As Malcolm Butler heads into free agency, he should explain what happened

AP

We don’t know why Patriots cornerback Malcolm Butler was benched in Super Bowl LII. We don’t know whether he was benched for football reasons, as Bill Belichick stated, or for disciplinary reasons, as many people are speculating.

But we do know this: Butler becomes an unrestricted free agent in five weeks. And other teams are going to want to know exactly what happened before they invest in him. So if Butler is smart, he’ll get out ahead of the story and explain exactly what happened.

If Butler really was benched for football reasons, he should know what those reasons are. Did he blow assignments in the AFC Championship Game against the Jaguars, leading Belichick to bench him? There weren’t a lot of plays that stick out from that game as bad plays by Butler, although outsiders can’t always tell when a player blows an assignment. If Butler doesn’t know what the football reasons were for his benching, that doesn’t reflect well on him: Coaches aren’t shy about telling players when they don’t play well, and if Butler doesn’t know what he did wrong on the field, that suggests that he doesn’t pay attention to his coaches.

The other possibility is that Butler was actually benched for off-field reasons. If that’s the case, again, he should say so publicly and begin the process of trying to persuade other teams that he’s learned his lesson. If he broke a team rule in New England, other teams are going to want to hear him sound say it won’t happen again, and sound sincere when he’s saying it.

Whatever the reasons behind #ButlerGate, the whole thing is fishy. If Belichick is telling the truth when he says he benched Butler for football reasons, what were those reasons? What suddenly changed about Butler as a football player between the AFC Championship Game, when he played every snap on defense, to the Super Bowl, when he played zero snaps on defense? And why, as the Eagles marched up and down the field against the Patriots’ defense, didn’t Belichick reconsider his “football reasons” and put Butler on the field?

Belichick may never explain, because Belichick rarely explains much of anything. But Butler should explain what happened, from his perspective.

121 responses to “As Malcolm Butler heads into free agency, he should explain what happened

  1. Early in the game, I assumed Belichick wanted to match a taller corner (Rowe) up on Jeffery. But then when Rowe couldn’t cover Jeffery and Belichick put Gilmore on him for the rest of the game, I don’t know why he wouldn’t adjust and put Butler back in… so my theory was probably wrong.

  2. No, Malcolm Butler DOES NOT have to explain anything to the public. It is between him and his next employer to decide if it’s relevant in his playing ability and as a team member.

  3. I can’t imagine Butler doing anything awful enough to merit benching and embarrassing him the entire game. If he broke some rules, bench him a series or a quarter, but the whole game as you’re watching Nick Foles carve up your defense all night? Seems like clear insubordination by Belichick to throw the game and it’ll only increase the tension between him and Kraft

  4. If the reports are true that Butler got caught bringing weed back into the team hotel and got into a shouting match with coaches, it’d be pretty valiant of BB to take the heat calling it a “football move” instead of airing out Butler’s dirty laundry to the rest of the league.

  5. Just speculation, but based on how they tried to trade him last offseason, it was probably a small thing that follows the same reasons Belicheck has wanted to get rid of him for a year. Maybe he said something about cashing in, in free agency this week?

  6. I expect he can get a Logan Ryan level $10 million per year contract with no explanation. I do think he is better than Ryan, and like all Pats fans I wish him well.

    Whatever you did Malcolm, you will never have to pick up a bar tab again in New England.

  7. Explain something that could affect how much he makes in the offseason??? Hell to the no, other CB’s don’t have to explain why they’re leaving their teams, why does this ONE CB have too?? Yes it was the SB, but teams should do their homework behind the scenes and figure it out for themselves..

  8. Belichick managed to out-think and overcoach himself out of a championship. This wasn’t Bill’s only coaching mistake of the Super Bowl, but it was his most hurtful. Probably cost the team a title.

