Malcolm Butler saved the Patriots in one Super Bowl, but he was never given a chance to play the hero again this time.
The Patriots corner, who had the game-winning interception in Super Bowl XLIX three years ago against the Seahawks, did not play any defensive snaps in New England’s 41-33 loss to the Eagles in Super Bowl LII at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis on Sunday.
Butler, who was sick all week but did not think that would affect his status, tried to stay silent after the game, telling an NFL.com reporter “I ain’t got nothing to say,” but ultimately could not keep his true feelings to himself much longer.
“They gave up on me,” he told ESPN’s Mike Reiss. “F–k. It is what it is.”
“I don’t know what it was,” Butler added. “I guess I wasn’t playing good or they didn’t feel comfortable. I don’t know. But I could have changed that game.”
Belichick denied the benching was due to disciplinary reasons and reiterated what he told NBC’s Michelle Tafoya at halftime, that he “made decisions that give us the best chance to win.”
The Patriots did not win, though, and the defense play a large role in why Belichick was denied his sixth Lombardi Trophy as a head coach.
The Patriots defense allowed 538 total yards and allowed the Eagles to convert on 10 of 16 third downs and two fourth downs, including a fourth-and-1 at the goal line which resulted in a touchdown for Philadelphia before the half.
Butler played in 97.8 percent of the team’s defensive snaps during the regular season, according to ESPN, which was the most on the team.
Philadelphia Eagles vs. New England Patriots at U.S. Bank Stadium
Still, he was replaced by Eric Rowe as the starter, who did not know he was playing until right before the game, according to NBC Sports Boston.
While Butler struggled at times this season, Rowe did not appear to be much of an improvement, getting beat by Alshon Jeffery on a 34-yard touchdown in the first quarter.
Butler, 27, is an unrestricted free agent this offseason and it is hard to imagine him back in New England next season.