The New England Patriots are being tight-lipped as to why Malcolm Butler is being held out of the Super Bowl.
The cornerback did not start the game for New England, nor did he feature at all during the first quarter. Via Al Michaels on the NBC broadcast, this was a coach’s decision.
Al Michaels says NBC has been told Butler not playing on defense is "coach's decision". Michaels notes it was easier to get info out of the old East Germany.
— Judy Battista (@judybattista) February 5, 2018
Interestingly, NBC cameras spotted an emotional Butler on the sideline during the national anthem.
#NBC showing Malcolm Butler crying on the sideline during the National Anthem. Emotions. Has played in special teams. Still on the sideline during defense.
— Raul Martinez NBC10 Boston (@RaulNBCBoston) February 5, 2018
The Patriots started Eric Rowe ahead of Butler, who has really struggled against Philadelphia’s Alshon Jeffrey. This could be a huge talking point depending on how the rest of the game plays out.