  9. If there’s one thing we know for sure is that it was not football related and a story this big isn’t going to remain quiet. He was balling like a little baby during the National Anthem because he knew he had let his entire team down not because he wasn’t going to start. If that were the case he’d be upset but he’d be ready to jump in and play at a moments notice. The story isn’t going away. I agree, he’s better served just being honest. I hope my team wouldn’t sign this guy unless he’s honest thats for sure and I would imagine others would take a similar approach

  10. This is why Gronk said it might be his last year ,,,,he got himself cleared from a concussion to only have his coach sit a player that could have made a difference,Belichik should actually be irked for his decision and who knows maybe he was trying

  11. As a lifelong fish fan I hate the Pats and Belichek with every fiber of my being. That said the hoodie has well demonstrated beyond any doubt that there is actually a “Patriot Way” and that it is unbelievably effective. Two aspects of it are that no player (again NO PLAYER) is above the team and things are handled in house. If Bill was the kind of coach that caved in to misbehavior by a player because it might help him win he may win a particular game but he wouldn’t have created the dynasty he has. Players need to buy into the fact that team is paramount, if it isn’t then the whole system falls apart.

  12. I’m a pats fan, I hope Butler goes to a contender. He was treated – at least to the outsider- extremely poorly here.
    Pats have a ton to figure out this postseason – QB, CB, LB’s, probably another RB.

  13. The world wonders. Admittedly our secondary was painful most of the season, but if you are going to crash and burn you still want the best pilots at the wheel. (Stick? Yoke? I don’t know planes).

  14. seahawkboymike says:
    February 5, 2018 at 4:42 pm
    If he got caught with pot, that’s a violation of the drug policy and the Pats wouldn’t say anything about it to avoid getting hit with another rule violation.
    —-
    He played a snap on special teams…

  15. Word is he broke curfew and had dope on him and got into it with the coaching staff. Belichick did the right thing here, if all that is true. As for why he was able to dress still and not sent home. That is way less of a distraction than deactivating him 24 hours before the Super Bowl, it’s public, and having to deal with that s storm. The way Bill played it was the smartest move. Let your team play without one its top players on D while making it look like he was able to go. Then don’t play him and avoid answering the questions afterward. It was the best move for the other 51 players

  16. This is exactly wrong. akira554 is exactly right.

    This would not have happened if the HC and GM role were separate in NE.

  17. Maybe that ESPN report about turmoil in the locker room was right, perhaps is the 3 Egos of Kraft, Belichick and Brady that is causing turmoil within the rest of the team. A god complex is real

  18. He definitely did something that Bill perceived as worse than trolling the opposing coach’s foot fetish. Then again, he was going to be out as a Patriot this year, so why don’t use him one last time in the biggest game of the year.

    After this game I can only think this:

    1.Bill’s ego got in the way of another championship
    2.Lions should have serious buyers remorse hiring Patricia
    3.Kraft should demand an explanation from his employee (Belichick) on why he benched Butler
    4.Seems that definitely behind the walls of Gillette there are certainly some frictions

  19. I don’t understand why he had him on the active roster then. If you aren’t going to play him they put him on the inactive list for the game and activate some player that could help.

  20. If Butler did something he’s not supposed to be doing, then he’s the one who let the team down. Let’s see if the real reasons will leak out of the Patriots.

  21. “it’d be pretty valiant of BB to take the heat calling it a “football move” instead of airing out Butler’s dirty laundry to the rest of the league.”
    _________________

    Not only that but Rowe supposedly didn’t know he was starting until game time. Seems like they’d have clued him and the rest of the D into that as quickly as possible. And why would Butler have seemed so genuinely shocked if he knew full well what was going on? A lot of these stories sound more like fans inventing excuses for BB than logical possibilities.

  22. heymister24 says:
    February 5, 2018 at 4:38 pm
    Butler was crying at the Anthem, he prolly was higher than a kite. Common sense says he done did dirty and the HC benched him.
    ———————

    If he was high for a game and Belichick knew about it he would not even play special teams.

    I know this theory isnt as ‘juicy’ but its possible that coming off what was reported as a really bad bout with the flu only a couple days before the game he was working desperately to regain good enough playing shape and just before the game Belichick had to tell him it wasnt happening and he being pulled from the starting line up.

  23. jroc19 says:
    February 5, 2018 at 4:31 pm
    If the reports are true that Butler got caught bringing weed back into the team hotel and got into a shouting match with coaches, it’d be pretty valiant of BB to take the heat calling it a “football move” instead of airing out Butler’s dirty laundry to the rest of the league.
    ——
    Interesting thought but it doesn’t really jive with his quote that they gave up on him…🤔

  24. jroc19 says:
    February 5, 2018 at 4:31 pm
    If the reports are true that Butler got caught bringing weed back into the team hotel and got into a shouting match with coaches, it’d be pretty valiant of BB to take the heat calling it a “football move” instead of airing out Butler’s dirty laundry to the rest of the league.

