Benching Malcolm Butler Cost The Patriots a Championship and If Any Coach Other Than Belichick Pulled This Move They'd Lose Their Job
Look the Eagles won last night, congrats to them. They made more plays than the Patriots and because of that, they are Super Bowl champs. I think Doug Pederson coached his ass off. 100% out-coached the "greatest coach in the history of the league" Bill Belichick. Pederson was the anti-Doug Marrone last night, Marrone who kneeled on the ball going into the half of the AFC Championship game with 55 seconds and two time outs remaining coached not to lose, and it ultimately cost his team a chance in playing in this game.
Pederson on the other hand went balls to the wall against the Patriots on the biggest stage in sports. The trick play on 4th and goal, and going for it on 4th and short in their own territory on their final touchdown drive made all the difference in the game and because of that the Eagles are Super Bowl champs.
All that being said, I truly believe if Malcolm Butler plays the Patriots win that game, yes they made a lot of other mistakes last night, Gostkowski was dredful, Brady did fumble (even though he's the major reason the Patriots had a chance last night) but to me benching Butler was idiotic. To inexplicably bench their 2nd best corner just before the biggest of the season will forever to many people be why the Patriots lost this game.
Everybody is speculating as to why Belichick did it, there are reports that Butler missed the team flight out to Minnesota, had been caught with weed, and told off coaches. Whatever it was, I believe this decision cost the Patriots a Super Bowl.
Maybe the Eagles still pull it off if he's out there, but as someone who has watched essentially every snap of this season even though Butler has had a rocky year, he's still one of the best defenders on this team. You gotta use all your available assets, and they didn't. Butler had been on the field pretty much every defensive play this season and the two seasons before that, then in the Super Bowl plays 1 snap on punt return.
Then for some reason Bill Belichick decides to not use him for a single defensive snap in the mother fucking Super Bowl. One of the few above-average players on a defense that frankly is full of below-average players did not get a chance to help his team win.
He was replaced by special-team BUMS like Jordan Richard and Johnson Bademosi. Both were ineffective at best, and can be blamed heavily for the outcome of the game. The missed tackle by Bademosi on 3rd down ended up leading to a touchdown drive for the Eagles.
I have been saying all year that the Pats don't have the defense to win a Super Bowl and that turned out to be true last night. They didn't pressure Foles AT ALL. Forced one punt all night, missed a bunch of tackles, allowed 41 fucking points and 538 yards to Nick Foles and the Eagles. Disgusting, it's gonna sting for a while. They didn't deserve to win playing like that...yet they were still in the game thanks to a monster effort by Tom Brady. Despite being horrible they still could've won this game! That's what makes it so hard to swallow.
Everybody wants to know what Butler could've possibly done to cause Belichick to bench one of his best defensive players in the biggest game of the year. He and Matt Patricia kept giving the same canned answers about it being "best thing for the team" and that "it's the packages" when asked why. It's complete and utter bull shit. The fans who live and die with this team deserve to know.
Idk what Malcolm did. Maybe he did break team rules? Maybe he did miss the plane? Maybe he did got caught with weed?
Who gives a shit? This isn't the NCAA where a championship can get vacated, even if he did commit a crime or something you gotta let him play.
I don't care if he fucked Belichick's girlfriend in front of him, he has to play.
At what point is ego and proving a point worth it?
Apparently Belichick would rather lose a Super Bowl than give him, even if it's what's best for the football team.
I just do not understand the rationale. As a coach it's your job to do everything you possibly can do to win, and Belichick did not do that last night. It's as simple as that. He left one in the chamber. Belichick essentially saw a house catch on fire and just stood there let it burn to the ground despite having a fully functioning hose with next to him.
Even if he was getting benched for disciplinary reasons at some point you need to realize wining a Super Bowl is the most important thing. I'd love to know what the players in that locker-room had to say about this decision.
Belichick has seemingly been out to get Butler all season. He dangled his name in trade talks multiple times, gave a huge contract to Stephon Gilmore instead of him, and has just not been appreciative to what he's meant to this organization at all. Malcolm Butler is why this team won Super Bowl 49. Brady was incredible that night, but w/o Butler making the play of the decade Seattle are Super Bowl 49 champions. Even if he did something worth a benching, at one point do you value discipline over what's best for the entire team? Stuff like this divides a locker room. Former Patriots corner back Brandon Browner was going off on Instragram about that very topic last night...and current (granted he's on the IR) Patriot linebacker Dont'a Hightower liked it.
I get it you want to prove a point and show how important discipline is, but this is not the fucking time. Plus they were going to let Butler go this off-season anyways, I think you can justify playing one of your best players in this game despite whatever he may have done then let him walk, don't even offer him a bullshit "no chance he accepts this, but we're just making a gesture" contract. What could he have possibly done that was bad enough to bench him but not bad enough to make him in-active for the game? Why even waste the roster spot with him?
Belichick's ego and arrogance cost the Patriots a Super Bowl. Plain and simple. It's not the first time either, the last 4 years have been great and I'm so happy we has Patriot fans have gotten to experience but all this in "Bill We Trust" and he can do no wrong narrative is simply not true. There have been multiple personnel mistakes that he's made that have costed this team the possibility of winning even more Super Bowls. He makes mistakes all the time, but benching Malcolm Butler and not giving him a single snap on defense is without a doubt the biggest. If he wasn't Bill Belichick and this was another city or a different team people would be calling for his job. To me allowing your defense to get torched all night when you have a fully capable former all-pro CB just sitting on the sidelines is inexcusable and a firable offense. This is the worst coaching decision in Boston history since Grady Little left Pedro in too long back in 03. I think it's arguably worse because at least that situation Grady was willing to die with arguably the greatest pitcher of his generation. Here Belichick benched the man who literally stole him a Super Bowl and had played at a pro-bowl caliber level during his time in New England just to flex on the team and show his authority.
The Patriots defense was fucking atrocious last night, the personnel is a joke. The front 7 got literally no pressure on Foles all night and then you mix in a secondary with special teams guys playing in roles they never have before tbh they're lucky they gave up only 41 points. Malcolm Butler was one of the few bright spots on this defense, yet despite giving up huge yardage consistently throughout the game, they never put him in.
We'll never know if the Patriots would've won with Malcolm Butler, but I sure as hell would've liked to see. Obviously Belichick has been a great coach for this franchise, and is probably the best of all time, but this move no matter the circumstances simply wasn't worth it. It potentially took the ring off of 53 men's finger and instead gave it to Philly trash who literally ate horse shit to celebrate.