New England Patriots: Malcolm Butler believes he could have changed game

Jan 21 2018 Foxborough MA USA New England Patriots cornerback Malcolm Butler against the Jacksonville Jaguars during the AFC Championship at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

BC-FBN-Patriots-Butler, 1st Ld-Writethru, 365 Belichick isn't saying why he benched Butler in Super BowlAP Photo MASR101, NY901Eds: Updates.

The Patriots lost a heartbreaking decision to the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl LII, and there's plenty of fallout to cover, including Bill Belichick's decision to bench Malcolm Butler and what happens next. But of course, it's Belichick's Butler decision that will go down as the most striking in a season filled with head-turning personnel moves, from the offseason all the way through the Super Bowl.

Butler was widely considered one of New England's best defensive players throughout the year before the Patriots allowed 538 yards and 41 points to backup quarterback Nick Foles and the Eagles.

They mystery surrounding his benching may never be solved, but Brandon Browner, a former New England Patriots cornerback who won a Super Bowl with the team, the benching had something to do with marijuana. "I am sure other players felt the same way, but in the end, we have to make the decisions that we feel are best for the football team and that is what we did... that is what I did".

Butler told ESPN after the game, "They gave up on me. But u don't play your best cornerback".

Jan 21 2018 Foxborough MA USA New England Patriots cornerback Malcolm Butler sits on the field during the third quarter against the Jacksonville Jaguars in the AFC Championship Game at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit David Butler II-USA TODA
Credit David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

However, it's hard to take that comment at face value given that Rowe was apparently not informed he'd play over Butler until mere moments before the game. "I don't know what it was". Aside from a hiccup in the first quarter, Philadelphia didn't let the Patriots back into the game.

Another is defensive coordinator Matt Patricia, who was hired as the head coach of the Detroit Lions on Monday.

The bigger Rowe had reportedly been practicing during the week as a starting cornerback opposite Stephon Gilmore, but Rowe said after the game that he still expected Butler to get his share of playing time. I guess I wasn't playing good or they didn't feel comfortable. I could have changed that game, though.

"I appreciate the question, but it would be a much longer discussion", Belichick told reporters. "He wants to be out there, so I'm not surprised he was emotional".

The three players that the Patriots made a decision to use instead of Butler, Rowe, Johnson Bademosi and Jordan Richards, all graded out significantly worse than Butler.

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