We somehow still don’t totally know why Malcolm Butler was benched in Super Bowl 52.
In a hypothetical power ranking of scandals (both real and imagined) regarding the New England Patriots under the tenure of Bill Belichick, it’s a bit of a head-scratcher that we’ve almost entirely ceased discussing the murky circumstances surrounding the benching of cornerback Malcolm Butler in Super Bowl LII against the Philadelphia Eagles.
He did appear on special teams, but the Pro Bowler and esteemed member of the Patriots’ All-Decade Team for the 2010s didn’t log a single defensive snap in that game. New England lost to a backup quarterback.
Just about everyone (including Butler himself) insisted they knew the “real” reason why this happened, but former Pats running back Shane Vereen just reminded all of us that the story is far from settled. With this in mind, it’s past due for Bill Belichick to clear the air once and for all.
Why did Bill Belichick bench Malcolm Butler for Super Bowl 52?
“The grassy knoll still exists,” Vereen told Boston’s WEEI sports radio this week.
Folks, the Patriots’ dynasty of the last two decades is over. They might still squeeze out an AFC East title this season, but the fact remains that they’d be doing harm to their long-term situation by doing so. This would suggest that Belichick is perhaps approaching the endgame in Foxborough.
So, why not kill off the conspiracy theories and loose talk about benching a Pro Bowler at long last?
Seriously, Belichick’s legacy is sealed. He’s one of the great coaches in the history of sports no matter what else happens. He could tank his way to a 3-13 record this year and still earn a parade in his honor (assuming that leads to drafting Trevor Lawrence No. 1 overall). He’s got nothing to lose dispelling this strange yarn.
In fact, given that the head coach is notoriously cagey and tends to divulge as little on the record as humanly possible, such a candid proclamation would be as refreshing as a big ol’ plastic cup of Sam Adams Oktoberfest at a Gilette Stadium tailgate.
Perhaps the confusion surrounding this issue only bolsters the Belichickian mystique. But in the big picture, the Foxborough faithful have more than earned the truth.