Nearly nothing in sports is universally agreed upon, however, stating Bill Belichick is the greatest coach in NFL history is pretty close. Therefore, most of his decisions are not questioned and end up panning out just fine, but not this time. Belichick should not get a pass this week for playing former Super Bowl hero Malcolm Butler a total of zero snaps on defense in the Patriots’ Super Bowl loss to the Eagles.
Butler’s inactivity came as a surprise to many, and now that the trophy has been presented, questions still remain.
Initially, Butler said, “I ain’t got nothing to say,” but was then much more vivid alongside Adam Schefter saying, “They gave up on me. F –. It is what it is.”
Butler – who only played on special teams – added he could have made a profound impact on a game the secondary greatly struggled in:
“I don’t know what it was. I guess I wasn’t playing good or they didn’t feel comfortable. I don’t know. But I could have changed that game.”
It was Eric Rowe replacing the former Pro Bowler alongside Stephon Gilmore and Johson Bademosi at corner, and this is where the bad decision by Belichick begins. Rowe first was introduced to (most likely) 100 million people watching as he was embarrassed by Alshon Jeffery for a 34-yard touchdown in the first quarter:
Rowe and the rest of the secondary continued to get torched by Nick Foles all game long resulting in the former backup receiving Super Bowl MVP with 373 passing yards and three touchdowns. Not to mention, he seemed to make every big throw they needed, including the one to Zach Ertz that still has everyone talking:
Belichick must answer for the suspicious move, or at the very least be held accountable for never turning to Butler at any point even though he was active and eligible. Rowe was struggling in coverage, and the Patriots secondary could have used literally anything to spark them in a game they gave up 41 points. The Eagles had not scored over 38 since early November.
The decision even has some long-term consequences as this all but shuts the door on Butler – unrestricted free agent – returning to New England next year. This is coming off an offseason where bringing Butler back was one of the top priorities for the Patriots.