    ———————-

    He covered LT’s dirty laundry for basically the entire decade of the 80’s. So it would not be without precedent. He also traded Randy Moss for “football reasons” and released Bernie Kosar for “diminishing skills” which we everybody now assumes was alcoholism.

  25. Not complicated – BB overdosed on Ego and screwed the entire Team and Fanbase in one major stupid decision = just ask BB’s ego.

    The Results 41-33 LOSS do not lie.

  26. I’m baffled. There’s hardly a need to send a message to ‘the team’ because ‘the team’ is playing its last game.
    I feel like Bill tanked the game with that move.

  27. If he violated a team rule (never mind if he was caught with pot), Bill wouldn’t have even let him suit up or play any special teams snaps. Malcolm would’ve been inactive (and probably not on the sidelines) if there was a significant disciplinary issue.

    And any team that signs him is going to do it based on the last three seasons of game tape. If Bill’s position is that it was a “football related decision,” there is no reason for him (or Malcolm) to go into greater detail. Malcolm had a down year, but he has enough quality game tape (plus proven durability and championship experience) to get a solid contract that should set him up for life back home in Vicksburg, Mississippi.

  28. I wonder if he was benched for the same reason Pete Carroll didn’t run Beast Mode at the goaline when they called a pass and the pick ended their super bowl chances. We all know Pete thought Lynch was getting too much credit for their success. Now if Butler had a huge game against the Eagles, plus that Super Bowl pick against the Seahawks, he would have a lot of leverage to resign for a huge contract. We all know the Pats don’t like to pay guys, so I could see Bill’s ego thinking that he could bench his best DB and STILL beat the Eagles and put the leverage back in the Pats court. But, as we all saw, it didn’t work out that way Bill.

  29. Belichick and Brady are a myth that got busted last night. Talk about Malcolm Butler all you want but history shows that when the Pats are away from the security of their home field where they can manipulate the environment, they implode. Losing 5 Superbowls is nothing to be proud of and only makes people wonder how they keep getting to the big game in the first place. We know some of the reason. I’m sure the others will come out in time.

  30. We don’t know what happened, so it’s a real disservice to Malcolm Butler to be spreading rumors that it’s pot, yelling at coaches or whatever. Just imagine how you would feel if somebody starting spreading this kind of thing around about you with no actual knowledge.

  31. Butler should explain, unless the explanation reflects poorly on his character and/or ability…..

  32. mikefloriosbabyd says:
    February 5, 2018 at 4:52 pm

    The way Bill played it was the smartest move. Let your team play without one its top players on D while making it look like he was able to go. Then don’t play him and avoid answering the questions afterward. It was the best move for the other 51 players.

    ============

    Yeah, I’m sure the other 51 players were thrilled with losing the Super Bowl while the teammate who was the best hope of helping the thing they were having the most trouble with sat helplessly on the bench.

    The players, to my eyes, didn’t look very happy in this game. I think it was a distraction to them, as the Eagles piled up points.

  33. If he did in fact break the rules, he is lucky it wasn’t before Halloween. BB would have traded him away to the Browns in a heartbeat, ala the Jamie Collins punishment.

  34. What’s strange is that the decision was made to not start him just before kickoff, why not just make him inactive and activate someone else ? To make him dress in full pads, then tell him he’s not playing would be a kick in the face. So, something must have happened the day of the game.

  35. Butler will explain to any team that expresses an interest in him. That doesn’t necessarily mean he has to make a public statement about it.

  36. “This would not have happened if the HC and GM role were separate in NE”

    And if that were the case so be it.

    No combination of separate HC and GM have ever gotten a team to 8 out of 16 Super Bowls, 12 our of 16 AFCCG and 14 out of 16 years in the playoffs. Bill is a genius who occasionally makes arrogant mistakes. No one ever said he’s perfect but he’s done a heck of a lot better than any other person in control of an NFL team for 16 straight years.

  37. Forget about between the AFC Championship and the Super Bowl. What about all the practices where he was taking reps with Gilmore? Or Rowe saying he had no idea until kickoff. The whole thing makes no sense at all.

  38. The decision NOT to have Butler play is on Bill. And NE lost, which is on Bill. A bad look for him not to play Butler, the true winner of SB49.

