Tom Brady on Malcolm Butler’s benching: I wish he would have played

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As Florio wrote earlier tonight, there remains lingering frustration over the Super Bowl LII benching of Malcolm Butler. Interviewer Jim Gray asked Tom Brady about Butler on Monday night during a Q&A at the Milken Institute Global Conference in Santa Monica, California.

“I wish he would have played, but the coach decided not to play him, and we still had a chance to win,” Brady said, via quotes transcribed by MassLive.com’s Kevin Duffy.

Butler played one snap on special teams and none on defense as Nick Foles shredded the Patriots’ secondary in a 41-33 Eagles’ victory.

“I’ll say this: For a team, this side of the room is the offense and this side is the defense,” Brady said. “We don’t interfere with them much. I didn’t know. Malcolm kept coming over to me during the game and was like ‘Come on, TB, let’s go!’ And I kept going, ‘What defense are we in where Malcolm’s not on the field?’ Is it short-yardage, goal line?

“And then after the game, I found out. So I just didn’t know. And I asked Malcolm, and Malcolm said, ‘I don’t know. Coach has just decided something different.’ I said, ‘OK.’ So I don’t know what was a part of that decision-making, but I know we were trying to win the game. I don’t think we were trying to do anything but win.”

Butler, who signed a five-year, $61 million contract with the Titans, has said he wanted an explanation but never asked for one. Brady said he has not asked either.

“I haven’t gone and discussed those things,” Brady told Gray. “Do you know why he didn’t play? Would you like to tell me?”

Gray asked Brady if Patriots fans deserve an explanation.

“I don’t know,” he said. “That’s probably a better answer for the guy who owns our team.”

65 responses to “Tom Brady on Malcolm Butler’s benching: I wish he would have played

  1. The Butler’s benching makes no sense. Bill Belichick could not give a valid reason for benching him so the journalists are wrecking their brains trying to come up with a plausible explanation when none can be found. There must be some conspiracy or outside interference behind his benching. Don’t think that Vladimir Putin is responsible this time though. LOL

  2. In Super Bowl XLIX, Belichick benched both CB Kyle Arrington and CB Logan Ryan on the single most important play and inserted an UNDRAFTED ROOKIE sixth on the depth chart – CB Malcolm Butler.

    In the run to Super Bowl XXXVI, Belichick benched star QB Drew Bledsoe after he returned from injury to start QB Tom Brady.

    In 2006, Belichick let Mr. Clutch Kicker Adam Vinatieri go and gave the job to a rookie Stephen Gostkowski.

    ————————————–

    Point is, Bill Belichick makes tons of similar decisions throughout his coaching career. Given it’s worked out just fine most of the time, he gets the benefit of the doubt for benching Butler.

  3. There was always the question BB, or Brady. Brady threw for 505 yards and coach Bill sat a defensive starter. Brady is more important.

  4. Maybe Belichick made a mistake.

    However, maybe Butler made a mistake during super bowl week in Minneapolis.

    I know three things for a fact though:

    1. Belichick doesn’t give special provellages to certain a players or for certain weeks. If you mess up, BB holds his players accountable at all times…or his team will not succeed in the foot.

    2. Bill Belichick has never, EVER called a player out to the public in 44 years of being an NFL head coach. – So if Butler did mess up why would Belichick tell us now after 44 years of never throwing his current or former players under the bus.

    3. Bill Belichick does what is best for his football team. He has used Rhys line since he was the head coach with the Cleveland Browns

  5. “….I know we were trying to win the game. I don’t think we were trying to do anything but win.”

    Let…it….gooooo…….

  6. Too Mac and Cheesy I suppose. What’s the fake cheese stuff again?

    Damn it. Should of known the big cheese was bad. Rescue Rangers called it years ago.

  7. Nick Foles would have made Butler look bad and he wouldn’t have gotten paid the way he did. Good move for BB to keep Butlers interests in mind.

  8. If Butler was playing maybe the Pats would have had a lead and not given Tommy a chance to choke the game away.

  9. “I don’t think we were trying to do anything but win.” That’s an interesting statement. Sounds like he’s not 100% sure.

  10. Not sure the guy who owns the team knows. Belichick seems the type to play it very close to the chest. I.e. “We play those players who give us the best chance to win”.

  11. you wanted Jimmy G out of NE…. kraft sided with you and Bill Belichik showed both of you who’s boss. Simple as that.

