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Malcolm Butler

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Malcolm Butler
refer to caption
Butler with the New England Patriots in 2015
Tennessee Titans
Position: Cornerback
Personal information
Born: (1990-03-02) March 2, 1990 (age 28)
Vicksburg, Mississippi
Height: 5 ft 11 in (1.80 m)
Weight: 190 lb (86 kg)
Career information
High school: Vicksburg (MS)
College: West Alabama
Undrafted: 2014
Career history
Roster status: Active
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics as of Week 17, 2017
Total tackles: 205
Interceptions: 8
Pass deflections: 47
Forced fumbles: 4
Quarterback sacks: 2.0
Player stats at

Malcolm Terel Butler (born March 2, 1990) is an American football cornerback for the Tennessee Titans of the National Football League (NFL). He entered the league in 2014, signing as an undrafted free agent with the New England Patriots. Butler played collegiate football at the University of West Alabama. During his senior year in 2013, Butler broke up 18 passes and had two interceptions and was named first team All-Gulf South Conference at cornerback.

Butler is responsible for one of the most famous plays in Super Bowl history.[1] With 20 seconds left in Super Bowl XLIX, Butler intercepted a pass at the goal line, preventing a go-ahead touchdown by the Seattle Seahawks, and put the Patriots in position to win the Super Bowl.[2] Butler was also on the Patriots team that won Super Bowl LI over the Atlanta Falcons.

Early years

Butler was born in Vicksburg, Mississippi, and has four siblings.[3] He graduated from Vicksburg High School in 2009. As a senior, he averaged five tackles per game. Despite only playing football in his freshman and senior years at Vicksburg, Butler earned a scholarship to Hinds Community College in Raymond, Mississippi.[4] Butler also participated in track & field at Vicksburg, where he competed in sprints and jumps. He had personal-bests of 12.07 seconds in the 100-meter dash, 1.83 meters (6'0") in the high jump, and 6.92 meters (22'8.5") in the long jump.[5]

College career

In his 2009 freshman year at Hinds Community College, Butler recorded 22 tackles and one interception, but was kicked off the team after the fifth game of the season.[4] He transferred to Alcorn State University[6] before being invited back to Hinds Community College in 2011,[4] and as a sophomore recorded 43 tackles, three interceptions, and 12 broken-up passes.

In 2012, Butler enrolled at the University of West Alabama, majoring in physical education.[3] He started all 12 games that fall for the Division II Tigers. He finished the 2012 season with 49 tackles, 43 solo, five interceptions (including three in one game against West Georgia), and averaged a team-leading 29.8 yards per kickoff return. In 2013, Bulter was named a Beyond Sports Network All-American after recording 45 tackles, two interceptions, and one blocked field goal, and averaging 27.9 yards on kickoff returns during the season. He played in the 2014 Medal of Honor Bowl, a postseason all-star game, registering a solo tackle and an interception.[7][8]

Professional career

Pre-draft measurables
Ht Wt 40-yard dash 10-yd split 20-yd split 20-ss 3-cone Vert jump Broad BP
5 ft 9 34 in
(1.77 m)
187 lb
(85 kg)
4.62 s 1.62 s 2.75 s 4.27 s 7.20 s 33 in
(0.84 m)
9 ft 10 in
(3.00 m)
13 reps
All values are from West Alabama's Pro Day[9]

New England Patriots


On May 19, 2014, Butler signed with the New England Patriots after going undrafted in the 2014 NFL Draft.[10] In his rookie season, Butler appeared in 11 games with one start, recording 15 tackles and three passes defended.[11] He made his first start at cornerback against the Miami Dolphins on December 14, finishing with two tackles after beginning the season as the fifth string cornerback on the Patriots depth chart.[12]

Super Bowl XLIX

Butler was listed as the fifth cornerback on the Patriots depth chart coming into the Super Bowl.[13] In the third quarter, Butler replaced a struggling Kyle Arrington at the nickelback position.[13] With under a minute left in the fourth quarter, Butler was matched up with wide receiver Jermaine Kearse. Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson threw a 33-yard sideline pass to Kearse that Butler deflected. As Kearse fell to the ground, the tipped pass landed on him, he juggled it and eventually retained possession.[14] Kearse's catch was widely reported as one of the greatest in Super Bowl history.[15][16][17] After recognizing that Kearse had made the catch and was not down by contact, Butler pushed him out of bounds at the five-yard line.[14]