  39. If these reports are true, if he literally got caught with weed at the team’s Super Bowl hotel, first off he’s a total idiot and just cost himself a boatload of money and maybe his team the Super Bowl, and second, I wonder if it was completely Belichick’s decision to bench him. He may have brought Kraft in on it–I’m guessing he did–because of the possible backlash if they played him, once people found out.

  40. Hopefully this upsets Butler enough to do a tell all interview about the ongoing undercover cheating methods still being used in new england. We all know it is still going on

  41. You all like Butler is Deion Sanders, Richard Sherman, or some difference maker at CB.

    The Patriots had the ball with a little over 2 minutes left in the game to go an a game winning drive with the ball in their Hall of Fame QBs hands. I think the Patriots coaches did their job.

    If somebody told Belichick that his team would have the ball in the 4th quarter with a little over two minutes left to play – down by 5 points. He would take that scenario all day.

    Whether Butler played or not had no impact on the outcome of the game.

  42. Belichick and Brady are a myth that got busted last night

    600 yards and never punted?

    You’ll need to come up with something better.

  43. He HAD to have done something pretty bad and BB is falling on the sword. Killed me to see him standing alone on the sideline whole game. For one reason or another ol Bill just doesn’t trust this kid. If he was sat and embarrassed in front of the world for some minor infraction that’s just too much man, too much.

  44. So, BB has essentially given Butler these options when talking to other teams:

    1) Tell that team that he was benched due to football reasons – ie, he can’t/couldn’t do what they needed him to do in the biggest game of the year.
    2) Tell the team that he broke a team rule and was benched for it (w/e that rule was, pot, curfew, etc)

    Either way, it’s not a good look for Butler heading into free agency. As a Pats fan, I wish him well.

  45. r8dernation says:
    February 5, 2018 at 5:18 pm
    ..We all know the Pats don’t like to pay guys, so I could see Bill’s ego thinking that he could bench his best DB and STILL beat the Eagles and put the leverage back in the Pats court. But, as we all saw, it didn’t work out that way Bill.
    ———————
    That’s the most ridiculous bitter-hater nonsense I’ve read today – that BB would risk throwing a SB and his legacy just to try to get contract leverage on a single corner!! Anyway, he lets FAs go all the time and he’s also paid handsomely to keep FAs after Super Bowls – most recently, notably Hightower.

  46. 49ersfury says:
    February 5, 2018 at 5:53 pm
    You all like Butler is Deion Sanders, Richard Sherman, or some difference maker at CB.

    Whether Butler played or not had no impact on the outcome of the game.
    —————————–
    Butler is a legit starting CB in the NFL and a VERY good tackler. You don’t think he would have made a couple of yardage saving tackles that Rowe and Bademosi missed? Really?

  47. finsguy, you make a lot of sense. I actually appreciate that Belichick doesn’t just explain this move to cover himself.

  48. 49ersfury says:
    February 5, 2018 at 5:53 pm
    You all like Butler is Deion Sanders, Richard Sherman, or some difference maker at CB.

    The Patriots had the ball with a little over 2 minutes left in the game to go an a game winning drive with the ball in their Hall of Fame QBs hands. I think the Patriots coaches did their job.

    If somebody told Belichick that his team would have the ball in the 4th quarter with a little over two minutes left to play – down by 5 points. He would take that scenario all day.

    Whether Butler played or not had no impact on the outcome of the game.

    This is the worst take i’ve read all day. Butler’s benching created a monstrous effect on the secondary. At best, Rowe is a CB3/CB4 on a good defense. Bademosi, although has had success for some stretches in the regular at CB, is no more than a situational CB3/CB4. To have those two guys split time with Jordan Richards as the CB2/CB3/CB4 guys is a nightmare scenario for the Pats, usually created by injury, not by choice. Pats couldn’t get off the field on 3rd down, largely in part because the 2nd/3rd/4th teamers were out there trying to make it work. It’s been the story of the year for the Pats (3rd down) but to say Butler would’ve had no affect of the outcome of the game is a joke. They certainly weren’t shutting out the Eagles but he’s definitely making 1-2 plays out there that the other corners couldn’t. It’s like saying, if Malcolm Jenkins didn’t play, it wouldn’t have mattered at all.

