Malcolm Butler Believes Patriots ‘Probably’ Would Have Won Super Bowl If He’d Played


Think the New England Patriots might have won Super Bowl LII if Malcolm Butler hadn’t been stapled to the sideline? Butler agrees.

During an episode of “SI: Under the Cover” that chronicled Butler’s free agency, the now-former Patriots cornerback said he would have made a difference in New England’s 41-33 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles.

“I never missed a game,” Butler said. “Never missed practice or anything like that. Would we have won if I played? Probably. Maybe. I’m not sure. But I would say we were short about one or two plays, and I saw a couple plays out there I could have made.”

After leading the Patriots in defensive snaps during the regular season and not leaving the field during the two preceding playoff games, Butler did not play a single snap on defense in Super Bowl LII. That proved to be his final game in a Patriots uniform, as he signed a five-year, $61 million with the Tennessee Titans one month later.

“There were times that I was on the sideline that I just wanted to go up and say to (Bill) Belichick or Matt Patricia and just say, ‘This is how we’re going to end this?’ ” said Butler, who became a Patriots legend with his game-sealing interception in Super Bowl XLIX.

“I grew up in the Patriots system, and I’m a well-mannered guy. I respect my authority. I just couldn’t ask them for something they didn’t want to do. I just was doing my job. I was close to going up there and saying what I wanted to say to Matt or Belichick, but I just stayed in my lane and just did my job, man. I really wanted to go ask them, but I didn’t.”

“Under the Cover” offered a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at Butler during the six weeks between Super Bowl Sunday and the day he signed with the Titans. Some other highlights:

— Butler said he had hoped to finish his career with the Patriots, but that he did not want to play for a team that did not want him.

“I wanted to go out like Kobe Bryant,” he said. “Now, I might not be Kobe Bryant or never be Kobe Bryant, but I always told myself that I always wanted to finish my career on one team and just go out like that. But no one wants to be somewhere where they’re not wanted.”

— The documentary showed a phone call between Butler and running back Dion Lewis, whom the cornerback sought out for advice as both navigated through free agency.

“I’m in a similar boat right now,” said Lewis, who enjoyed a career year for the Patriots in 2017. “… I thought it would be a lot easier.”

Both players wound up signing with Tennessee, where they’ll rejoin ex-Patriots teammate Logan Ryan.

— According to Butler’s agent, Derek Simpson, the Titans, Chicago Bears, New Orleans Saints, Houston Texans and Detroit Lions showed the most interest in Butler. Chicago made a contract offer of three years, $30 million, and the Saints were interested in offering him a one-year deal.

“That’s a trial contract,” said Butler, who played on a one-year, $3.91 million tender in 2017.

The Titans initially offered Butler a five-year contract worth $11 million per year before returning with a five-year, $61 million offer that he gladly accepted.

“Most people know me for Super Bowl XLIX and, of course, Super Bowl LII,” Butler said. “What will I be known for next? A great Tennessee Titan player. … You’ll see a better Malcolm Butler on and off the field.”

— The episode closed with a phone conversation between a newly wealthy Butler and his mother.

“Hey Ma, you ready to go to Nashville?” Butler said. “I signed a $61M deal with the Titans. Yeah, yeah, stop screaming, Ma.”

Thumbnail photo via Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports Images

Source: NESN

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