Taylor McCloud — Pats Militia
Malcolm Butler has spoken.
Three words: WHAT. THE. FUCK?
According to Butler, he didn’t do anything. Until someone other than Ian Rapoport refutes that, I’ll believe him. And because I believe him, I have to believe Bill Belichick and Matt Patricia, which means that the benching really was just a football decision, in which case I’ll say it again: WHAT THE FUCK?
I thought that, as time passed, I’d get a grip on this whole situation. I was wrong. As time passes, I become more and more unhinged. I still can’t believe Butler sat for the entire Super Bowl. Even as the Patriots’ defense wilted away at the hands of Nick Foles, he was forced to stand there and watch. Not help. Just watch.
In my initial blog, which I’ll include here:
I wrote that benching Butler was the worst decision Belichick has ever made as head coach of the Patriots. I stand by that. And it seems like I’m not the only one who’s frustrated with the decision, either.
After Butler posted his statement on Instagram, his teammates flocked to it. A ton of his teammates, former and present, liked it.
Along with Brady, the post has been liked by Phillip Dorsett, Elandon Roberts, Harvey Langi, Cody Hollister, Vincent Valentine, Martellus Bennett, Marcus Cannon, Jacoby Brissett, Justin Coleman, LeGarrette Blount, Brandon Browner, Jamie Collins and Rob Ninkovich
— Mark Daniels (@MarkDanielsPJ) February 6, 2018
Among that group of teammates is Tom Brady, who also posted this comment below the post:
Tom Brady: “Love you Malcolm. You are always an incredible player and teammate and friend. Always!!!!!!” pic.twitter.com/31dsNnSWcY
— Zack Cox (@ZackCoxNESN) February 6, 2018
Does that seem like a bunch of guys who were really disappointed in their teammate for ruining his chance at playing in the Super Bowl? Hell no. It seems like a bunch of guys, and one quarterback, who were disappointed in the choice to not play one of the best defenders on the roster.
Earlier today, Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald wrote a piece about the Butler situation. Here’s how it ended.
“There were a lot of unknowns at play, even yesterday in the aftermath. But Butler’s teammates do know they wanted him on the field after they worked so hard, together, to reach that point.”
That’s right. Butler’s teammates wanted him on the field. They didn’t want him standing on the sideline. Yet there he was, rotting away because “we had to make the decisions that were best for the football team.”
Look, I’m not saying Butler wins the Super Bowl for the Patriots. But like he said, he could have changed the game. Regardless of outcome, Super Bowl LII looks different with 21 out there. There’s no doubt in my mind.
I want to get past this and look ahead to the future, but I’m having a lot of trouble doing that. The organization’s sixth Super Bowl title was on the line. The best players should have been on the field, and most of them were, but one wasn’t. One wasn’t because Belichick held him off of it.
It sucks that we’ll never see Butler in a Patriots’ uniform ever again. After some of his comments last week, I thought there was a real chance he’d work something out to stay. That’s probably dumb, blind optimism but he said he wanted to stay with the Patriots. He actually said it. No one reported it. No one leaked it. He said it. “Without a doubt,” he wanted to stay in New England. Not anymore. He wasn’t explicit in his statement, but you don’t thank an organization you’re planning on returning to. Butler’s gone and it hurts. It hurts bad. The guy did everything asked of him in New England. He made the greatest play in franchise history. He played two seasons of top-flight ball. He swallowed his pride when Stephon Gilmore was brought in to take his job. And like always, he took the high road in this post. He thanked everyone. He didn’t say a bad word because that’s not who he is. I’m gonna miss him.
P.S. A lot of you aren’t going to believe Butler and will probably get on me for believing him, but until someone from the organization comes out and says something different, this is all we’ve got to go on.
Follow Taylor McCloud on Twitter @tdmcld