Over the past week, there has been so much speculation about what happened with Patriots CB Malcolm Butler. Was he late to meetings? Did he break curfew? Was he hanging out late at a Rick Ross concert? Who knows, but one thing for sure is Butler did not play a meaningful role in Super Bowl 52.
Butler, who was a Pro-Bowl corner in 2016, played one snap in Super Bowl 52 on special teams.
Here is what Patriots head coach Bill Belichick said on Monday about Butler:
“I respect Malcolm’s competitiveness. I’m sure that he felt like he could’ve helped. I’m sure other players felt the same way. In the end, we have to make decisions that are best for the football team.”
Hall of Famer Willie Roaf was very perplexed by the whole situation:
“Don’t understand the whole situation with Malcolm Butler,” Roaf told the Go4it podcast. “If the kid did something before the game, I would have thought you would have sat him and not even played him. It’s sad to see that kid, who played 98% of the snaps, and he dresses. Now, going into a contract year and they don’t want to pay him. What kind of nerve do you have to sit your starting corner, who has been All-Pro(2nd team All-Pro in 2016) and made the Pro Bowl, and you sit him. And he finds out about it right during the National Anthem.
“That takes a lot of guts. I don’t understand a coach that could sit a Pro-Bowl corner that’s been starting for you all year in a Super Bowl, so I really don’t understand that.”
Patriots CB Eric Rowe took Butler’s place in the lineup, and Roaf believes that move could have cost the Patriots:
I think it would have made a difference. The first touchdown they threw was on him,” Roaf said. ‘You can’t tell that kid(Rowe) that’s putting him in a bad situation. You’re basically telling him you’re going to play the whole game unless they told him prior(to the game).
“I would think they would have told him prior. They didn’t tell Malcolm, but they told him (Rowe), so he would be mentally prepared to play the whole game, but you would put that kid in a tough spot when you bench a Pro-Bowl cornerback.”
Rowe said after the game that he found out he was starting shortly before kickoff.
The Eagles had no problem moving the ball up and down the field on the Patriots. Philly had 538 total yards of offense in Super Bowl 52.
Throughout the season, the Patriots have given up a bunch of yards(366 per game), but they kept teams out of the end zone(18.5 points allowed per game). That did not happen in Super Bowl 52 as the Eagles scored 41 points.
Would Malcolm Butler have made a difference? Maybe, but one will never know!
Listen below at 46:21 as Roaf talks Malcolm Butler: