Super Bowl 52

Devin McCourty clarifies Malcolm Butler comments

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Devin McCourty clarifies Malcolm Butler comments

Patriots safety Devin McCourty, who said last week that he and his teammates knew Malcolm Butler wouldn't be starting in the Super Bowl, tried to clarify those comments in a SiriusXM radio interview Friday.

So, the players knew Butler wasn't starting, but as far as Butler not playing (he had one special teams appearance) at all? That mystery remains unsolved. 

McCourty stuck with the Patriot Way when asked in the SiriusXM interview if Butler would've helped the defense that surrendered 41 points to the Eagles in the Super Bowl.

"A lot hurt us...we didn't stop anything defensively...we can go down the list of Hall of Famers we could have used," McCourty said. 

Goodell behind lack of reversals in Super Bowl calls?

Goodell behind lack of reversals in Super Bowl calls?

Former NFL head of officiating Mike Pereira, now a rules analyst on FOX's NFL telecasts, said the lack of reversals of key replay calls in the Super Bowl were likely the result of a league effort to not overturn calls after complaints to commissioner Roger Goodell.

Pereira made his comments on the "Talk of Fame" podcast with veteran NFL writer Clark Judge. He said the current head of officiating, Al Riveron, was probably told by the commissioner to not be so quick to overturn calls via replay. He cited the touchdown catch by the Eagles' Corey Clement against the Patriots - where Clement may not have had control of the ball with both feet down as fell out of the end zone - as an example.

“I talk to enough coaches and enough members of the competition committee that they weren’t happy," Pereria said, "and so I think the word trickled to Goodell and Goodell probably sat down with Alberto, who he has a great amount of respect for, and just said, ‘Hey, you’ve got to realize you need to make an adjustment. You’re being too technical.'” 

NBC's Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth had said on the broadcast that the Clement TD might be reversed.    

“[The Clement catch] just wasn’t clear enough," Pereira said. "So I said it would stand...and it did..and I do believe that is the new normal...and probably had been the new normal for the last five weeks or so of the regular season and throughout the playoffs.

“So I wasn’t surprised. But I don’t fault Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth because it’s certainly reasonable to assume, based on the first two-thirds of the season, that they would’ve reversed it.”

The eventual winning TD catch by Eagles tight end Zach Ertz was also reviewed and upheld. Pereira also pointed out, as others have, that on the Eagles' "Philly Special" trick-play TD pass to quarterback Nick Foles, receiver Alshon Jeffery wasn't on the line of scrimmage, making it an illegal formation. 

“I know the league came out and said that it’s a judgment call, which it is,” Pereira said. “The down judge, who was the one [official] that was on his side of the field, they felt that it was his judgment, and [Jeffrey] was close enough. Well, he wasn’t. They lined up wrong."


Tedy Bruschi, Lane Johnson exchange barbs over The Patriot Way

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Tedy Bruschi, Lane Johnson exchange barbs over The Patriot Way

Tedy Bruschi has a word of advice for Lane Johnson: hush.

The former Patriots linebacker and current ESPN analyst told Johnson he should be putting New England in his rear-view mirror after the Eagles tackle criticized The Patriot Way, and called Bill Belichick's Patriots a "fear-based organization."

“This is a sign when people just don’t know how to regularly win football games," Bruschi said on ESPN's "First Take" on Monday. "You talk about the other team and talk about who you beat, you're bringing up other things. What are you talking about? Just celebrate with your teammates. Let me teach you how to celebrate a world championship. Because when you win back-to-back championships, from a guy that's failed trying to do it and also from a guy that's succeeded trying to do it, you need more than planned celebrations, dog masks and trick plays. He will learn that this year when you try to repeat, but you are bringing up the New England Patriots in a time you shouldn’t be.”

Johnson's comments came during an interview on Barstool Sports' podcast "Pardon My Take" when Johnson also called New England's players "[expletive] robots" in their dealings with the media. Johnson said he'd rather have fun winning one championship in Philly instead of winning five with the Patriots, where they don't seem to enjoy themselves.

“Lane Johnson, I don’t know what he’s talking about," Bruschi said on ESPN. "I had a lot of fun. There were so many times that we would speak out in meetings. The entire team meeting would erupt in laughter. We're playing music on the team plane. We had so much fun in the ones that I was there. I cannot understand what he’s saying there.”

Belichick and Eagles coach Doug Pederson, the man who beat Belichick in Super Bowl LII, do have vastly different coaching styles. Pederson's Eagles were open and expansive with the media during the Super Bowl week. The Patriots were not. That, in part, was emblematic of how the organizations operate.

Current Patriots linebacker Marquis Flowers also fired back at Johnson on Twitter.

“If you want a relationship and you want to double-date with your coach, I mean go play with those guys," Bruschi said with a smile. "Go ahead. Unless you want -- if you want to learn how to win games and consistently win games throughout your career, you play for Bill Belichick."

Johnson, who never seems short of words, had a quick response for Bruschi on Twitter. For now, Johnson got the last word.