SBLII: What Did the Butler Do?

ScubaSteveAvery

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This betrays a stunning lack of understanding of why Belichick has been so successful for so long.
Seriously. I'm not sure what is so difficult to understand. Belichick has a system and it is the most successful system in the history of the NFL. This does not make the system perfect or even the best for everyone, but it is undoubtedly the most successful and it is focused on playing a long game that is not reactionary. Part of that system is an adherence to rules that underpin the foundation of the system. If those rules are broken, there are consequences. There is no waiving of the rules. For some people, the ends will always justify the means in waiving of these rules. But this has never been Belichick's way. He asks players to make sacrifices others do not have to make in order to be a part of the most successful system.

This isn't that complicated and even a cursory understanding of Belichick's upbringing would point to why he is this why and where he gets these ideas from.
 

DJnVa

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Except that this is not the business of teaching life lessons and there is no long game.
This betrays a stunning lack of understanding of why Belichick has been so successful for so long.

Exactly. Have you watched BB the last 20 years wiffleballhero? It is about the long game. "One year too early instead of one year too late", etc. Milloy and Seymour likely could have helped the season after they were jettisoned but BB doesn't sacrifice for one season like that.

If you buckle on Butler here, then players are going to see where else he buckles and he simply isn't going to do that.

You can't want all of the good stuff that comes along with his method and get upset when something like this happens. Well, I guess you can, but you shouldn't. It's a package deal.
 

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It occurs to me that Belichick would bench wiffleballhero.
 

RedOctober3829

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Sure, but as has been said, 1 quarter benching may be disciplinary but *if* he did fire back at coaches it could be said that it goes beyond that and they think he simply isn't as prepared as he should be. Not to mention, if BB says it's disciplinary that opens up a ton more questions as well.
Opens up a ton more questions? As opposed to the situation now where a ton of questions are still being raised? If Butler screwed up off the field while in Minneapolis and lost his opportunity to play, I am fine with that. No one is above the team. However, that was not given as the explanation by Belichick. He said it was a football decision and Patricia alluded to packages that didn't include him. 2800 snaps played through 18 games and all of a sudden 0 in the SB. If they come out and said it was disciplinary that is more logical than a "football decision".
 

DJnVa

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I wonder whether, for Belichick, any of this would even be conscious. It might not be. It might just be simple -- you do X, Y happens. And while the combination of experiences and analysis that got him to where he is may have been a calculus, it may just be that some of this stuff is internalized and goes back to his mentors and what he learned when he learned the game.

What I do know is this. If this really was disciplinary, Belichick must be absolutely batshit crazy angry this morning.
That's a good point. By making these types of things as black and white as possible, it allows him to worry about other things.
 

RetractableRoof

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Except that this is not the business of teaching life lessons and there is no long game.

It is a four hour season. That is it. There is no future, there is no past. Damn, we have been hearing this from Belichick for almost 20 years, maybe he could apply that in a meaningful way during, I dunno, the Super Bowl!

Discipline is a means to an end -- winning the Super Bowl. Therefore there is no heuristic value to discipline in this situation since the discipline directly, immediately works against the ultimate goal. And there is more than one way to bring down the hammer here, including summarily running him out of town after the game. But to hold the line on the game really is putting the individual (Belichick's absolute power) over the good of the team.

I am not even convinced yet is was a discipline issue, and Retractable Roofs' point about the lack of viable options if you scratch Butler for illness is a good one -- maybe you are stuck with him, even if you seem him as a flu-zombie.

I just can't get past the point that they were doing nothing effective on D so it simply boggles the mind to not give him some reps simply to see if he can play his position in a way that could contribute.
I disagree here. How many other Coach/Owners have had a 17 year run of excellence in modern times? You don't get that by breaking the rules just for 1 game. You get that by being consistent with whatever the organizational philosophy is. You are right, maybe playing Butler in this game is the higher percentage play - but at what cost to the long term health of the team (or BBs) philosophy?

