The New England Patriots lost the Super Bowl to the Philadelphia Eagles and one question still remains, why did Bill Belichick bench one of their best defensive players in Malcolm Butler?
If your memory doesn’t serve you correctly, Malcolm Butler was the one who picked off Russell Wilson a few years ago in the Super Bowl to seal the win for New England. He has been with the Patriots for 4 years now and has been one of their best players. He was also one of their healthiest players, he played about 98% of New England’s defensive snaps this year, which is quite an impressive stat.
So, why would you bench him? Is there a definitive answer? No, there is not, there are the reasons that Bill Belichick provided, but there are also external reasons being suggested. Butler has already refuted these outside reports and Belichick has stayed silent on them.
All Belichick has said is that Butler had a bad week of practice and has been sick.
On the contrary, various reports have come out saying that Butler was benched because he had missed curfew, had an incident with marijuana and had a meltdown with some of the staff. So, is Bill Belichick lying in his way of not really saying anything? Well, it is quite possible that he is not telling the whole story, especially given his history with scandals like “Deflategate” and “Spygate.”
Bill Belichick is the best coach in the NFL today, and perhaps will be deemed the greatest coach of all time. The scandals over the years may put a small dent in his legacy, but there is no denying the fact that he is one of the greatest.
There is a reason Bill Belichick is the best at what he does, and there is no secret behind his success. Look at Nick Saban in College Football, is there a secret in what he does? Nick Saban is all about “the process” and Belichick is all about “doing your job.”
Just like Saban, Belichick does not put up with anything that is not to his exact standard. It is hard to process that the greatest coach of all time would bench a player because “he had a bad week of practice.” So, let’s just assume that Malcolm Butler did violate team rules and did do something that Belichick did not approve of.
Should Butler have played in the Super Bowl even if he violated team rules? Absolutely not! Bill Belichick runs a tight ship and if you mess up, there will be consequences. Let’s say he still lets Butler play, what kind of message would he be sending to the rest of the team? Players would start to think they have more leeway and that their actions will not have any consequences.
Belichick would have got grilled either way for his decision, there was no way for him to come out of it untouched. He doesn’t care, when was the last time he wanted anything to do with the media? In a way, I think that Belichick was trying to protect Malcolm Butler by not giving the real reasons why he was benched because it could have been much more extreme than the external reports that have been coming out.
If you want to be the best, you need to have extremely high standards. You cannot let anything get in the way of those standards either. Bill Belichick stood his ground and I think he should be praised for it. There is no guarantee that New England wins the Super Bowl with Butler either, so we will never know.
Of course, there is no way of knowing what actually happened. Only Belichick and Butler know what really happened, and all we can do is speculate and analyze off of what we know.