Why did Malcolm Butler, arguably the New England Patriots' best cornerback, not play a single defensive snap in Super Bowl LII? It's the question on the mind of every Patriots fan following the Philadelphia Eagles' 41-33 victory to capture their first Lombardi Trophy in franchise history. It's reportedly a variety of reasons.
When asked after the game about his absence, Butler told ESPN's Mike Reiss and Adam Schefter, "They gave up on me. Fuck. It is what it is." Unsure as to why he was benched, Butler believes that his illness earlier in the week wouldn't have affected his play on the field. "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."
Patriots head coach Bill Belichick remained mum about the reason behind the benching, instead claiming that it was strictly a coach's decision. "I respect Malcolm's competitiveness," Belichick said in a conference call, per Michael Giardi of NBC Sports Boston. "I'm sure he felt like he could have helped...in the end, we have to make the decisions that are best for the football...that's really all I can say about that." According to the NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, Butler's benching was the result of a series of issues ranging from his illness to a bad week of practice leading up to the Super Bowl to a "minor rule violation" that may have related to curfew.
In related news, Butler is entering the offseason as an unrestricted free agent, and Houston Texans wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins is shooting his shot.