On some teams, the veteran retains his job when injured. In New England, the best player takes the field - regardless of reputation, contract, tenure, etc. Brady dethroned Bledsoe in great measure due to the opportunity he got and kept after the injury. It is adherence to that organizational philosophy that allows a player like Butler to arrive on the scene and turn his blood, sweat, and tears into the story that is "Go, Malcom, Go". He succeeded because of this team first approach. The fact that he may have turned his back on it, is a shame. As a fan, I want that superbowl win. But if BB or Kraft value the long game and the success it breeds higher than the value that fielding Butler gave them - then I'm on board.

And I'd argue that on any of those Malcom-less 3rd/4th downs - if Harrison or Flowers had gotten to the QB a single time the way the Eagles did late, the Patriots win. So the Superbowl in my opinion came down to 10-12 single plays (made or not made) that could have changed the result to a Pats friendly one. It didn't have to be about Butler - because for all the things we like about him on the field - we don't know if he would have been victimized by his own set of flaws that led to a similar result.
 

Dogman

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Like some of the other posters have mentored, I think BB genuinely likes Butler and taking the bullets himself before the corner goes into free agency.

The leaks we are getting may be from other staffers, who are pissed off at Butler and hate seeing BB get portrayed as making a SB costing mistake.

That's all I got.
This is where I am. BB is taking the bullets by calling it a football decision whereas it is actually a disciplinary decision. BB figures sitting during the Super Bowl is punishment enough for whatever he did so instead of this costing Butler a bunch of cash too, just call it a football decision and hope Butler lands a 2-3 year contract elsewhere.
 

DJnVa

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Opens up a ton more questions? As opposed to the situation now where a ton of questions are still being raised? .
What are you looking for here? Reporters being what they are they're going to dig. But BB saying "coach's decision" puts the onus is on him. Saying "disciplinary" and it's a different type of question that this organization simply doesn't like to get into and could possibly hurt Butler in the offseason.
 

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Opens up a ton more questions? As opposed to the situation now where a ton of questions are still being raised? If Butler screwed up off the field while in Minneapolis and lost his opportunity to play, I am fine with that. No one is above the team. However, that was not given as the explanation by Belichick. He said it was a football decision and Patricia alluded to packages that didn't include him. 2800 snaps played through 18 games and all of a sudden 0 in the SB. If they come out and said it was disciplinary that is more logical than a "football decision".
Do we expect Belichick to give the response that satisfies the fans desire for understanding and closure or to respond in the way he thinks best for team building in the future?

And which do we want him to do?

Different people may have different answers to the latter question. The former I think is pretty clear though.
 

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What are you looking for here? Reporters being what they are they're going to dig. But BB saying "coaches decision" puts the onus is on him. Saying "disciplinary" and it's a different type of questions that this organization simply doesn't like to get into and could possibly hurt Butler in the offseason.
The bolded is a huge piece some people are missing.

There are reasons to take the diplomatic approach. Do we want him to go Lucciano in guys all of a sudden?
 

Hoodie Sleeves

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While we don't know what happened (I'm convinced we will soon enough), I will add that if Butler indeed missed team meetings due to either missing curfew or smoking weed, and doing this after being sick early part of the week with the flu, that's a pretty big deal. And deserving of a benching. Because that's the sign of a player that simply doesn't have his head in the game. Especially if it continued a pattern.
Yes. Very much so.

If everything that is coming out is true (and its probably not) - it paints a hugely negative picture of Butler's maturity.

We know he was in the ER Sunday night.
We know he was back and forth to the hospital Monday and Tuesday, and was too sick to complete practice on Wednesday.

If he was out partying during that time period (or right after), and drinking, and smoking weed, and missing curfew, and being late for team meetings, he's an idiot of colossal proportions.

And if that's true - do you really want to rely on Malcolm Butler - who couldn't be bothered to show up for game plan meetings, and couldn't be bothered to take care of himself?

He's been a poor matchup against big receivers all year - and that's when he's healthy and actually goes to meetings.
 

