The New England Patriots were without Malcolm Butler for Super Bowl LII after the cornerback got into an argument with then-defensive coordinator Matt Patricia, according to a book from ESPN’s Seth Wickersham. In the book, “It’s Better to Be Feared,” Wickersham wrote about what took place between Butler and Patricia.
Butler played only on special teams during the Super Bowl and watched from the sideline while cornerback Eric Rowe played in his stead. The team lost to the Eagles, 41-33, and Philly quarterback Nick Foles was 28 of 43 for 373 yards, three touchdown and one interception. Foles also caught a touchdown on a trick play. It was clear the team needed Bulter. Neither Butler nor Belichick has openly addressed the benching, leaving only speculation.
“In the lead-up to Super Bowl LII against the Philadelphia Eagles, Patriots cornerback Malcolm Butler and defensive coordinator Matt Patricia traded heated words at practice over the former Super Bowl hero’s lack of effort. Butler was demoted. At the team party after New England’s loss, Butler responded to teammates asking why he was benched by saying, ‘These dudes,’ referring to the coaches, according to the book, ‘these mother f—ers.’”
That helps explain the ongoing mystery of Butler’s benching.