By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — More than 18 months have passed since the Patriots lost to the Eagles. The Patriots have won another Super Bowl. Tom Brady is defying time. Bill Belichick looks like he can coach forever.
From a football standpoint, all is well in New England.
Yet … still … the “what if?” from that Super Bowl defeat still lingers, as most folks in the region would just like to know WHY IN THE WORLD MALCOLM BUTLER WAS BENCHED FOR THE ENTIRETY OF SUPER BOWL LII BECAUSE IT MADE NO SENSE AND THE TEAM REALLY COULD HAVE USED HIM TO MAKE ONE SINGLE THIRD-DOWN STOP THAT LIKELY WOULD HAVE BEEN THE DIFFERENCE-MAKER IN A BACK-AND-FORTH OFFENSIVE SHOOTOUT WHERE GREAT PLAYS WERE NEEDED.
People are curious. To say the least.
So naturally, when Butler spoke to New England football reporters on Thursday after joint practices between the Titans and Patriots, the mystery benching from Super Bowl LII was brought up. Butler replied with a joke, referencing his lone special teams snap in that game.
Malcolm Butler just joked around a bit about his Super Bowl benching:
“I graded out 99% on my punt return.” pic.twitter.com/hhKyJBaLQk
— Nora Princiotti (@NoraPrinciotti) August 15, 2019
Malcolm Butler on his Super Bowl benching: “No regrets at all. I graded out 99 percent — one punt return rep. It was great.”
— Kevin Duffy (@KevinRDuffy) August 15, 2019
When asked in a follow-up if he ever found out why he didn’t get to play defense in that game, Butler deferred to Bill Belichick.
“Where’s the hoodie at?” Butler asked.
Does Malcolm Butler have any regrets about how his #Patriots career ended?
“No, I graded out 99% on punt return reps that year.”
Does he have any answers about what happened?
“Uh, where the hoodie at?” pic.twitter.com/Ou3dSat5AK
— Andrew Callahan (@_AndrewCallahan) August 15, 2019
All smiles from Malcolm Butler. pic.twitter.com/X9U1u1NFBy
— Zack Cox (@ZackCoxNESN) August 15, 2019
And so, the official word on Butler going from playing 98 percent of the snaps all year to playing 0 percent of the snaps in the Super Bowl remains a collective shrug from all involved parties.
Maybe some day the world will know.
But probably not.
The Patriots continue their preseason on Saturday night in Nashville, and WBZ-TV has you covered from start to finish. Tune in Saturday at 7 p.m. to watch the Patriots take on the Titans, and stay tuned after the game for Patriots Fifth Quarter, with live reaction and press conferences from Bill Belichick and the Patriots.