The question on everyone’s mind the day after the Philadelphia’s 41-33 victory over New England in Super Bowl LII is why didn’t Patriots coach Bill Belichick play starting cornerback Malcolm Butler on defense?
The Eagles and quarterback Nick Foles picked apart the Pats’ defense, amassing 378 passing yards for four touchdowns — one caught by Foles.
You would have thought the Patriots’ defense could have used the Super Bowl hero from three years ago who played nearly every snap this season.
Not Belichick. He said he went with the guys “that give us the best chance to win.”
The curious benching had everyone questioning the genius of Belichick, including former Pats cornerback Brandon Browner, who made a series of posts to Instagram ripping the strategy.
In one post, Browner wrote:
“A locker room was divided pre game, most yds ever given in up in a SB game, and your best defender over the past 3 seasons. Doesn’t get a snap. You where hurt/burnt where he was needed tonight.. #foolishpride”
Pretty fair criticism from a former player. Jamie Collins and Alfonzo Dennard, two other former Patriots, liked the post.
Perhaps more interesting, though, is that current Patriots linebacker Dont’a Hightower liked it.
Collins, Dennard and Hightower were all teammates with Butler on the Patriots in 2014.
Hightower has three years left on a four-year, $43.5 million deal. Butler is an unrestricted free agent.
Ty Law, who won two Super Bowl rings with the Patriots in the early 2000s, also questioned Belichick’s thinking:
Given a chance Monday to explain his position on Butler, Belichick reiterated his stance from Sunday.
“I respect Malcolm’s competitiveness,” Belichick said. “I’m sure he felt he could’ve helped. I’m sure the players felt the same way. In the end we have to make the decision that we feel are best for the football team. That’s what we did. That’s what I did.”
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