Carmine Hose

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They were going to be done with Butler at the expiration of the 60 minutes of football last night regardless of whether he was a choir boy this week. He was gone. If Jonathan Jones weren't injured, I assume they would've deactivated him. They kept him for deep injury insurance. That said, when the DB ship was clearly sinking and the "packages" weren't working, you need to try to save the ship.

So the "benching" has a two-fold effect:

* Screwing the team overall (and accepting that Butler causes this with his actions) - no former infractions (which are alluded to) had any effect on his playing time, but in the biggest game they do?
* Screwing Butler as he heads to UFA. I can't recall any former BB era player that he would've tanked his market value like this. Take Browner's opinion for what it's worth, but this likely doesn't endear potential FAs, including UDFAs in competitive bidding situations, to the team (they look at a guy who literally won the franchise a Super Bowl and played consistently, and that's how they do him?).
 

DJnVa

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They were going to be done with Butler at the expiration of the 60 minutes of football last night regardless of whether he was a choir boy this week. He was gone. If Jonathan Jones weren't injured, I assume they would've deactivated him. They kept him for deep injury insurance. That said, when the DB ship was clearly sinking and the "packages" weren't working, you need to try to save the ship.

So the "benching" has a two-fold effect:

* Screwing the team overall (and accepting that Butler causes this with his actions) - no former infractions (which are alluded to) had any effect on his playing time, but in the biggest game they do?
No infractions that we know about. Mike Girardi, who I assume has sources, said in a tweet that there's such a thing as a last straw.
 

DJnVa

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It seems like a lot of folks here love it when BB's statements completely flummox the press but today are upset that they can't get all the info.
 

RedOctober3829

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What are you looking for here? Reporters being what they are they're going to dig. But BB saying "coaches decision" puts the onus is on him. Saying "disciplinary" and it's a different type of questions that this organization simply doesn't like to get into and could possibly hurt Butler in the offseason.
What's the different types of questions that a disciplinary issue raise? To me it's pretty simple. If Butler violated team rules, just say it. What's the big deal? All he has to say is that Butler violated a team rule and we elected not to play him it's end of story. They don't have to get into it any further. No one today is questioning how a Super Bowl game plan could not include a player that played 98% of the team's snaps. How anyone can sit there with a straight face and believe that is beyond me. Belichick is obviously not going to further explain the football decision comments either but it is so unbelievable that no one is going to take him at his word on it.

If Butler screwed up, what does Belichick owe him by keeping things quiet? It would be a self-inflicted wound and he'd have to answer for it during FA and it'd be up to the other teams to decide whether to hold it against him.
 

Jungleland

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This is where I am. BB is taking the bullets by calling it a football decision whereas it is actually a disciplinary decision. BB figures sitting during the Super Bowl is punishment enough for whatever he did so instead of this costing Butler a bunch of cash too, just call it a football decision and hope Butler lands a 2-3 year contract elsewhere.
The more I've read and thought about this today, the more I keep coming back to this as the most logical explanation. Belichick's gruff persona has landed him his reputation of asshole in the public eye, but guys almost universally love playing for him. There is very, very little evidence in his long NFL career to suggest he would bench a guy out of spite.

Scenario a) Malcolm Butler has played more snaps than almost any other corner in the league this year, but he's benched in the Super Bowl for reasons unrelated to something that happened between the AFCG and last night, or

Scenario b) Malcolm Butler broke team rules in a way that warranted benching in Belichick's eyes, but the respect for the player and his future reputation has him publicly taking the blame himself

Which of these is more in line with how this team has been run for the past two decades?
 

Reverend

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What's the different types of questions that a disciplinary issue raise? To me it's pretty simple. If Butler violated team rules, just say it. What's the big deal? All he has to say is that Butler violated a team rule and we elected not to play him it's end of story. They don't have to get into it any further. No one today is questioning how a Super Bowl game plan could not include a player that played 98% of the team's snaps. How anyone can sit there with a straight face and believe that is beyond me. Belichick is obviously not going to further explain the football decision comments either but it is so unbelievable that no one is going to take him at his word on it.

