses for you, sorry man.

  42. My understanding was that he was out with the flu earlier in the week and when he returned to the field he was not playing better than the other guys that were available.

  43. grant35 says:
    February 4, 2018 at 11:17 pm
    Magnumpimustache says: Eagles earned it.

    ———————-
    But what happened to all that Pats fanboys arrogance u had last week? What – no excuses this time?

    ———————-
    What excuses do you want? Philly played a better game and beat us. Sometimes it really is that simple.

    I look forward to next year being just as fun and exciting as this year was. Maybe we win it all, maybe not. Either way, as Pats fans we know it will be a great ride.

  44. rainponcho87 says:
    February 4, 2018 at 11:48 pm

    Took Brady twice as many tries to win one more than Joe. In an era where you can’t touch the QB.
    ___________________________________________
    Brady also plays in an era where every critical play is reviewed in slow-mo by the refs. It’s a different game today.

  45. “Also, does TB always run off the field, after he loses…”

    Well, didn’t bother Foles, so it shouldn’t bother us. And since the start of the playoffs, NOTHING rattles that guy (MVP was right). Some people say Foles came out of nowhere but that’s wrong, guy still has one of the most efficient seasons ever on the books (28TDs/2picks), and was clutch until running knee deep into Chip Kelly’s monumental cluster hummer of a “dream”. That would’ve messed with anybody’s mind, if we’re being fair.

    But, that game was a slugfest and a real pleasure to watch. Tips cap to both teams. I don’t know on a day when the heavyweights were kicking defensive butts, if Malcolm would, or would not, have made a huge difference, but I feel for him, being left out (Sucks. And he’ll be left swinging at the ghost of “what if” for a long time) SMH

    THE GAME. Knockout punch after knockout punch, unbending wills, heart right down into their deepest cores, and “answer every call” attitudes on full display for both teams. That 2nd half was an epic battle for the ages. Sometimes, football just becomes a game of inches (one less inch and Brady gets that pass off, and we would’ve had a different ending, if not a different outcome. That we’ll never know, because that last inch was covered, and with game-changing aftermath. EPIC moment)

    Instant classic (once the dust settles, the sting goes away; pretty sure most sane folks will agree, that game was an epic test of wills, one which went way beyond Xs & Os, reputation and egos, and settled simply on guts, heart, and a burning need to answer every call, and both teams left it all out on the field. Brady throws for 505, with no picks, and loses? Something remarkable happened here).

    But that sportscaster (the one who cannot count to 4 footsteps), who said the game ended on the final play? Yo, Adrian! EVERY game ends on the final play. Jeez, time to go punch a side of beef. Great game, poor broadcast. And the Planet ESPN followups were even worse; insulting even, well, if anybody still valued their words. Which most don’t.

  46. Malcolm – Bill Belichick has the highest standards that the game has ever seen. He is so rarely wrong, that it just doesn’t matter. Bill has his reasons why you just didn’t cut it for this game. This also probably means the end of your career as a Patriot. Thanks for your service.

  47. I love the fact that this bit the most arrogant person in sports history in the a**. That whole organization is nothing but classlessness.

  48. Eagles offense has been tough on a lot of teams this year not just the Pats. They have a very good offense that made Wentz and Foles look like products of a very good system. Not saying they don’t have talent both they both have performed in it.

  49. Butler spent an inordinate amount of time running down receivers he was covering after catches this season. Regardless, my guess is he screwed up big time somehow or someway recently for this to happen.

  50. patsfan4lifesbchamps says:
    February 4, 2018 at 10:55 pm
    In Belichick we trust still.
    @@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@
    It’s actually “In Ozzie we trust.” Showing your true colors, eh? Don’t blame you, I wouldn’t be a fan of NE anymore after this embarrassment either.

  51. There is always more to this story than meets the eye, Butler has not played well this season and if and when he is signed for big bucks, he will not live up to his hype. He will last about two more years in the NFL, before he starts signing for the NFL Vets Minimum as a back up.

    This is not some arbitrary decision made by BB and Matty P., it is based on a season of work with a dash of being weakened by the flu..

  52. Wellman says:
    February 5, 2018 at 1:15 am
    My understanding was that he was out with the flu earlier in the week…
    —————————————————————-

    I assumed it was somehow flu related and we would hear after the game something like Butler had an IV in the morning and was not 100%. That, however, does not appear to have been the case. You would think that the Pats would make some adjustments to their defensive game plan at half time to get Butler in the game. Very strange given that no one on the Pats defense, or defensive coaching staff — Belichick included, covered themselves in glory during the game that Butler did not get playing time in the 2nd half.

    Butler was not great for the Pats this season, but why he did not get playing time in the defense last night may remain an unsolved mystery unless Belichick or Patricia comes clean with more than what we have heard.

  53. Butler doesn’t do well against big receivers. Both guys on the Eagles are big. That’s what it is. They pulled him last year because he was getting eaten alive. He’s great against guys his size, but when they hit 6′ they just throw over Butlers head and he never elevates enough to knock it down. Rowe did ok at that, and Jeffrey was quiet after they put Gilmore on him.

  54. if it’s any consolation, the guy who camcordered the Seahawks didn’t get much play this year either.

  55. Sort of mind-boggling how Patricia has earned a head coaching position after the defensive performance of the Patriots this year punctuated by this one. I feel sorry for any team that has him as a head coach. He’s not very good!

