Reports are suggesting that Malcolm Butler's benching in Super Bowl LII was partially related to violation of the Patriots' team curfew. Apparently, Bill Belichick takes curfew very seriously - and some of Butler's teammates don't necessarily blame Belichick for his decision.
That's according to NBC Sports Boston's Mike Giardi, who called in to 98.5 The Sports Hub's Toucher & Rich on Tuesday to talk about the Patriots' Super Bowl loss and Belichick's controversial decision to sit Butler for all but one special teams snap. Giardi confirmed via sources that Butler violated team curfew during the week and "was not vintage Malcolm" during practice. He corroborated a report from the NFL Network's Ian Rapoport that a "perfect storm of issues" ultimately led Belichick to bench Butler in the Super Bowl.
Giardi also talked to Dan Koppen about the Patriots' team rules on Monday Night Patriots, including curfew - which is a big one for Belichick. "You don't mess with that, and everybody knew it," said Giardi, referring to his conversation with Koppen.
And because of that, Giardi gets the sense that some Patriots players were angry that Butler violated curfew, when they adhered to it like Belichick expected of them.
"I think there is some [disappointment toward Butler]," said Giardi. "They feel bad for him, but yet [they would tell him] 'You put yourself in this position, too.'"
Giardi added that Butler is "kind of a lone wolf" in that he's not as close with the rest of the Patriots secondary as the rest of the group, and that he was the only Patriots player who violated curfew during the week.
The reports on Butler violating team curfew contradict Belichick's comment that Butler's absence wasn't disciplinary in nature. And even if it was, then it doesn't explain why Belichick dressed Butler for the game in the first place. And if Belichick insists that it was strictly a football matter, that doesn't explain why Butler remained on the bench as Nick Foles and the Eagles repeatedly torched his replacements.
Listen to the full interview with Mike Giardi above!