If Butler screwed up, what does Belichick owe him by keeping things quiet? It would be a self-inflicted wound and he'd have to answer for it during FA and it'd be up to the other teams to decide whether to hold it against him.
He doesn’t owe Butler anything. But that’s not the only reason not to discuss what happened publicly.

It might well be that people are so unused to seeing someone act professionally and do the right thing I a public capacity these days that we can no longer identify it when we see it.
 

RedOctober3829

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He doesn’t owe Butler anything. But that’s not the only reason not to discuss what happened publicly.

It might well be that people are so unused to seeing someone act professionally and do the right thing I a public capacity these days that we can no longer identify it when we see it.
I'm not saying he has to say exactly what he did. Just file it under the vast umbrella of violation of team rules and call it a day.
 

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I'm not saying he has to say exactly what he did. Just file it under the vast umbrella of violation of team rules and call it a day.
Maybe there’s a reason Patriot Guys will run through a wall for that man.

He doesn’t do that.
 

RetractableRoof

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They were going to be done with Butler at the expiration of the 60 minutes of football last night regardless of whether he was a choir boy this week. He was gone. If Jonathan Jones weren't injured, I assume they would've deactivated him. They kept him for deep injury insurance. That said, when the DB ship was clearly sinking and the "packages" weren't working, you need to try to save the ship.

So the "benching" has a two-fold effect:

* Screwing the team overall (and accepting that Butler causes this with his actions) - no former infractions (which are alluded to) had any effect on his playing time, but in the biggest game they do?
* Screwing Butler as he heads to UFA. I can't recall any former BB era player that he would've tanked his market value like this. Take Browner's opinion for what it's worth, but this likely doesn't endear potential FAs, including UDFAs in competitive bidding situations, to the team (they look at a guy who literally won the franchise a Super Bowl and played consistently, and that's how they do him?).
Keeping the details out of the press does help Butler's pursuit of Free Agency. He can even lie his teeth off to a prospective GM and say BB had it in for him because "contract" and who's to know different? Potential free agents already know that BB has rules, and one of them is "team first". There is a reason OchoCinco comes here and becomes Mr. Johnson again. It's a recognition that losing in Cincinnati sucks compared to coming to NE and playing with and for a team with superbowl aspirations. That said, NE isn't the only place they can come and win - Chris Long went to the Eagles because he wanted a different role. But players all over the league know that part of what comes with BB rules and approach is a chance to be part of that success. And they also know (or will know) that Butler threw it all away. This will not hurt the Patriots much when it comes to recruiting. It may help them as well.
 

Jungleland

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The info seems to be slowly leaking out even with Belichick's smoke screen. What does he have to gain by saving reporters their first 5 minutes of investigation? Someone said it in another thread, but when the team wins, it was the players, and when the team loses, it was the coaching. Not characteristic of BB to throw a player under the bus.

Does anyone remember how the Welker benching was explained after? We know it was for the foot conference, but did Belichick acknowledge that?
 
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If Butler got benched as the result of some hard line in the sand discipline then playing him 1 snap on special teams makes no sense.

People here seem very quick to believe rumors about Butler screwing up and supporting that view with other stuff from the spring that was never substianted (Jeeze guys he's single wink wink) seems like bullshit if you ask me.
 

NortheasternPJ

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The info seems to be slowly leaking out even with Belichick's smoke screen. What does he have to gain by saving reporters their first 5 minutes of investigation? Someone said it in another thread, but when the team wins, it was the players, and when the team loses, it was the coaching. Not characteristic of BB to throw a player under the bus.

Does anyone remember how the Welker benching was explained after? We know it was for the foot conference, but did Belichick acknowledge that?
He gains by never taking about anything. If you never talk about anything, then everything is normal. Once he denies a story or comments on anything else than a future non-denial is an admission of guilt. We went through this after the Mona Lisa Davito press conference.
 

