The Butler didn't do it, cornerback benched for Super Bowl

06 February, 2018, 15:04 | Author: Eleanor Thompson
  • New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick and offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels

Nick Foles, the Eagles quarterback who was the backup until Carson Wentz tore a knee ligament, threw for 373 yards and three touchdowns en route to Super Bowl MVP honours, while New England frequently had safeties covering the slot position, from which Philadelphia's Nelson Agholor racked up nine catches for 84 yards.

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) - New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick was no more forthcoming on Monday about his surprise benching of one-time Super Bowl star Malcolm Butler.

"I addressed [that] question after the game", Belichick said. "I feel for [Butler]".

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The Hoodie typically outwits, out-coaches and outlasts opponents with frightening precision, but his curious choice to sit the guy who had played more defensive snaps than anyone on his roster this season (97.8%, in case you were wondering) loomed large in New England's 41-33 loss to the Eagles Sunday night.

Patriots linebacker Don'ta Hightower took a passive-aggressive jab at his head coach by liking a critical Instagram post from former teammate Brandon Browner, who wrote this under a caption of Belichick after the Super Bowl: "Lost the game for us tonight. In the end we have to make the decision that we feel are best for the football team". "I don't know how to feel watching that (expletive) without watching my homie Malcolm playing". Rowe said benching Butler "was not the plan". "I don't know what it was".

If you're going to go down, you may as well at least go down with your best players on the field. "I'm sure the players felt the same way".

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Browner doubled down in a subsequent post, saying "a locker room was divided pregame". Others have speculated more outlandish theories, but so far the only explanation the team has given is that they felt benching Butler gave the team the best chance to win.

The bigger Rowe had reportedly been practicing during the week as a starting cornerback opposite Stephon Gilmore, but Rowe said after the game that he still expected Butler to get his share of playing time. "I don't know. But I could have changed that game". They seem unlikely to dole out another eight-figure contract to Butler - particularly if he wasn't worthy of playing in the biggest game of the season. He was clearly emotional beforehand and expressed those feelings to ESPN's Mike Reiss afterwards. But it will forever be hard to accept that Butler would not have made more plays than the likes of Richards or Bademosi.

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