  12. They will make up stuff if you don’t feed them Tom so treat them like mushrooms. TB has a history of taking the high road despite all attempts to push him in another direction. One time he didn’t, boom, deflategate. And he was right about the rule book but free speech isn’t protection against tyranny.

  13. Can we move on from this already? You’re asking people to break the seal of the confessional, and that’s not going to happen.

  14. you probably would have won another Super Bowl if your coach wasn’t an arrogant you know what. Butler would have made the difference in beating the She-gles.

  15. The Hoodie is beyound approch….he will NEVER give a reason because he feels he doesnt have to. My guess is Butler did something behind the scenes & he paid the price. I’m glad it happened because it gave the Eagles just a little bit of a edge.

  16. Maybe Malcom would have been the difference but with the acrobatic catches the Eagles were making I highly doubt Bulter would have been the one change the game. And everyone is just assuming that Malcom Butler would have had an amazing game but what if he would have had a terrible game and even made it worse. You never know. The only thing we do know is that the Philadelphia Eagles are the Super Champions!!!!!!

  17. 103 passer rating when targeted and the 51st best at his position according to PFF.

    Titans really paid this guy more than he is worth. One play does not make a career.

  18. Hard to believe that this ailing team won’t take responsibility for a single loss. Instead, they blame it on Butler not playing. They just can’t accept the fact that the Eagles beat them fair and square. Yes, I said it: fair and square. Those are foreign words in NE.

  19. You didn’t lose because Malcolm Butler wasn’t on the field. You need to get over this sense of entitlement. You were outplayed. Entitlement breeds excuses I guess. Instead of sportsmanship. But then it is Brady we’re talking about.

  20. Something tells me Butler knows exactly why…

    Regardless, Alshon Jeffery and Zach Ertz were the ones killing you. Butler wouldn’t have been covering either. He would have been on Torrey Smith.

  21. I wish, I wish..I wish Malcolm was 2 inches taller and 10-15 pounds heavier, and didn’t get buried by blockers like he did against the Jags in the AFCCG….then maybe he would have played instead of subbing out for someone who matched up better with the Eagles tall receivers, all 6′ or 6’3″ tall and over 200 pounds.

  22. Why are we still talking about Butler’s selfish and irrational behavior and his mental breakdown on the sidelines? Why not ask Butler himself why he was so selfish all year, unable to play well?

  23. Continuing to focus on Butler not playing as the reason the Pats lost the Super Bowl is going to send the message to your team that they won’t win this year because Butler is no longer on the team.

    The Pats lost because they couldn’t pressure Foles and he scored at will. Telling your team that would instill confidence that you can fix it and still win without Malcolm Butler.

  24. saaladin says:
    May 1, 2018 at 7:45 am
    I’ve never heard Brady that critical of BB and RK. Something is up over there…

    0 2 Rate This
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    I don’t think Brady being annoyed and deflecting the topic to Kraft or BB is anything wrong at all.

    The game ended months ago. Why Brady ever gives the media respect is beyond me. They lied about him, defamed him and still continue to drive a wedge in the locker room, a wedge that isn’t there.

  25. SBLIIChampionEagles says:
    May 1, 2018 at 8:44 am
    Something tells me Butler knows exactly why…

    Regardless, Alshon Jeffery and Zach Ertz were the ones killing you. Butler wouldn’t have been covering either. He would have been on Torrey Smith.

    ————————-

    Agreed. Smith did nothing. McCourty checked him just fine and Chung was dominating Ertz until the concussion.

    I wish my team could get 2 free TDs in a SB, too. lmao

  26. Maybe Belichick made a mistake.

    However, maybe Butler made a mistake during super bowl week in Minneapolis.

    I do know three things for a fact though:

    1. Belichick doesn’t give special privileges to certain a players or for any certain weeks (including the Super Bowl week). If you mess up, BB has always held his players accountable at all times…or his team will not succeed in the foot.

    2. Bill Belichick has never, EVER called a player out to the public in 44 years of being an NFL head coach. Point being, if Butler did mess up in Minnesota…why would Belichick tell us now after 44 years of never throwing his current or former players under the bus?

    3. Bill Belichick does “what is best for his football team.” He has used his line since he was the head coach with the Cleveland Browns.

    I believe it was a combination of Butler possibly messing up, along with Butler being sick twice in the Minneapolis hospital that week with the flu AND the fact that Butler played mediocre in December and January (including a very bad game vs the Jaguars 2 weeks earlier). BB took all those things into consideration and did what was best for the team.