Pandemonium67

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Calling it a team rules violation would incite more speculation, not quell it. I've come around to the viewpoint that BB is doing the right thing, and maybe doing MB a solid, by zipping his lips.
 

RedOctober3829

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Maybe there’s a reason Patriot Guys will run through a wall for that man.

He doesn’t do that.
Love you Rev and you know I am a In Bill We Trust guy through and through. But this situation doesn't add up.

If what you're saying is true and it was a true football decision I think they threw him under the bus for free agency with the explanation they gave for him not playing. If I take him at his word and it was actually a football decision don't you think teams will ask him why he wasn't good enough to play in the Super Bowl over Johnson Bademosi and Eric Rowe?
 

Reardons Beard

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Aren't there clauses or bonus stipulations about snaps played in certain games? So for example, does Butler get a bonus for appearing in the Superbowl for playing one snap vs. not playing any? I thought it was if you are on the roster, etc but not really up to speed on all that contract details for players.
 

Byrdbrain

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If Butler got benched is the result of some hard line in the sand discipline then playing him 1 snap on special teams makes no sense.

People here seem very quick to believe rumors about Butler screwing up and supporting that view with other stuff from the spring that was never substianted (Jeeze guys he's single wink wink) seems like bullshit if you ask me.
Because the current party line makes no sense, there has to be something more to the story. I have no idea what Butler did but there is no doubt in my mind that he did something and that BB didn't decide in the past two weeks that Butler couldn't play football.

I don't know why he played that one snap in punt return but that doesn't change my thinking one bit.
 

Jungleland

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Giardi's insistence that Butler was only dressed as emergency corner would (if true) seem to leave the door open for the illness being the explanation. I don't think the single special teams snap really refutes that, either.

I have an easier time explaining why discipline would be the truth and left unsaid, though, unless we're taking "football reasons" as a hard nosed response with no room for "our second best corner was sick" excuses.
 

pedroia'sboys

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If Butler got benched is the result of some hard line in the sand discipline then playing him 1 snap on special teams makes no sense.

People here seem very quick to believe rumors about Butler screwing up and supporting that view with other stuff from the spring that was never substianted (Jeeze guys he's single wink wink) seems like bullshit if you ask me.
Yes because the alternative is a player who played 90% of the team's snaps through 18 weeks played one snap on special teams because of performance. Not only did he not start he wasn't even the 3 CB. The player taking his spot was lucky to be active most weeks. Butler being late screwing up is 1000× more believable.

Nevermind the fact we all know Butler was unhappy with his contract all year.
 

DJnVa

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Love you Rev and you know I am a In Bill We Trust guy through and through. But this situation doesn't add up.

If what you're saying is true and it was a true football decision I think they threw him under the bus for free agency with the explanation they gave for him not playing. If I take him at his word and it was actually a football decision don't you think teams will ask him why he wasn't good enough to play in the Super Bowl over Johnson Bademosi and Eric Rowe?
They can look at tape and make their own decisions. Teams disagree on player value all the time.

Or they can say "Your coach benched you for an entire Super Bowl for what was termed a violation of team rules. Tell us why we should give $25 million in guaranteed money to someone that couldn't follow the rules in the lead up to the Super Bowl."
 

Reverend

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Love you Rev and you know I am a In Bill We Trust guy through and through. But this situation doesn't add up.

If what you're saying is true and it was a true football decision I think they threw him under the bus for free agency with the explanation they gave for him not playing. If I take him at his word and it was actually a football decision don't you think teams will ask him why he wasn't good enough to play in the Super Bowl over Johnson Bademosi and Eric Rowe?
Except we don’t know what the “real” explanation is and if it would do any damage.

Bill said the minimal amount. It may well be that this is not an optimal play. But we definitely do NOT have enough data to reject the possibility that it IS optimal—so it’s still in play.

I’m not willing to conjecture that what he said is worse for Butler than the truth. You mentioned umbrella terms; I agree, I just see “football reasons” as the largest, most inclusive umbrella term and I think his approach is intentionally vague.

