One of the biggest stories coming out of the Philadelphia Eagles' Super Bowl 52 win over the New England Patriots was the benching of Malcolm Butler. Butler, a former Super Bowl hero himself, had played 1,174 of the Patriots' 1,197 defensive snaps through the AFC Championship Game (98.1 percent), per Pro Football Focus, but he did not step on the field on defense even once during the Super Bowl.
More than two months later, we still have not really gotten a definitive explanation for what happened. We're not alone. Another Patriots playoff hero, Danny Amendola, apparently asked why Butler was benched for the game, and he didn't get any answers, either.
"I have my thoughts about it because I was out there putting my blood, sweat and tears out on the field that night, and one of our best players wasn't on the field," Amendola said, per ESPN.com. "To tell you the truth, I don't know why. I did ask, but I didn't get any answers. I can't make decisions like that, so I don't necessarily worry about it, but I know Malcolm is a great player and he could have helped us win. For whatever reason, he wasn't out there. He's going to play more football in his career, and he's going to be a great player for a long time."
Amendola also still feels like the decision to bench Butler had an effect on the players who actually took the field.
"Yeah, I did, honestly," Amendola said. "Nobody really got an explanation for it. He's a brother of ours. He was a brother of ours that year. And I hate to see a guy who worked so hard throughout the season not get a chance to play in the biggest game of the year and really get no explanation for it. With that said, I don't know how the business aspect went into that decision. I don't know how the personal aspect went into that decision between him and Bill (Belichick). But as a friend, I would have loved to see him on the field that day."
Amendola and Butler are both now with different teams. Amendola signed with the Dolphins this offseason, while Butler got a huge payday from the Titans. Who knows how things might have been different had Butler actually played in the Super Bowl. It's entirely possible that the Pats would be two-time defending champs, and both players would still be in New England.