  27. TruFBFan says:
    May 1, 2018 at 8:33 am
    You didn’t lose because Malcolm Butler wasn’t on the field. You need to get over this sense of entitlement. You were outplayed. Entitlement breeds excuses I guess. Instead of sportsmanship. But then it is Brady we’re talking about.

    ————–

    1. I agree. I try to tell fellow Pats fans all the time that SBs are a coin toss situation in the cap era. Philly played a better game overall, even though the Pats had chances. I have no issue tipping my cap to the Eagles and the Refs for 2 free TDs that were not TDs. I wasn’t sure how Goodell would try to pull it off, but he did.

    2. Brady is one of the classiest players in sports history. I don’t know where you people get this stuff.

  28. takeyourpunishmentandquitwhininglikeababy says:
    May 1, 2018 at 8:19 am
    Hard to believe that this ailing team won’t take responsibility for a single loss. Instead, they blame it on Butler not playing. They just can’t accept the fact that the Eagles beat them fair and square. Yes, I said it: fair and square. Those are foreign words in NE.

    —————–

    Umm, I don’t think Goodell ordering the refs to help Philly with 2 TDs is “fair and square”. Show me a time in the history of the league where they changed a rule during a game in the last game of the season aka the SB. You won’t be able to find it. And, how come the ref that was standing right there did not know what illegal formation is?

    Why are these questions not answered.

  29. “Good move for BB to keep Butlers interests in mind.”
    _______________

    No, it was petty and helped cost them a Super Bowl. If it’s a business then it’s a business both ways–both for team and player. BB was free to not sign him to an extension but Butler was free to want one. As long as he continued to play at his normal level and not make problems why punish the guy for making a business decision? Absolutely nobody has accused him of being unprofessional. The worst offense seems to be that he MAY have decided to clean out his locker in NE early knowing he wouldn’t be with them after that–and that is a very logical decision akin to somebody taking some of his office stuff home prior to his final day. You don’t bench starters in the Super Bowl over something so trivial as that.

  30. takeyourpunishmentandquitwhininglikeababy says:
    May 1, 2018 at 8:19 am
    Hard to believe that this ailing team won’t take responsibility for a single loss. Instead, they blame it on Butler not playing. They just can’t accept the fact that the Eagles beat them fair and square. Yes, I said it: fair and square. Those are foreign words in NE.

    Fair and square? Those words do not mean what you think they mean. While I agree that 2 TD’s were sketchy, that’s the way the cookie crumbles. Any 1 score game can be credited to refs in one direction or the other if you really want to split hairs.

  31. belichickdominatedjoemontana says:
    May 1, 2018 at 9:12 am
    Maybe Belichick made a mistake.

    However, maybe Butler made a mistake during super bowl week in Minneapolis.

    I do know three things for a fact though:

    1. Belichick doesn’t give special privileges to certain a players or for any certain weeks (including the Super Bowl week). If you mess up, BB has always held his players accountable at all times…or his team will not succeed in the foot.

    2. Bill Belichick has never, EVER called a player out to the public in 44 years of being an NFL head coach. Point being, if Butler did mess up in Minnesota…why would Belichick tell us now after 44 years of never throwing his current or former players under the bus?

    3. Bill Belichick does “what is best for his football team.” He has used his line since he was the head coach with the Cleveland Browns.

    I believe it was a combination of Butler possibly messing up, along with Butler being sick twice in the Minneapolis hospital that week with the flu AND the fact that Butler played mediocre in December and January (including a very bad game vs the Jaguars 2 weeks earlier). BB took all those things into consideration and did what was best for the team.

    1 0 Rate This

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    Exactly. I also don’t believe they were going to not have him play at all, but once he head a nervous breakdown after being told he was not in the dime package to start, they probably got freaked out by mental stability, hence not playing.

    He’s a 28 year old adult for crying out loud. He cried because he knew what it meant and knew he screwed up royally.

    That’s on him.

    How this gets thrown into BB’s lap, I have no idea.

    When a team is spotted two TDs in a Super Bowl, it’s a problem. The Pats try to beat the other team, but it’s also hard to beat Goodell and the cheating owners constantly.