Bill could make his life a lot easier with the press and everyone if he was straight with us. But I dunno if that would make his life easier with the team.

Keep in mind, his priority one now is building the team and it’s culture for next season—and he’s already five weeks behind!

Edit: love you too—snoochie boochies.
 

HomeBrew1901

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What's the different types of questions that a disciplinary issue raise? To me it's pretty simple. If Butler violated team rules, just say it. What's the big deal? All he has to say is that Butler violated a team rule and we elected not to play him it's end of story. They don't have to get into it any further. No one today is questioning how a Super Bowl game plan could not include a player that played 98% of the team's snaps. How anyone can sit there with a straight face and believe that is beyond me. Belichick is obviously not going to further explain the football decision comments either but it is so unbelievable that no one is going to take him at his word on it.

If Butler screwed up, what does Belichick owe him by keeping things quiet? It would be a self-inflicted wound and he'd have to answer for it during FA and it'd be up to the other teams to decide whether to hold it against him.
I've always believed in Belichick, but along with all these questions, why tell them 5 or 10 minutes before the game and allow Butler to play on special teams?
 

lexrageorge

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I'll say this, there are a number of free agents now and in the future that might 'take a pass' on finding out.
Oh please. That's absurd.

Free agents care about themselves far more than they care about whether Malcolm Butler was benched in the Super Bowl after missing team meetings. Money talks above all.
 

HomeBrew1901

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Oh please. That's absurd.

Free agents care about themselves far more than they care about whether Malcolm Butler was benched in the Super Bowl after missing team meetings. Money talks above all.
Yes they do care about themselves and depending on the reason why Butler was kind of benched but not really, maybe they decide they don't want to sit on the sidelines during the Super Bowl under Belichick if they can get the same money from the Eagles or Steelers or other teams that could make the Super Bowl next year.

Edit: At the same time on my list of concerns (?) about the handling of Butler, what free agents might do doesn't even rank
 

Reverend

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What iteration of the Belichick is Arrogant/Losing-or-Lost the Players narrative are we on at this point?

Do people still get surprised at “plot twists” during soap operas and children’s cartoons too? Do people just have no historical memory anymore?
 

NortheasternPJ

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I'll say this, there are a number of free agents now and in the future that might 'take a pass' on finding out.
Free agents care about one of two things (or two of two things which rarely works out)

1) Winning
2) Getting Paid

if it's the first one, then no one will give one shit about Butler and if anything it makes the case for the Pats even stronger. If it's 2 (but not 1) then f' them and they'd be a problem anyways.
 

lexrageorge

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Yes they do care about themselves and depending on the reason why Butler was kind of benched but not really maybe they decide they don't want to sit on the sidelines during the Super Bowl under Belichick if they can get the same money from the Eagles or Steelers or other teams that could make the Super Bowl next year.
It's happened to one player in one Super Bowl. One that was either sick/recovering from the flu, or was missing team meetings, which really is a huge, huge deal in the NFL when it happens in the week of the Super Bowl.
 

HomeBrew1901

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It's happened to one player in one Super Bowl. One that was either sick/recovering from the flu, or was missing team meetings, which really is a huge, huge deal in the NFL when it happens in the week of the Super Bowl.
Tiquan Underwood

Granted I don't even remember the guy and wouldn't have if he hadn't been brought up. Regardless, it was a really bad look at this point when no one gave him or the rest of the team notice until right before kick off by all reports.

Again though, I'm discussing this as a point and it doesn't really matter to me in the long run
 

Reverend

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Lemme try a different perspective:

Would it be appropriate for Belichick to explain all this stuff in the press before he gets a good chance to manage his players, staff? And all the organizational personalities?

Tito was a master of letting himself be the focal point to protect the players and even taunted the press about r after 2004. And we revere him for it.

Until more information comes out, I’m holding out for at least the possibility that B.B. is, S is common to him, trying to deal with this like a grown up and we’re just not used to seeing that these days. Certainly not in the NFL.