Super Bowl 52

Devin McCourty debunks Malcolm Butler Super Bowl benching narrative

Devin McCourty debunks Malcolm Butler Super Bowl benching narrative

What would Super Bowl week be without mention of Malcolm Butler?

The undrafted cornerback famously helped the New England Patriots win Super Bowl XLIX with a goal-line interception. Three years later, Bill Belichick relegated Butler to the bench in New England's Super Bowl LII loss to the Philadelphia Eagles, a decision that remains one of the great mysteries of the Patriots' modern dynasty.

We still don't know why Belichick didn't play Butler in that game. But veteran safety Devin McCourty attempted to clear up the debate of when Butler was benched during an interview Friday with 98.5 The Sports Hub's "Toucher & Rich."

LIVE stream the Celtics all season and get the latest news and analysis on all of your teams from NBC Sports Boston by downloading the My Teams App.

"I hated when all of this came out," McCourty said from Radio Row in Miami, "because everybody was like, ‘They found out a day before or in the locker room.’

"Nah, everyone knew that (Butler wasn't going to play) going into the game. That wasn’t the way we practiced."

When asked point-blank when he knew Butler wasn't going to play, McCourty responded, "The whole Bowl prep."

"For anybody that’s been in the New England area, do they really think we took the field and didn’t prepare like that wasn’t already the plan?" McCourty added.

In fact, many people did think Butler's benching was a last-minute development --- considering teammate Eric Rowe told reporters "that wasn't the plan" and Butler himself said he wasn't given a reason why he didn't play.

McCourty told NBC Sports Boston's Phil Perry right after the game -- a 41-33 Patriots loss in which Nick Foles threw for 373 yards and three touchdowns -- the Patriots knew going in that Butler wouldn't play.

McCourty walked back those comments a few weeks later, saying he and his teammates knew Butler wasn't going to start but didn't know he wouldn't play.

Based on what McCourty said Friday, though, his initial remarks were accurate: He and his teammates were aware the entire week that Butler wouldn't be a major factor.

Case closed -- unless Belichick decides to finally enlighten us on the whole matter. (Don't hold your breath.)

Click here to listen and subscribe to Tom Curran's Patriots Talk Podcast: 

Patriots Talk Podcast: Reuben Frank on how SB52 changed expectations in Philly; Patriots edge over Eagles

Patriots Talk Podcast: Reuben Frank on how SB52 changed expectations in Philly; Patriots edge over Eagles

More Patriots-Eagles matchup talk ahead of the Super Bowl 52 rematch Sunday in Philly, plus NBC Sports Philly's Reuben Frank joins Tom E. Curran and Phil Perry to talk about lasting impact the Eagles' Super victory had on the franchise.

2:30 - Phil Perry and Tom Curran break down the Eagles offensive advantages over the Patriots, including their success in two-tight end sets. Should Stephon Gilmore shadow Zach Ertz to try and lock him down?

10:50 - The Eagles offensive line has been one of the best in the league this year and could allow Philly's run game to break out vs. the Patriots.

14:53 - Tom argues that the Patriots' biggest advantage over the Eagles is their top-ranked secondary.

18:22 - Phil explains how the Patriots hurry-up offense could be used to tire out the Eagles' strong pass rush.

22:26 - Reuben Frank from NBC Sports Philadelphia joins Tom and Phil to talk about the Eagles Super Bowl 52 win over the Patriots, the expectations that win put on the city, and just how bad the Eagles wide receiver corps is this season.

37:40 - Tom caught up with Ben Watson to get his take on the workout being held for Colin Kaepernick.

LISTEN AND SUBSCRIBE HERE:


 

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Celtics easily on your device.

Patriots Talk Podcast: Chris Long on SB52, Philly-NE differences, Kaepernick, retirement and more

Patriots Talk Podcast: Chris Long on SB52, Philly-NE differences, Kaepernick, retirement and more

Chris Long has a unique perspective on Patriots-Eagles, having been with both teams on their Super Bowl title runs. He joins Tom E. Curran for a wide-ranging discussion.

1:04 - Long, the former Rams, Patriots and Eagles defensive end, joins Curran to discuss life after retirement. 

5:19 - Chris talks about his media company, Chalk Media, and what type of content he hopes to create and who he hopes to reach.

12:26 - With the NFL announcing the league will be holding an open tryout for Colin Kaepernick, Chris gives his take on the situation and whether or not he thinks the former 49ers quarterback can still play.

19:57 - How do athletes deal with social anxiety? Chris talks about how fans' interactions make him feel as he tries to live his life post-NFL.

24:31 - Chris and Tom talk about the differences between the two championship teams he was on - the 2016 Patriots and 2017 Eagles - and how “fun” played into each team’s season.

29:42 - A lot has changed for the Patriots and Eagles since Super Bowl LII. Chris talks about the track each team has been on since that game and how he sees their Week 11 matchup going.

38:41 - As a Knicks fan, Chris feels like he needs a side NBA team to watch. He was given the Celtics and he couldn’t be more excited to cheer for them this season.

LISTEN AND SUBSCRIBE HERE:

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Celtics easily on your device.