  56. That young man will be all right… He’s already got two rings and he went to college at West Alabama or something people dream of having as much success as he has had….still, nice kid, fine player.

  57. 29th ranked defense which you were a part of. I don’t think you were going to change the game. You made a career off of one catch. You’re not very good.

  58. Pats never pressured Foles during the game. This was a defensive weakness throughout the entire season.

    Malcolm or anybody else can’t cover forever. Can’t believe Richards got on the field, he was immediately torched. I can almost hear the spotter calling that down from the booth with a smile on his face.

  59. The guy had the flu for 9 days and got out of the hospital on thursday. They say it takes one month for every week you are in bed to recover fitness. He also was not available to game plan.

  60. I have never seen a player get treated this bad by a team he has done so much for. They literally owe their 4th SB win to him. And he has been a very good player & soldier for them. He’s exactly the kind of player you keep. Yet they kept yanking him around over his contract, because they could. And then this? Belichick deserves every ounce of criticism he gets over this. What a stupid decision.

  61. I will reserve judgement on this situation until all facts are know. What cannot be disputed however is that Mr Butler would have help defense (he can tackle and is a gamer) NE fans will always hold him in high regard for his play. By all appearances is appears t be a good humble kid. Cant for the life of me understand why this kid always seems to get screwed. Something really odd here

  62. None of us know why Butler wasn’t played. Twisting this decision to somehow impugn Belichick for some hypothetical nefarious purpose is pretty absurd. The NFL is a cold, cold business. There is no loyalty. I’m sure if BB felt Butler could contribute he would’ve played him. There’s zero chance in reality that any coach would bench a player and lose a SB just to “make a point”. That’s ridiculous.

  63. Matt Sabourin says:
    February 4, 2018 at 10:58 pm
    Considering the Pats just put up one of the worst defensive performances in SB history, I’m going to go out on a limb and say having their best defensive player on the field would have improved things. Unless he murdered somebody last night and we just don’t know about it yet, this was one of the worst decisions I’ve ever seen by a coach. I know it’s Belichick and he’s the best of all-time, but what an awful

    Butler is not the best Defensive player on the field. You must not have watched all season long as he was beat. You gotta show up and turn off your personal BS if you expect to play for the Pats. Butler was not the answer and not the reason the Pats lost.
    And all that said, another minute and the Pats likely win that game.

  64. Butler is hot garbage and Jeffrey would have destroyed him. The Sport owes you nothing .. just because you got gifted a super bowl moment from Wilson doesn’t mean you get to slack your way into the starting line-up. The Pat’s defense was the worst unit since 1999 Pats

  65. Rowe has done a good job but not better than Butler. But putting Richards in coverage and then replacing him with Bademosi while Butler sits is more than head scratching. Richards is a barely adequate safety with minimal coverage skills. Anyway, the Eagles played better despite Brady being Brady, Eagle play calling and unbelievably poor patriots defense sealed the deal.

  66. On that fumble by Brady he tried to fake like he was throwing. Tuck rule 2.0. It was a fumble in the SB and a fumble against the Raiders. GCOAT. Greatest cheater of all time.

  67. this is how the NFL wants their product to look? All offense? Zero defense outside one play by Brandon Graham that was obviously a big key to the game? that looked like flag football out there….absolutely horrible defense.the aesthetic is cartoonish.

  68. TheBisonCometh says:
    February 4, 2018 at 11:50 pm
    vancouversportsbro says:
    February 4, 2018 at 10:56 pm
    The cheaters are done. When they can’t get a hold of the other teams play signals after the second half, they lose to a backup QB. Joe Montana would have never made that fumble in the last minute.

    See 1990 NFC Championship Game.

    Montana got leveled and was knocked out of the playoffs and the ENTIRE SUBSEQUENT 1991 season. And…..oh yeah..fumbled as well.
    _____________________________________________

    Yeah, he got knocked out – back then you could actually hit QB’s(and receivers). Jim Burt put a lick on Montana I will never forget!!

    Now you cannot hit the QB too high, cannot hit him too low and cannot plant him in the ground. Receivers are cannot be blown up over the middle anymore. How much easier does that make it to play QB?

    Admit that it is way easier for the offense (including being able to throw the ball away to avoid a sack and giving the defense an offside if their movement makes the Offense twitch).

    Different era. Brady would never have lasted this long with the old rules. Slow, immobile QB would have been flattened.

  69. And all that said, another minute and the Pats likely win that game.
    ____________________________________________________________________

    You mean more time that could have been had if not for … oh I don’t know… Not wasting a timeout earlier in the half. Or not extending kickoff return with a lateral that produced no extra yards.

  70. Was not available all week during prep. Pretty sure that was the reason he didn’t start, but that does not explain why he was only told at game time or why he wasn’t utilized in second half after watching Alshon and Agholor shred secondary in the first half.

    As a Pats fan lots of questions to be asked, tough loss, but Philly played to win. Congrats to Eagles fans.

  71. Ill and missed some practice time, free agent not signing for low-ball offer, Belichek didn’t like how he was holding his mouth, who knows?? The way his replacement got burned, you’d think he’d get a few snaps just to see if he could stop the bleeding. Shows how petty Bill can be. Supreme irony if he signs with Seahawks!

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