New England Patriots cornerback Malcom Butler has become a household name in the NFL, but as an undrafted free agent out of West Alabama, it certainly wasn’t always that way when he entered the league.
It’s for that reason that NFL on NBC play-by-play broadcaster Al Michaels’ call of Butler’s Super Bowl XLIX-clinching interception against the Seattle Seahawks was all the more special.
When Butler closed in and made the interception in the end zone in the final moments of the win, without a second thought Michaels identified that it was Butler and made the call that now is remembered fondly in Patriots folklore.
And we now know why he was able to make that call so special.
ForTheWin’s Nina Mandell asked Michaels how he recognized Butler so easily, and he shed a little light on the memorable moment.
“Michaels says there was a simple explanation for how he got that Butler call,” Mandell wrote. “Butler, he points out, was involved in a play only a few plays earlier, so he was already in Michaels? mind.
“Had he not been involved, I might have been able to make the call like I did, I don?t know,” Michaels said. “But the one thing I did know was when they lined up for that play, I really took a quick look at who’s lined up with whom. If Marshawn Lynch had gotten the ball, he would have been easy to identify getting the handoff. But I remember looking at the receivers and trying to match them up in my brain with the defensive backs and I can’t say that I actually thought about Malcolm Butler’s name but I saw where (Tyler) Lockett had lined up, I saw where Darrelle Revis was as the defensive back. And I knew they probably wouldn’t go to him.
“I think he was on (Doug) Baldwin on the left side. So I was looking at the right side and I saw the two guys there. I think I might have ? I can?t say consciously I said to myself ‘this is Butler’ because this is all going by very quickly ? but he was enough of a factor a couple of plays before that I was able to pull that one out quickly.”
Whatever the case was that caused him to pick Butler out so easily, it never ceases to prove to be one of the more impressive Super Bowl calls in recent memory.