It’s crazy to even think that Bill Belichick lost a Super Bowl by being Bill Belichick. He’s been known for letting players go instead of signing them to a long term deal, but last night was kind of a head scratcher. The Super Bowl is not the time to get cute and it sure as hell isn’t the time to see what you have for next year.
If you didn’t watch the game, the Patriots gave up 41 points. Nick Foles isn’t a slouch or your normal back up quarterback, but he still is a back up quarterback nonetheless. At first, the Patriots had Eric Rowe playing on Alshon Jeffrey over Malcolm Butler. Yes. The same Malcolm Butler that picked off Russell Wilson to seal a Super Bowl victory 3 short seasons ago. The same Malcolm Butler that played 97% of snaps throughout the season. The same Malcolm Butler that they almost flipped for Brandin Cooks instead of a 1st round pick. The same Malcolm Butler who’s been your number 1 corner before signing Gilmore.
Now, if you told me that Malcolm Butler violated team rules or did something the last two weeks to warrant a benching, I would understand the benching. To come out and say that it was a coach’s decision based on matchups, is a slap in the face as a Patriot fan. I know what you’re thinking “Hasn’t Bill done enough to warrant second guessing?”. Yes, he has, but this feels different. I’ve never second guessed the Jamie Collins trade or Chandler Jones or even Richard Seymour. This doesn’t have the feel of those moves. You can’t tell me Eric Rowe gives you a better matchup. You can’t tell me Johnson Bademosi gives you a better matchup. It’s asinine to think that way and to phrase it that way.
Do I think Patriots win with Butler?
Yes, I do. Butler is a pure tackler. Bademosi proved he can’t tackle one on one. There were a couple 3rd down plays that Bademosi had Nelson Agholor wrapped up, but couldn’t bring him down. Butler makes those plays. Eric Rowe got torched by Alshon Jeffrey to start the game. Butler makes the play on the TD. They got smart and had Gilmore shadow Jeffrey, but it wasn’t enough. You can’t tell me putting a back up safety in for him was a better choice than putting Butler in the game. I feel bad for the guy. During the pregame, he was emotional especially when they panned to him during the national anthem. I knew something was up and then I heard Rowe get the start.
Finishing this season off the way it started. By our defense letting us down. By Belichick letting his ego get to him at the worst possible time. There’s nothing he could’ve done to warrant a whole game. Maybe a start. Maybe a quarter. But to sit him the whole game when you know damn well he would’ve helped? Come on.