Bill Belichick explains benching Malcolm Butler in Super Bowl


A former Super Bowl hero did not start Super Bowl LII for the Patriots.

The Patriots didn't use their usual starting lineup against the Eagles, with cornerback Malcolm Butler benched in favor of Eric Rowe.

"They gave up on me", Butler said.

After flirting with the idea of trading Butler to the New Orleans Saints last spring, head coach/general manager Bill Belichick chose to hold onto the corner and it has paid off in another Super Bowl appearance. One of the most surprising storylines from Super Bowl 52 was Butler's benching. Another Eagles running back Corey Clement (4 catches, 100 yards) was surprisingly effective while wide receivers Nelson Agholor (9 catches, 84 yards) and Alshon Jeffery (3 catches, 73 yards, TD) along with tight end Zach Ertz (7 catches, 67 yards, TD) had their way all game with the New England secondary. After appearing in 11 regular season games during his rookie year, he went on to make one of the all-time memorable Super Bowl moments, intercepting Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson on the goal line to seal another Lombardi Trophy for the Patriots.

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The Eagles punted only once and converted a pair of fourth downs.

Butler remained absent on the Eagles first offensive drive of the second half, too, which ended in a touchdown and allowed Philadelphia to take a 29-19 lead.

The Patriots defense was dominated all night long.

Safety Patrick Chung (10 total tackles, 7 solo) was the leading tackler for the Pats which is never a good sign.