“I make the decisions that give us the best chance to win,” Belichick told Tafoya.
Butler missed Monday’s media night due to the effects of the flu. On Thursday, the Boston Globe reported Butler was “still feeling the effects of a nasty illness.”
Eric Rowe started for Butler alongside Stephen Gilmore. Rowe, who has started 10 of 17 regular-season games in two seasons for the Patriots and is a former Eagle, was beaten by Alshon Jeffrey for a 34-yard touchdown in the first quarter.
Three years ago, Butler was the fifth cornerback on New England’s depth chart coming into Super Bowl XLIX but replaced Kyle Arrington a nickel defensive back in the third quarter. Two plays after allowing a juggling 33-yard reception to Jermaine Kearse, Butler intercepted Russell Wilson‘s pass to Ricardo Lockette at the goal line with 20 seconds left to preserve New England’s 28-24 win and fourth Super Bowl title.
The Patriots signed him to a first-round tender worth $3.91 million last spring. This season, Butler finished with 60 tackles and two interceptions while starting 15 of 16 games.