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.”