The Super Bowl was sealed before the game started. It goes back to practice, Tuesday in particular, where Malcolm Butler is lined across from a wide receiver stack in a goal line situation. The receiver cuts in front of him, Butler fails to make a play, and Patriots head coach Bill Belichick gets in his ear to make sure he understands that this is what will happen on Sunday.
No one could have predicted that Kyle Arrington would be benched. Or Logan Ryan. If Malcolm Butler, the 5th cornerback on the depth chart, was called to the field with the game on the line, it would have meant something went terribly wrong. Yet he was an active participant in practice and he learned from his mistake; he prepared like he was a snap away from seeing the field.
ESPN's Mike Reiss did a nice breakdown of Butler after the game, but let's draw attention to this key comment:
Like others on both teams, Butler expressed some surprise the Seahawks didn't run with Marshawn Lynch, but he also felt he picked up a clue as to what was coming when quarterback Russell Wilson looked in his direction before the play.
So Wilson looked at Butler before the play?
Butler knew Wilson was throwing after the QB looked his direction: http://t.co/0cVxt5PPtA— Rich Hill (@PP_Rich_Hill) February 2, 2015
As a matter of fact, he did. Butler was ready from his practice, he read the quarterback, and he made a once-in-a-lifetime play. He knew it was coming the whole time.