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Bill Belichick had his reasons; and those reasons are starting to emerge.

The decision to bench cornerback Malcolm Butler for Super Bowl LII was a bizarre and highly questionable choice made by the New England Patriots’ head coach, but there was no doubt that something major had to happen to cause this.

Just two days after the Patriots’ Super Bowl LII loss to the Philadelphia Eagles, we’re getting some details on what exactly unfolded the week leading into the championship game. According to NFL Networks’ Ian Rapoport, it was a “perfect storm of issues” and a “complicated matter” that lead to this decision.

From Rapoport:

From what I understand, there are several factors that led Malcolm Butler, one of the team's top defensive players, to not be on the field during the Super Bowl. Among those: He showed up a day later than his teammates because he was sick – remember, he was not at opening night. That was a factor.

I'm also told that during practice this week he really struggled, had a rough week of practice perhaps because of illness but maybe because of other things. That was one thing they had to consider in putting Eric Rowe out there instead of him. And I'm also told there were some other issues, disciplinary issues.

There was a small, a minor violation of team rules that happened earlier in the week; that is one thing. And then there's some attitudes, frustrations as well. All of this combined put Malcolm Butler not on the field with his teammates to win the Super Bowl but on the sidelines, watching.

While at least one defensive stop could have been enough for a Patriots win (and Butler could have helped that), we learned the hard way that no one disobeys Belichick. While we may never know each and every one of the specifics, we now have some clues as to what led to one of the most debatable decisions in recent Belichickian history.

Follow Megan on Twitter: @carnahanmegan

Megan Carnahan 2/06/2018 08:41:00 AM Edit
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