  49. Malcolm Butler having played almost 98% of the defensive plays for the Patriots has a lot of film that can be reviewed to determine his worth for a prospective team. Belichick hurt his team in making the move despite his opinion of being in the best interest of winning. The results speak volumes….Even the great Coaches make mistakes, no one is perfect! Belichick had Malcolm Butler in uniform and available to play. Butler stated that he could have made a difference. There is no reason good enough to hurt the team the way Belichick did. The Patriot secondary was in obvious disarray over the sudden move. Belichick has been perhaps the greatest Coach ever but he sucks for not playing Butler and clearly hurting his teams chances of winning.

  50. Bill’s ‘Patriot way’ ended the moment Jimmy G. Got traded away. Since then Bill has gone rogue and this is more evidence of that.

  51. Malcolm Butler- whatever happened, I don’t care. I, and many other Patriot fans, will love you forever.

  52. Nothing to see here. The Pats lose whether they had Butler there or not. The defense gave up 41 points and a record level of yardage but one player would have altered that completely.

  53. sure, BB decided to bench his best cornerback before the game and waste a roster spot because he decided right before kickoff that Butler didn’t fit the scheme to beat the Eagles. right before the superbowl…

    i’m thinking drugs and/or hookers.

  54. Belichich deserves to be traded back to the Browns for some 1st and 2nd Round Picks along with a DE or CB.

    Kraft should resign Butler and strengthen the O-Line for Old Man Brady.

  55. People that call Butler the Pats best cornerback Don’t watch too many Pats games. 1st of all Gilmore is a far better corner than Butler has been this year and it’s not close. Gilmore Started slow but by the time he came back from his concussion he had the system picked up and has shined. Butler has actually taken a step back this year which was a surprise for me being that it is a big contract year for him. He’s been out of position and getting torched all year. So I originally thought this was strictly football related because Eric Rowe is a little bigger and would give them a better match-up with the Eagles’ receivers. However after seeing that he got no action and was crying before the game there has to be something a little deeper than that. We’ll find out soon enough.

  56. “The defense gave up 41 points and a record level of yardage”

    Actually that would be the Eagles that gave up the record amount of yardage.

    Eagles net yards running 164, passing 374, total gained 538
    Pats net yards rushing 113, passing 500, total gained 613

    Eagles executed a little better than the Pats and made a handful of plays more that New England did.

  57. This guy did something against team rules to deserve to be benched. He knows what it is and ain’t sayin so it’s obviously on him and he knows it. He won’t say so his mystery is safe and he can peddle his wares in March.

  58. I don’t see how it would be made much difference. It’s not like they lost due to coverage breakdowns etc. All the big pass plays for the Eagles the Pats had well covered. Foles was dropping dimes.

  59. Butler took a very obvious step backward this year, often we saw him out of position and frequently chasing the other teams player down the field. No idea what happened, but from my big comfy couch he obviously regressed..

  60. harrisonhits2 says:
    February 5, 2018 at 5:36 pm
    “This would not have happened if the HC and GM role were separate in NE”

    And if that were the case so be it.

    No combination of separate HC and GM have ever gotten a team to 8 out of 16 Super Bowls, 12 our of 16 AFCCG and 14 out of 16 years in the playoffs. Bill is a genius who occasionally makes arrogant mistakes. No one ever said he’s perfect but he’s done a heck of a lot better than any other person in control of an NFL team for 16 straight years.
    ++++++++++++++++++++
    Bill has never had to go through the process of finding a franchise QB. He had Bledsoe at the start and when he got hurt they got lucky drafting Brady in the 6th round. AFC East has been soft no matter what patriot fan statistics say. There have been 2 pro bowl qbs in the AFC East since Belichick has been coaching and one was Drew Bledsoe. Also Bill has made really stupid decisions in years past such as this year with trading Jones for a bag of chips but the media for some reason is afraid to publish all of Belichicks fails as a GM. Bledsoe went down and he got lucky with Brady…….nothing special.

  61. The good news, other then The Eagles win is if the Pats would have pull out a win we would have 10,000 stupid post by there awful fans. Bill…they are still in shock, and will wake up and show there rear end soon.

  62. He probably didn’t want Butler matched up on Jeffrey and the other corners had more practice this year in the slot. Go back and look at the film of when the Patriots played the Panthers this year. The Panthers were picking on Butler all game with their taller receivers. Funchess had 2 TDs and Benjamin had his best yardage game of the year. It is probably as simple as that.

