Why Pepper Johnson Thinks Bill Belichick Benched Malcolm Butler In Super Bowl LII

There’s a fair amount of mystique when it comes to the New England Patriots, and there was no shortage of it this past February in Minneapolis.

Malcolm Butler’s benching in Super Bowl LII remains a mystery. Head coach Bill Belichick characteristically has remained mum on the issue, simply chalking it up as a football decision. Butler, who signed with the Tennessee Titans just over a month after the Patriots fell to the Philadelphia Eagles, consistently has elected to take the high road despite the sour ending to his tenure in New England.

There have been a number of theories attempting to justify Butler riding the pine on football’s biggest stage, and former Patriots coach Pepper Johnson provided the latest one during a Q&A with Deadspin.

“That’s one of those — like, I don’t know — but he had to have done something major that’s a no-no of Bill’s. He either missed a meeting, or, like, breaking curfew or something like that, or he had a girl in his room. I’m here to tell you, because a lot of people are like, ‘Aw, man, to lose the Super Bowl?’ Bill Belichick is not going to lose everything he stands for that guy. If he can tell Randy Moss, Tom Brady, Richard Seymour, Tedy Bruschi, Willie McGinest, Corey Dillon, and none of those guys break the rules, then why should (he) say, ‘This guy broke it, but it’s the Super Bowl’? You’re getting ready to open up a dam.”

Johnson continued: “The same way when you asked me about the press conference with the Jets, where I was between a rock and a hard place, I’m quite sure he felt the same way. Like, ‘We’re just going to have to figure out a way to win this without this dude, but the last thing I’m going to do is break everything that I’ve been doing for so long.’ I don’t know how many other veteran guys he has over there now, but when I was there, those guys wouldn’t have stood for it, either. They would have all been okay with it too — like, once again, Bruschi, and Vince, and Willie McGinest, those guys would have been chastising Butler themselves. Like, ‘How are you going to pick this week to mess it up?’ There’s a lot of other stories, and I’m not going to get into them.”

The fact of the matter is, the true reason for Butler’s benching likely never will be publicized. That said, the rumor mill searching for answers probably never will completely stop either.

Thumbnail photo via Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports

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