Ever since the New England Patriots’ loss in Super Bowl LII, Bill Belichick has taken all the heat for the controversial decision to bench Malcolm Butler.
But the Pats head coach reportedly didn’t make the decision alone. In fact, he might not have been the one to come up with it in the first place.
Boston Sports Journal’s Greg Bedard published a piece Monday, reacting to comments made by Belichick and Robert Kraft at this week’s NFL Annual Meeting. And while commenting on Kraft’s vague admission of a postseason meeting between he, Belichick and Tom Brady, Bedard offered the following:
“Now, I’m not going to launch into conspiracy theories and start yelling things like, ‘See, everything isn’t over yet because Kraft would have said if they were!’ ” Bedard wrote.
“No, just like second-guessing the Butler decision — until I hear otherwise, I’m going to believe Belichick had his reasons, which stemmed from Butler’s unfocused play during the season, and I’ve heard from a source the Butler decision emanated from another strong defensive voice and Belichick merely consented — I’m not going to go overboard parsing people’s words. Especially those of Kraft, who can sometimes go off on tangents and not finish his first and intended thought.
“But it would be quite simple for Kraft and/or Belichick to signal that everyone was on the same page after a trying season. That hasn’t happened.”
Now, Bedard didn’t specify whether that “strong defensive voice” referred to a Patriots player or coach. But considering how aggressively Patriots players have defended Butler since his benching, it seems more likely that Belichick “consented” to the wishes of a coach/staff member.
Still, we don’t know. And if nothing else, it appears people have been too quick to cast Belichick on an island and excoriate him, and him alone.
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