Two plays later, with 20 seconds remaining and the Seahawks in position to score on the Patriots' one-yard line, Butler intercepted an attempted pass to wide receiver Ricardo Lockette at the goal line, returning possession to the Patriots and maintaining their 28–24 lead.[2] Butler said that he had guessed correctly that Wilson would throw to Lockette, having read the Seahawks two receiver stack formation. "From preparation, I remembered the formation they were in ... I just beat him to the route and made the play."[18] Butler gave credit to Patriots defensive coordinator Matt Patricia for preparing players well for the game.[19][20] The interception was the first of Butler's NFL career.[21] It was the only interception of a pass attempt from the one-yard line during the 2014 NFL season, out of 109 such attempts.[22]

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, who received a 2015 Chevrolet Colorado as part of his Super Bowl XLIX MVP Award, said he planned to give the truck to Butler.[23][24] At the request of Brady, Chevrolet awarded the truck directly to Butler.[25]


Following the departures of Darrelle Revis, Brandon Browner, and Kyle Arrington, Butler was promoted to a starting cornerback position at the start of the 2015 season. During Week 2, against the Buffalo Bills, Butler caught his first regular-season interception and returned it to the Bills 30-yard line.[26] On November 15, Butler was matched up against New York Giants' Odell Beckham Jr., who made four catches for 104 yards and a touchdown on twelve targets.[27] Butler made a strip of Beckham in the end zone when it looked like Beckham had secured possession of the football for a touchdown. The touchdown, which would have given the Giants a 30–24 lead with 1:45 to play, was nullified by the officials and helped the Patriots hold the Giants to a field goal, after which Stephen Gostkowski kicked a 54-yard field goal for the Patriots to win with 1 second remaining. The next week, Butler held Buffalo Bills wide receiver Sammy Watkins to 39 yards on three catches.[28] Overall, Butler led all Patriots in total snaps, and was the only Patriot defensive player to play more than 90 percent of defensive snaps in 2015.[29] As a result of his high snap count and low salary, Butler received a performance-based pay bonus of $319,282.65, the highest of any Patriot in 2015 and the fifth-highest in the league.[30]

On December 22, 2015, Butler was named to the 2016 Pro Bowl.[31]


In the season opener against the Arizona Cardinals on September 11, Butler broke up a potential touchdown pass to Michael Floyd in the fourth quarter.[32] In Week 7, against the Pittsburgh Steelers, he notched his first interception, picking off a pass from backup quarterback Landry Jones intended for wide receiver Antonio Brown.[33] In Week 11, against the San Francisco 49ers, Butler recorded his first career NFL sack against Colin Kaepernick.[34] In Week 13, against the Los Angeles Rams, Butler intercepted rookie quarterback Jared Goff for his second interception of the season.[35] Against the New York Jets in Week 16 on Christmas Eve, Butler had the first multi-interception game of his career: he picked off both Bryce Petty and Ryan Fitzpatrick and also recovered a fumble. Butler was named second-team All-Pro by Pro Football Focus and the Associated Press.[36][37] On February 5, 2017, Butler won his second Super Bowl championship as the Patriots defeated the Atlanta Falcons in overtime by a score of 34–28 in Super Bowl LI. In the game, Butler had two total tackles.[38]

Butler was ranked 99th on the NFL Top 100 Players of 2017.[39]


Set to be a restricted free agent, the Patriots gave Butler a first-round tender worth $3.91 million on March 7, 2017.[40] On April 18, 2017, Butler officially signed his tender with the Patriots.[41]

After the Patriots signed former Bills' cornerback Stephon Gilmore to a five-year $65 million contract, Butler was demoted to the No. 2 starting cornerback after sitting atop the depth chart the previous two seasons. He started 15 games, recording 60 tackles, 12 passes defensed, two interceptions, and three forced fumbles.

