By Geoffrey Knox
It’s a mute point now, but it’s a question we may ask forever and may never have an answer to. Would the Eagles have won Super Bowl LII if Patriots cornerback Malcolm Butler played in the game?
Some say it wouldn’t have changed things. Some say the result would have been different. The question has been asked since New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady‘s final ‘Hail Mary’ attempt fell harmlessly to the turf, and it may be asked forever. Would the Philadelphia Eagles have won Super Bowl LII if Patriots cornerback Malcolm Butler would have played?
It’s an interesting debate. Unfortunately, it’s a debate that we’ll never be able to answer. Here’s what we do know. When Eagles quarterback Nick Foles targeted the guys who were playing in his absence, he went 6 of 7 and threw for over 137 yards on third down alone.
So what happened?
Two days after the Super Bowl, some of the circumstances that led to Bill Belichick’s decision to bench Butler at kickoff are starting to come into focus. When you look around the Internet and social media, you find a few stories. If that’s your method of research, you want to find reliable sources, and honestly, they don’t come much more reliable than the NFL’s Ian Rapoport. He describes Butler’s absence as a ‘perfect storm’ of issues and...