  63. takeyourpunishment:
    Pat’s are 5-5 in Super Bowls. 5-3 under Belichick. If it’s just being able to manipulate their environment, then what the hell were the Bills doing in their four consecutive losses?

  64. I remember as a kid that defeat was easier to accept with excuses…ok, the reason the Pats lost was that they didn’t play Malcolm Butler…there, now go watch the rats frolic in Back Bay…

  65. It’s funny watching the pathetic fans of 30 teams gloating about a the Eagles win…at least Patriot fans only gloat about Patriot wins.

    ____

    This.

    Somehow the Pats losing is making these the fans of those 30 teams feel like they won the super bowl, but in reality, they didn’t. They didn’t even get there. Their teams will still suck again next year and they will cry and complain about the refs and make stuff up and cry some more. Its really sad actually.

  66. harrisonhits2 says:
    February 5, 2018 at 7:56 pm
    “The defense gave up 41 points and a record level of yardage”

    Actually that would be the Eagles that gave up the record amount of yardage.

    Eagles net yards running 164, passing 374, total gained 538
    Pats net yards rushing 113, passing 500, total gained 613

    /////////////////////

    Okay pat fan feels better

  67. In all of this debate about who is responsible for the greatness in Foxborough, there is something that doesn’t happen often but it is very clear here. This was one of those rare nights where TB12 didn’t have any more greatness to give in order to cover for any inadequacies of the defense or the coaching staff on any given day.

    500 yards passing, and no punts. Give the man a rest.

  68. Foles outplayed Brady, plain and simple. He made the plays when he needed to and Brady fumbled the ball when he needed to make a play.

  69. A consideration of all who work under contractual contingencies is the “Non-Disparagement of Company or Team” language in standard contracts.
    As Raiph Fiennes says in The Grand Budapest Hotel

    RF: Have you ever been interrogated?
    BB: Yes
    RF: Well, then, you know the drill, Zip It!”

  70. factpurveyor says:
    February 5, 2018 at 6:02 pm
    It’s funny watching the pathetic fans of 30 teams gloating about a the Eagles win…at least Patriot fans only gloat about Patriot wins.

    28 28 Rate This

    Maybe. But you guys sure do go on other teams articles when said team does something controversial and always make sure to tell them ” that’s not how the Patriots would do it”….

  71. If Butler broke team rules,so be it. But why have him dress as if he’s going to play,only to tell him shortly before the anthem that he wasn’t? No wonder he was crying. If he was being punished,send him home. Don’t embarrass the guy on national TV for three hours. I just can’t find a reason to justify the way Belichick handled this. It was maddening to see Butler on the sideline while his replacement was getting torched. Mind boggling,like this entire Patriot’s season.

  72. 49ersfury says:
    February 5, 2018 at 5:53 pm
    You all like Butler is Deion Sanders, Richard Sherman, or some difference maker at CB.

    ________________________________

    No…of course he’s not a difference maker. All Butler did was take the Lombardi trophy out of the Seahawk’s hands and win it back for the Patriots. He’s only one of the best corners in the NFL,is a great tackler,unlike Sanders,and soft spoken,unlike Sherman. If he made a mistake,he certainly isn’t the first one and won’t be the last. He’s still very young. He will learn from whatever this was.

  73. Low character organization breeds cheating, murdering liars. I wonder why, with the way they treat their own employees.

  74. Y’all act like Eric Rowe played a bad game. He broke up a touchdown pass on the opening drive. He caused an interception on a key drive when Philly was up 15-6. He had the height to make these plays against a. 6’3 receiver.

    New England has won what 4 of 5 of their Super Bowls on game winning drives. They were in position to do the same thing this Super Bowl. Brady just fumbled on that drive.

    Look. Just like the Pats Vs Seahawks Super Bowl. The game did not come down to coaching. It came down to a championship play. That forced fumble was a big time championship play.

  75. What’s consistent about BB is accountability to your teammates. It’s been hammered that the teammates can rely on each other and will be there for each other. Each of them sacrifices a lot for the team and to win. When somebody is late for practice, they get sent home no matter how famous they are. Butler must have done something and BB did not bend. They lost and Butler could have helped. But because of what he did, they lost. That drives the lesson that each of them is important to the team yet no one is above the team. They win or lose as a team. Maybe BB saved Butler’s career by benching him and teaching him an expensive lesson. He let the team down.

