Bill Belichick Asked Again About His Decision To Bench Malcolm Butler

Happy Anniversary to Malcom Butler's goal-line interception in Super Bowl XLIX

According to ESPN, Butler played 97.8 per cent of the Patriots' regular-season snaps on defence. Nick Foles, the Eagles quarterback who was the backup until Carson Wentz tore a knee ligament, threw for 373 yards and three touchdowns en route to Super Bowl MVP honours, while New England frequently had safeties covering the slot position, from which Philadelphia's Nelson Agholor racked up nine catches for 84 yards.

New England coach Bill Belichick told NBC at halftime only that he "made the decision that gives us the best chance to win". "It kind of turned out that way, and the game with the way it went and some of the situations that came up, that was just kind of the way it went", he said.

"He practiced it the most", Belichick said.

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Darlow was preferred in goal to loan signing Martin Dubravka, who was named on the bench. An attack from Kenedy then led to the corner from which they scored the opening goal.

Speaking on a conference call the day after the Patriots blew their chance at a sixth National Football League title with a 41-33 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles, Belichick said "there are a lot of things that go into that". Former Patriot cornerback Brandon Browner ripped the move in an Instagram post after the game, which was subsequently liked by current Patriot Dont'a Hightower. And recently retired Patriot Rob Ninkovich also weighed in, saying "I'd be pretty angry, I guess, because everyone out there on that field is giving everything they got and you want the best players out there with you".

"I respect Malcolm's competitiveness, and I'm sure that he felt like he could have helped", Belichick said Monday.

"It wasn't official until kickoff", Rowe told reporters, revealing he didn't know he was going to start in place of Butler until right before the game. The fact that Butler even dressed for the game, instead of simply being deactivated in favor of someone who would actually play, makes the decision all the more puzzling.

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"A locker room was divided pre game", Browner wrote in a second post. Aside from a hiccup in the first quarter, Philadelphia didn't let the Patriots back into the game.

Matt Patricia provided an X's and O's explanation for Butller's benching. "I don't know what it was".

"No, that wasn't the plan", Rowe said.

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"The guy has played a lot of football, so to not be out there I'm sure crushed him", Patriots safety Devin McCourty said.

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