It’s time to give up on Bill Belichick and Malcolm Butler.
We’re in the heat of baseball season, but the start of the 2018 NFL schedule is barely five weeks away. The New England media and their fans won’t look ahead until Bill Belichick tells them why he benched cornerback Butler in Super Bowl LII, which the Patriots lost to the Eagles.
Sure, everyone up there would like to know, but isn’t it clear that the stone-faced head coach won’t say why Butler, the hero of New England’s fourth Super Bowl championship over Seattle, did not play a single snap on defense? If he had played, the Pats might have gotten off the field on a couple of key third downs and won the game. But he didn’t and they didn’t. History.
So let’s give Belichick a break, because maybe he is doing the same for Butler, who had to have done something to deserve at least not starting, if not playing at all. He had been in on more than 90 percent of the defensive snaps since his stunning interception against Russell Wilson that stole Super Bowl 49.
Butler, who has since signed with New Orleans, won’t say anything except he wasn’t feeling his best and that he never questioned any decision Belichick made in his years playing for him. What if the coach was actually protecting the kid so he could sign a big contract with another team.
Rumors had Butler guilty of everything from actually being sick with the flu all week, to partying past curfew, to smoking weed, to having women in his room, to having missed the team plane to Minnesota, which he did. What is the point of airing that dirty laundry now that a new season is about to begin?
Belichick is a highly frustrating coach who is famous for lines like “We’re on to Cincinnati” when the media wants to know what happened in the last game. He’s always been that way as a head coach and at 66 he’s not changing now. And why would he? In this case, the public doesn’t have the right to know.
Besides not playing Butler in the Super Bowl, Belichick had apparently soured on the fleet cornerback during the regular season and wasn’t giving him the big contract he wanted. But if he threw him under the bus after the season, he would have hurt Butler’s future. So he said nothing beyond we’re on to 2018.
Someday, the truth may leak out of Butler or someone on the Patriots who knows. But, for now, let’s move on ourselves.