  32. mogogo1 says:
    May 1, 2018 at 9:16 am
    “Good move for BB to keep Butlers interests in mind.”
    _______________

    No, it was petty and helped cost them a Super Bowl. If it’s a business then it’s a business both ways–both for team and player. BB was free to not sign him to an extension but Butler was free to want one. As long as he continued to play at his normal level and not make problems why punish the guy for making a business decision? Absolutely nobody has accused him of being unprofessional. The worst offense seems to be that he MAY have decided to clean out his locker in NE early knowing he wouldn’t be with them after that–and that is a very logical decision akin to somebody taking some of his office stuff home prior to his final day. You don’t bench starters in the Super Bowl over something so trivial as that.

    0 1 Rate This

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    You have it ALL wrong.

    Mike Giardi, a trusted beatwriter, reported numerous things that can paint the picture very easily. Just because BB and the Pats had it buttoned up all year, doesn’t mean

    I can 100% absolutely guarantee you that I heard Greg Bedard, a former beatwriter, said “Butler’s issue will be a problem all year”.

    Combine that with Patricia or another defensive coach, quite possibly the DB coach, saying: “he was tough to ‘get ready’ all year”…This means MENTALLY ready.

    Butler cleared out his locker after possiblyu faking the flu after the gamneplan was unveiled. Sort of suspicious only HE got the flu.

    He posted a 103 passer rating against for the year, after a 78 leading into his contract negotiations last spring.

    Even his OWN TEAMMATES in the secondary lost faith in him. Their silence has been deafening.

    Butler rejected an offer similar to wgat Chris Harris has. 8 mil per on average is more than generous for Butler. And, if he signed it, I would have been ticked off as a fan that his 8 mil per asz was allowing a 103 passer rating against.

    How these are on BB, I have no idea.

    The crying was clearly the last straw where the trust factor was destroyed. You don’t play a guy who has a mental breakdown on the sidelines during the anthem.

  33. SBLIIChampionEagles says:
    May 1, 2018 at 8:44 am
    Something tells me Butler knows exactly why…

    Regardless, Alshon Jeffery and Zach Ertz were the ones killing you. Butler wouldn’t have been covering either. He would have been on Torrey Smith.

    ————————-

    Alshon Jeffrey did nothing as soon as they put Gilmore on him. Chung would have properly played Ertz, which is his speciality – covering TEs. Butler would have been on Smith.

  34. tb12greatest says:
    May 1, 2018 at 9:40 am
    SBLIIChampionEagles says:
    May 1, 2018 at 8:44 am
    Something tells me Butler knows exactly why…

    Regardless, Alshon Jeffery and Zach Ertz were the ones killing you. Butler wouldn’t have been covering either. He would have been on Torrey Smith.

    ————————-

    Alshon Jeffrey did nothing as soon as they put Gilmore on him. Chung would have properly played Ertz, which is his speciality – covering TEs. Butler would have been on Smith.

    ——————–

    Rowe was fine on Jeffery…The flaw? Harmon was not told or was late getting over, straying too far over. If they had bracketed Jeffery correctly, that TD attempt never would have been made to the back of the end zone.

    I will say, Philly was smart attacking the end zone from outside the red zone, since NE’s red zone D was so good.

    But, BB/Patricia and the players in the secondary should have known this was a possibility for that reason.

    I honestly tip my cap to Philly’s offense for approaching that.

    Gilmore should have been on Agohlor since he’s technically their most dangerous WR.

    The Chung concussion certainly changed the landscape, though. Ertz, who may be their most targeted option off the snap, was taken out by Chung nicely early in the game.

  35. And if it wasn’t for Belichick’s defense the Patriots would never have beaten the Rams or Seahawks.

    kevines255 says:
    May 1, 2018 at 12:58 am
    There was always the question BB, or Brady. Brady threw for 505 yards and coach Bill sat a defensive starter. Brady is more important.

  36. Braz says:

    May 1, 2018 at 8:18 am

    103 passer rating when targeted and the 51st best at his position according to PFF.

    Titans really paid this guy more than he is worth. One play does not make a career.

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

    Still was the 2nd best corner on the team and one of the best tacklers they had in the secondary. And he was a Pro Bowler and All Pro second teamer. Hardly a “one play” player. But yes, he wasn’t worth 30mil in guarantees and the cap hit. But still should have played.

