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#pounditSaturday, July 2, 2022

Is this the reason Bill Belichick benched Malcolm Butler in Super Bowl?

Malcolm Butler

Bill Belichick’s decision to bench Malcolm Butler in Super Bowl LII may have cost the New England Patriots a seventh championship, and the head coach has never provided an explanation for the move. We may finally have one.

ESPN’s Seth Wickersham wrote a book about the Patriots called “It’s Better to be Feared.” The book, which will be published on Oct. 12, offers a rare behind-the-scenes look at one of the most mysterious dynasties in sports history. There’s plenty about how the relationship between Belichick and Tom Brady soured, but Wickersham also obtained some information about Butler’s benching.

Butler apparently had a heated exchange with former Patriots defensive coordinator Matt Patricia during practice before Super Bowl LII. Patricia was unhappy with Butler’s lack of effort, and the decision was made to demote the Super Bowl XLIX hero. When teammates asked Butler why he only got one snap on special teams during the 2018 Super Bowl, he reportedly said “these dudes, these motherf—ers” and motioned toward the coaching staff.

The Patriots lost to the Philadelphia Eagles by a score of 41-33, despite Brady throwing for over 500 yards. Most people agree that they would have had an easier time stopping Nick Foles and company if they didn’t bench one of their starting cornerbacks.

There have been several theories about Butler’s benching that range from simple scheming to the cornerback getting in trouble off the field in the week leading up to the Super Bowl. If Wickersham’s sources are correct, Butler actually got in trouble on the field.

Butler has since cracked some pretty funny jokes about the benching. Patriots fans, however, did not find it very funny given the result of the game. Neither did many of the team’s star players.


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