  76. Butler is a darn good CB!! He made mistakes but he also made great plays! I still can’t thank him enough for stepping up and making a play in Super Bowl XLIX! As a heartbroken patriot fan I want to congratulate the Eagles for their big win!! Malcolm wherever you go I wish you all the best!!

  77. Butler may not even know why he was benched. If he does not know that he cannot tell another team why he was benched. Going back to preseason, when the Pats traded for Gilmore, Butler kind of knew that they are not going to re-sign him. In fact, he thought that he might be traded before the season began. Belichick may well have benched him for this reason, i.e. make it harder for him to get a good contract somewhere else. Butler may be thinking about a big pay day. The Pats are not going to give it to him, and by benching him out of spite (the only reason I can think of), Belichick wants to him to get paid less than he could have been. A spiteful act is one that hurts others and it also hurts oneself. Belichick may have lost the chance for a 6th SB win because of his spiteful act. He is the only one who really knows why he benched Butler, and he is not saying because he does not look good if he tells other people it was out of spite.

  78. Nobody knows yet why he did not play, the only question now is why was he active? In case Bademosi was injured? agree with mikefloriosbabyd (it’s close to the top above)

  79. Given all that Belichick has accomplished as head coach of the Patriots, it sure as heck didn’t take long for much of that fan base to turn on him.

    That fan base ought to be happy with the nearly two decades of unprecedented success that the Patriots have had under Bill and his philosophy.

    I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if Bill does retire. If he doesn’t retire, I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if Hightower was no longer a Patriot from this point forward.

    I do think Butler will have a tough time catching on with another team.

  80. So frustrating, an all time QB performance wasted. Butler deserves some blame as reports have him missing the team flight, having a bad weak in practice and violating a team rule…but damn. Maybe just not start him and rotate him in later? By all accounts the defense was furious about the decision so any “ lesson “ BB was going for didn’t seem to sink in. Talk about cutting off your nose to spite your face….

  81. All Pats fans will always be grateful for Butler’s play against Seattle plus he has been a pretty good CB. However the way he acted after the signing of Gilmore and his large contract was really immature. He demanded a trade and sat out and pouted. He had one year left on his contract and instead of quietly honoring it and then sign a larger contract he acted like a spoiled child. Sorry Malcolm I enjoyed watching you play and wish you luck in the future but look inward for the reasons things played out the way they did. Butler playing in the Super Bowl might have made a difference but one man was not going to close the flood gates that the rest of the defense left open.

  82. harrisonhits2 says:
    February 5, 2018 at 5:36 pm

    No combination of separate HC and GM have ever gotten a team to 8 out of 16 Super Bowls, 12 our of 16 AFCCG and 14 out of 16 years in the playoffs. Bill is a genius who occasionally makes arrogant mistakes. No one ever said he’s perfect but he’s done a heck of a lot better than any other person in control of an NFL team for 16 straight years.

    ___________

    True, but no team ever had as long a run as NE in a division with absolute garbage to compete against.

    The AFC East during BB-Brady years looks worse than the AFCN ever did. Jets with no Franchise QB since Namath (You can argue Ken “Yeah I was part of the 85 draft too” O’Brien (but seriously?)), Miami no franchise QB since Marino, Bills no franchise QB since Kelly.

    That means the playoffs have been essentially guaranteed as long as you fly right, which the Pats do.

    I have no qualms with the rest of your statement.

  83. 49ersfury says:
    February 5, 2018 at 5:53 pm
    You all like Butler is Deion Sanders, Richard Sherman, or some difference maker at CB.

    The Patriots had the ball with a little over 2 minutes left in the game to go an a game winning drive with the ball in their Hall of Fame QBs hands. I think the Patriots coaches did their job.

    If somebody told Belichick that his team would have the ball in the 4th quarter with a little over two minutes left to play – down by 5 points. He would take that scenario all day.

    Whether Butler played or not had no impact on the outcome of the game.