  37. “How this gets thrown into BB’s lap, I have no idea.”
    ______________

    Because he was the guy that announced right before kickoff that a starter was being benched? Let’s just put to rest the “maybe Butler did something wrong” stuff. Do you really think Brady is saying this now knowing that Butler did something wrong? You think it’s actually possible for a guy to get in trouble the week of the Super Bowl and have none of his teammates know a thing about it? And that the Titans who are ran by former Patriots would immediately sign Butler knowing he’d screwed up in a huge way? Way easier to believe BB just let things get personal and made an uncharacteristic blunder.

  38. Dont confuse Brady answering a question with Brady blaming the loss on Butlers absence

    players are talking about it only bc the media wont let it go

    everyone in NE – fans and players – knows the Eagles played a great game supported by some great play calls

    and NO, BB doesnt owe anyone an explanation – the move backfired but no one deserves the full unveiling of his doubts regarding Butler or the discipline for whatever happened. Clearly that might have hurt Butler in FA – whom BB protected by not informing all the wanna be GM whiners

  39. The Eagles played a better game and deserved the win. Reasonable Pats fans have already congratulated them and moved on.

  40. Butler was in hospital that week and they didn’t have faith he’d learn the playbook. Even Butler admitted this. How soon you all forget…

  41. 1. I agree. I try to tell fellow Pats fans all the time that SBs are a coin toss situation in the cap era. Philly played a better game overall, even though the Pats had chances. I have no issue tipping my cap to the Eagles and the Refs for 2 free TDs that were not TDs. I wasn’t sure how Goodell would try to pull it off, but he did.

    Very hypocritical of you to complain about the refs but rag Pittsburgh fans when they complain about the refs blow call on the goal line give the Cheetahs home field advantage……hypocrite much?

  42. I wish we didn’t trade at the time, the best QB on the roster because of politics. We don’t always get our wish Tom.

  43. 2. Bill Belichick has never, EVER called a player out to the public in 44 years of being an NFL head coach. – So if Butler did mess up why would Belichick tell us now after 44 years of never throwing his current or former players under the bus.

    ______

    This.

    And Butler knows it, so he keeps playing the “I have no idea why” card.

  44. Doesn’t Bulter support of Brady during the Super Bowl while being benched against the narrative that Bulter was disruptive and not fully vested in the team

  45. yeah, cause butler not playing caused two yard tommie to drop a pass right in his hands for what could have been a big gainer (unlike the BACKUP QB WHO DIDNT DROP HIS PASS), and butler not playing caused two yard tommie to cough up the football at the worst time in sb history….while his opponent (A BACKUP QB) played flawlessly and didn’t choke at a crucial time…

    yeah, butler would have made a big difference….

    tainted forever, ***, two gifts, another loss, NOW THE WORST TEAM OF THE SUPERBOWL ERA, FIVE LOSSES 5 LOSSES, with two-yard tommie at the helm….

  46. People are already forgetting the lingering questions about Belichick’s odd behavior leading up to and after the benching.

    Trading Jimmy G for a second rounder straight up when everyone knew Belichick was too tough of a horse trader to accept anything less than a first and a second at a minimum – the subsequent draft made it clear that was a no-brainer.

    Making public statements endorsing the hiring of McDaniels, Patricia and Caserio by other teams – something he’d never done before, not to mention the curious reversal of McDaniels in deciding to not take the Colts job, and Caserio’s decision to stay in Foxboro, both of which sounded like Bob Kraft had stepped in-between to influence their change of heart.

    The most telling thing was Belichick’s behavior during the game. One of the most detail- oriented, game-time invested and animated coaches ever, Belichick uncharacteristically had gone silent and stopped communicating and participating with his coaches, his players, and also the referees. For the entire game Matt Patricia looked confused and totally lost at sea. Even the announcers commented on it and the cameras panned him looking for a reaction.

    This is why there was no longer any trust, and it is why the players and fans certainly deserved answers. If the players are to be held accountable and are to remain loyal to the high standard Belichick preaches, including falling on their sword for the good of the team, he must hold himself to the same standard of perfection.

  47. tainted forever, ***, two gifts, another loss, NOW THE WORST TEAM OF THE SUPERBOWL ERA, FIVE LOSSES 5 LOSSES, with two-yard tommie at the helm….

    ——

    One problem…….thats not reality. The real truth is that they won 5 super bowls and played in three more, probably whooping your team along the way.

    I know you want that to be true, but its not.

  48. Butler was the Pats 2nd best corner and their best tackler in the secondary. Indisputably he would have made a difference. Pats trolls obviously didn’t care to watch the game. Too bad, it was a good one, despite the team I root for losing.

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