On January 21, 2018, the Patriots won the AFC Championship game to advance to the Super Bowl for the third time in Butler's career.[42] Butler and the Patriots lost Super Bowl LII to the Philadelphia Eagles, 33–41. Butler did not play any defensive snaps in the game, only coming in for a single play on special teams.[43]

After the game, Patriots head coach Bill Belichick said his lack of playing time was a "coach's decision," not due to disciplinary issues.[44] When asked about the benching, Butler stated "I don't know what it was. I guess I wasn't playing good [sic] or they didn't feel comfortable. I don't know. But I could have changed that game."[45] By the following morning, reports claimed that Belichick acknowledged a "much longer discussion" could occur regarding Butler's absence on defense from the game.[46] Patriots beat writer Kevin Duffy revealed that Butler was demoted in practice during the Wild Card round of the playoffs, during which the Patriots had a bye week. Later in the week, Butler would release a statement regarding his benching for the game.[47][48] It was also revealed that owner Robert Kraft was not informed ahead of time regarding Butler being benched.[49]

Tennessee Titans

On March 15, 2018, Butler signed a five-year, $61 million contract with the Tennessee Titans, with $30 million guaranteed.[50][51][52]


In February 2017, The Hollywood Reporter published an article stating that the production company Narrative Capital had acquired the rights to the story of Butler and his agent Derek Simpson for a film tentatively titled The Secondary.[53]

Career statistics

Team won the Super Bowl
Bold Career high
Year Team Games Tackles Interceptions
GP GS Comb Total Ast Sck PD Int Yds Avg Lng TD
2014 NE 11 1 15 14 1 0.0 3 1 1 0.0 0 0
2015 NE 16 16 67 56 11 0.0 15 2 9 4.5 9 0
2016 NE 16 16 63 48 15 1.0 17 4 28 7.0 21 0
2017 NE 16 15 60 55 5 1.0 12 2 −1 −.5 1 0
Career 59 48 205 173 32 2.0 47 8 36 4.5 21 0


