Butler, the hero from Super Bowl XLIX, played on special teams but did not play a snap on defense in Super Bowl LII.
What a difference three years makes.
Patriots cornerback Malcolm Butler, who made the game-winning interception to seal New England's win over the Seahawks in Super Bowl XLIX, did not play a snap on defense during the Patriots' 41-33 loss to the Eagles in Super Bowl LII.
Patriots coach Bill Belichick said Butler's benching was a coach's decision which he felt gave his team the best chance to win. Before the game, cameras showed Butler holding back tears during Pink's rendition of the national anthem.
After the game, ESPN's Mike Reiss spoke with Butler, and the 27-year-old had some pretty strong words when asked why he didn't appear on defense.
"They gave up on me," Butler said, per Reiss. "F---. It is what it is."
After the game, Butler said he couldn't understand why the Patriots didn't trust him enough to put him in the game. "I could have changed that game," he said.
Butler played more than 97% of the Patriots' snaps during the regular season, more than any other defender on the roster.
Butler signed a one-year deal with the Patriots before the season and is set to become a free agent. Stephon Gilmore, Eric Rowe and Johnson Bademosi got most of the reps at cornerback as New England's offense struggled mightily to stop Nick Foles and the Eagles' offense. The Eagles appeared to target Rowe, who was Butler's direct replacement.
New England gave up the most points (41) and yards (538) in any playoff game in Belichick's tenure, and the 33 points the Patriots scored were the most in Super Bowl history by a losing team.