As someone who is not a fan of the New England Patriots, I’ve debated for quite a few years about the greatness of Tom Brady and Bill Belichick. After last year’s Super Bowl miracle, it is really hard to win an argument against Brady being the best quarterback of all-time. But after last night, it has become pretty evident that there’s only one GOAT in New England.
Bill Belichick is not the greatest coach of all-time.
Trust me, I know that he has five rings with the Patriots, because that’s the first comment EVERY SINGLE Pats fan makes when you even try to debate the greatness of either Belichick or Brady. Plus, as an actual football fan, I watched all of those Super Bowl wins – and the now three Super Bowl losses – that Belichick earned in New England.
But after the antics he pulled last night, you can never convince me that he’s the best football coach ever.
The best ever NEVER leaves his best defensive player out of the ENTIRE game apparently just to make a statement or punish him or to try to pad his enormous ego.
I don’t care what (if anything) Malcolm Butler did in the last two weeks leading up to the Super Bowl. If he did miss curfew and got found with a little weed – and honestly I can’t be the only one who thinks that this didn’t happen and they are just trying to smear Butler – that’s really so severe that he has to get benched for the whole game? Really?
You’re seriously telling me that if Tom Brady missed a curfew or had a little illegal substance on him that we’d see Brian Hoyer for the ENTIRE Super Bowl? Hell, there’s no chance that Rob Gronkowski hasn’t done something way worse than be late and have a little weed on him (allegedly), and last I checked Gronk has never been disciplined or even missed a series or two.
There have been legit murderers that have played in the NFL. Guys have mercifully beat up their wives and/or other females and still played in this league. You can’t tell me that there wasn’t much worse going on with the Bears or Giants back in the 80s than being a little late and having a little bit of drugs around. And yet we’ve never seen someone get benched for an entire Super Bowl.
Even if the rumors are true, why bench him for the whole game? And why have him dressed, on the sideline, and listed as active? Deactivate him instead if you really want to punish him. It’s not like Philly didn’t notice right away that Butler wasn’t out there… I mean they literally threw almost every ball at Eric Rowe in their first series and forced the Pats to switch their coverage pretty early.
And at least if you deactivate him, the rest of the team knows that he won’t be out there. It sure sounded like there was quite a bit of confusion with Butler’s teammates, as they didn’t even know who was starting or what was going on. The team has been preparing all season for this one moment, and the “best coach ever” shouldn’t just spring a huge, pivotal surprise on the entire defense prior to kickoff.
By doing it the way Belichick did, you didn’t just punish Butler, but you punished your entire team and franchise. Butler’s absence put guys like Rowe, Johnson Bademosi, and Jordan Richards into roles that they either weren’t fully prepared for or couldn’t handle. Those guys got abused and embarrassed throughout the game – and yet the Patriots still had a shot at winning it anyway. The Pats offense had an obscene amount of pressure on them to score on every single possession just to keep up with the Eagles since their defense “couldn’t stop a nosebleed”, and yet until the final two minutes of the game the Pats matched Philly blow for blow offensively. But there’s no way that Tom Brady should throw for 500+ yards, and the offense score 33 points, and still lose that game.
One player may not have made much of a difference, but as we’ve seen three years ago, Malcolm Butler is more than capable of stepping up on the biggest stage to make a game-changing, and career-changing, play. Every player wearing white on the Patriots sideline believed that, but the guy wearing the cut-off hoody decided to bench him instead.
There’s been a crazy idea floating around that Belichick toys with other teams in big games to make it more interesting at the end. The Patriots seem to get behind in almost every playoff game, only to make huge adjustments at halftime en route to miraculous comebacks. Tom Brady has been behind in the 4th quarter in all five of his Super Bowl victories, which just adds to the notion that the Pats just mess around in the first half and then turn it on whenever they need to.
I never really even took this seriously, because it sounds totally outlandish even from Patriots fans – the same fan base who thinks the refs screwed them out of this game – but would it be that crazy to think that Belichick benched Butler for the entire game on purpose just to make him look like an even bigger genius and the best coach ever if the Pats won? Can you just imagine the talk today if the Pats won? The Butler benching wouldn’t really be that big of a story at all. It would be just about Brady winning his sixth title, and Belichick could claim that he could coach up any player and make them champions. All we’d hear is “BRADY IS THE GOAT” and “BILL DOESN’T EVEN NEED HIS BEST DEFENSIVE PLAYER TO WIN BECAUSE HE’S THE BEST” and “DILLY DILLY”. Thank God they didn’t win, because I probably would be in handcuffs rig ht now.
But now that the Pats lost, benching Malcolm Butler for the entire game will never be forgotten, and will always be the asterisk next to Bill Belichick’s name in the list of greatest NFL coaches of all time.
Before I go, I need to touch on the officiating and the insane idea that the Pats lost because of the referees.
YOU LOST BECAUSE YOU GAVE UP 41 POINTS WITH YOUR BEST CORNER DRESSED AND ON THE BENCH.
END OF DISCUSSION.
Go ahead, talk about those three “bad calls” that “gave the Eagles” three touchdowns. I’ll give you the Clement catch as being iffy. I could see a case either way for that one. That should be a catch but because the NFL tries harder to ruin the game than to make it even slightly enjoyable to watch, that could be viewed as incomplete. There’s no one that saw that play live and said “oh no that’s not a catch”, so in my books that should constitute a reception.
The Ertz catch… come on are we really debating that one? He caught the ball, took THREE steps, dove for the end zone, the ball crossed the line in his hands, the ground caused a fumble, and he recovered it. And you’re really going to argue that he didn’t score a touchdown? If Gronk did the exact same thing, would any Patriots fan say it was incomplete?
And the “illegal formation” on the Foles TD catch… that one is priceless. People are actually blaming that one non-call for the entire loss. Do Pats fans even know basic math? It’s 4th and goal from the 1, if the refs make that call (which by the way you could basically call on nearly every passing play), it’s still 4th and goal from the 6, and the Eagles kick the field goal. So instead of seven points they get three. YOU LOST BY EIGHT. A field goal means you lost by 4. YOU STILL LOST.
One penalty for five yards. That’s all that was called against New England. And that’s after one penalty for ten yards against Jacksonville. But yeah keep saying the refs cost you the game.
Maybe by the time we stop hearing about the “blown calls”, we’ll know exactly what caused Malcolm Butler to miss the entire Super Bowl. Though whether or not it will be the truth is another story.
Written by: Adam Belue (@albinomamba44)
I was born and raised in Fall River, MA and I currently write Bruins and tennis blogs for Couch Guy Sports, cover baseball and hockey for CLNS Media, have an internship writing with the New Bedford Bay Sox of the New England Collegiate Baseball League (NECBL), and work in retail. My two loves are the Green Bay Packers and the Bruins.. along with sleeping, napping, watching terrible reality shows, and figuring out new ways to lose at fantasy football.