  1. ^ "The most impactful plays in Super Bowl history". 
  2. ^ a b "Butler's late INT lifts Patriots to fourth Super Bowl title". 
  3. ^ a b "Biography". Archived from the original on 2015-02-02. 
  4. ^ a b c "Intangibles have helped Patriots' Malcolm Butler write his rags-to-riches story". The Providence Journal. August 20, 2014. Retrieved September 1, 2014. 
  5. ^ "Malcolm Butler - Stats". 
  6. ^ "Hometown eager to celebrate Super Bowl hero Malcolm Butler". Associated Press. February 20, 2015. Retrieved February 20, 2015. 
  7. ^ "Scoring Summary (Final)" (PDF). January 11, 2014. Retrieved January 16, 2018. 
  8. ^ "Former MOH Bowl Player Quotes". Retrieved January 16, 2018. 
  9. ^ "Malcolm Butler, DS #89 CB, West Alabama". Retrieved February 6, 2018. 
  10. ^ "Rookies Butler and McCuller join Patriots". ESPN. May 19, 2014. Retrieved September 1, 2014. 
  11. ^ "Malcolm Butler 2014 Game Log". Retrieved 2017-12-29. 
  12. ^ "Biography". Archived from the original on 2015-02-02. 
  13. ^ a b Haugh, David. "Unlikely Super Bowl stars provide a lesson about player evaluation". 
  14. ^ a b Reiss, Mike (2 February 2015). "Little-known Malcolm Butler an unlikely hero for Patriots". ESPN. Retrieved 2 February 2015. 
  15. ^ "Super Bowl 2015: Unlikeable New England Patriots, Seattle Seahawks combine to put on a classic". 
  16. ^ "Inside the play that sealed the New England Patriots' Super Bowl win". 2 February 2015. 
  17. ^ "Who stole Seattle's Super Bowl? Butler did it". 
  18. ^ BRITTON, TIM. "Unlikeliest hero: Malcolm Butler seals the deal with late interception". 
  19. ^ Young, Shalise Manza (2 February 2015). "Patriots rally to beat Seahawks in Super Bowl". Boston Globe. Retrieved 2 February 2015. 
  20. ^ Volin, Ben (2 February 2015). "Patriots' defense writes alternate ending for Super Bowl". Boston Globe. Retrieved 2 February 2015. 
  21. ^ "Patriots vs. Seahawks - Game Recap - February 1, 2015 - ESPN". 
  22. ^ "Inside Seattle's decision to pass from the 1". 
  23. ^ Schechter, Lee (February 3, 2015). "Brady to give MVP truck to Butler". ESPN. 
  24. ^ Tom Brady interview
  25. ^ Breech, John (February 6, 2015). "Chevy giving Tom Brady's MVP truck directly to Malcolm Butler". CBS. 
  26. ^ "LOOK: Butler does it again, snags diving INT in Bills' Super Bowl". 
  27. ^ "Malcolm Butler rises up in challenge against Odell Beckham Jr". 
  28. ^ "Buffalo Bills at New England Patriots - November 23rd, 2015". Retrieved 2017-12-29. 
  29. ^ "FOOTBALL OUTSIDERS: Innovative Statistics, Intelligent Analysis | NFL SNAP COUNTS". Retrieved 2016-02-05. 
  30. ^ "Malcolm Butler nets over $319K in performance-based pay for his work in 2015". It Is What It Is. Retrieved 2016-03-16. 
  31. ^ "2016 Pro Bowl roster". Retrieved 2017-11-05. 
  32. ^ "New England Patriots at Arizona Cardinals - September 11th, 2016". Retrieved 2017-12-29. 
  33. ^ "New England Patriots at Pittsburgh Steelers - October 23rd, 2016". Retrieved 2017-12-29. 
  34. ^ "New England Patriots at San Francisco 49ers - November 20th, 2016". Retrieved 2017-12-29. 
  35. ^ "Los Angeles Rams at New England Patriots - December 4th, 2016". Retrieved 2017-12-29. 
  36. ^ "Three rookies, Matt Ryan among players named to All-Pro team". 
  37. ^ "Three rookies, Matt Ryan among players named to All-Pro team". January 6, 2017. 
  38. ^ "Super Bowl LI - New England Patriots vs. Atlanta Falcons - February 5th, 2017". Retrieved 2 September 2017. 
  39. ^ "'Top 100 Players of 2017': No. 99 Malcolm Butler". 
  40. ^ Rosenthal, Gregg (March 7, 2017). "Patriots extend first-round tender to Malcolm Butler". 
  41. ^ Wesseling, Chris (April 18, 2017). "Malcolm Butler signs Patriots' first-round tender". 
  42. ^ "Watch Jacksonville Jaguars vs. New England Patriots [01/21/2018] -". Retrieved 2018-01-22. 
  43. ^ "Belichick confirms Butler's absence was coach's decision". ProFootballTalk. 2018-02-05. Retrieved 2018-02-05. 
  44. ^ Knoblauch, Austin. "Malcolm Butler: Patriots 'gave up on me' in Super Bowl". NFL. Retrieved February 4, 2018. 
  45. ^ Bieler, Des; Boren, Cindy (2018-02-05). "'They gave up on me': Patriots' Malcolm Butler laments surprise Super Bowl benching". Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 2018-02-05. 
  46. ^ "Why did the Patriots bench Malcolm Butler? Here's everything we know". SB Nation. 
  47. ^ Malcolm Butler Releases Statement on Super Bowl Benching - Boston Globe
  48. ^ Tom Brady sides with Malcolm Butler in dispute over Bill Belichick's Super Bowl benching - Washington Post
  49. ^ Not Even Robert Kraft Knew About the Malcolm Butler Benching - Sports Illustrated
  50. ^ Wesseling, Chris (March 13, 2018). "Titans to sign Malcolm Butler to five-year, $61M deal". 
  51. ^ Wyatt, Jim (March 15, 2018). "Titans Reach Deal with Former Patriots CB Malcolm Butler". 
  52. ^ Malcolm Butler and the Titans needed each other, SB Nation, March 14, 2018.
  53. ^ "New England Patriots Super Bowl Hero's Life Story to Be Told in Biopic (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2017-02-15. 

External links