    _____________________

    Bingo. Butler made 1 great play 4 years ago. That doesnt mean much more than that.
    He isnt Rod Woodson, Deion Sanders, Patrick Peterson or Richard Sherman in their prime. He isnt in the same sentence, paragraph or on the same page. He is a lucky find for Belichek, who historically has had titanic issues finding DBs. Of course to Pats fans which are used to having crappy DBs, and the fact that he did make the clinching play in a SB, he is a God of DBs. To the rest of the world … Not so much.

    Elevating Butler to the level that Pats fans do is like saying Timmy Smith was a top tier RB (Redskins 87 SB).

  84. There is no scenario where benching him was the right thing to do. If Butler did something so bad he was benched, he should have be been deactivated. Punishing the rest of the team was wrong.

    Saying Butler not playing cost them a ring though is disrespectful. The Eagles would have adjusted either way. The Patriots are a great franchise and TB12 and BB are both GOATS but this whole season and on Sunday from top to bottom the Eagles were the best team in football this year. The better team won. Butler wouldn’t have changed the outcome.

  85. “We don’t know whether he was benched for football reasons, as Bill Belichick stated, or for disciplinary reasons, as many people are speculating.”

    Nonsense to suggest Butler has some obligation to explain this to the self-entitled media.

    Whether this butt hurt author likes it or not, the reason for the benching was explained by Belichick, so you do know why he was benched. You just don’t like it or don’t accept it, but that doesn’t mean squat, so go ahead and speculate like a child.

  86. judbuechlerwasntthatbad says:
    February 5, 2018 at 8:36 pm
    He probably didn’t want Butler matched up on Jeffrey and the other corners had more practice this year in the slot. Go back and look at the film of when the Patriots played the Panthers this year. The Panthers were picking on Butler all game with their taller receivers. Funchess had 2 TDs and Benjamin had his best yardage game of the year. It is probably as simple as that.
    ——————
    You just get out of here with your logical explanation!

    No, clearly Belichick threw the Super Bowl to get Kraft to cut him loose so that he could take the job in Cleveland and bring the Browns back to the promised land.

  87. Lots of speculation…

    I don’t buy the weed story for a second. If it was just weed, he would have played like the other half dozen players on any team that smoke weed. Same with breaking curfew.

    If he got into it with coaches, THAT makes sense. If he said something to undermine the authority of a coach then I could see why he got bench, and how he was still able to play on special teams.

    Would they have won with him? We’ll never know. He can play great, but he can also play very undisciplined football. Maybe he intercepts a pass to change the game… maybe he wipes out a game changing turnover with a holding call… who knows?

    As the fan of an AFC East team that definitely isn’t the pats, I’ll believe this turmoil is tearing the core of the team apart when I see it. Until the pats have a losing season they are still to be feared.

  88. excusemewhileiwhipthisoutagain says:

    February 6, 2018 at 7:50 am

    harrisonhits2 says:
    February 5, 2018 at 5:36 pm

    No combination of separate HC and GM have ever gotten a team to 8 out of 16 Super Bowls, 12 our of 16 AFCCG and 14 out of 16 years in the playoffs. Bill is a genius who occasionally makes arrogant mistakes. No one ever said he’s perfect but he’s done a heck of a lot better than any other person in control of an NFL team for 16 straight years.

    ___________

    True, but no team ever had as long a run as NE in a division with absolute garbage to compete against.

    The AFC East during BB-Brady years looks worse than the AFCN ever did. Jets with no Franchise QB since Namath (You can argue Ken “Yeah I was part of the 85 draft too” O’Brien (but seriously?)), Miami no franchise QB since Marino, Bills no franchise QB since Kelly.

    That means the playoffs have been essentially guaranteed as long as you fly right, which the Pats do.

    I have no qualms with the rest of your statement.

    =================================

    But the Patriots have also played a first place schedule almost every year in the Brady era. And Brady’s winning pct. is pretty equal across the board no matter who they have played.

    vs. AFC East .792
    vs. AFC .778
    vs. NFC .766
    vs. NFL .775

  89. Butler was a really good CB, the Pats best CB for most of the year. Gilmore raised his game by the middle of the year and they were really 1A and 1B for best on the team. To not play him as the team is getting torched through the air is just stupid stubbornness. Butler apparently missed the team flight, blew a curfew and had a bad practice week. Sit him quarter, not the entire game. He’s a free agent now, what lesson was BB trying to impart? Butler is gone, and the rest of the defense was de-moralized. What kind of lesson is that?

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