New England Patriots cornerback Malcolm Butler will be forever part of Patriots and football lore following his game winning interception in Super Bowl XLIX against the Seattle Seahawks. However, Butler wants to be remembered for a lot more than that.
You know the story by now. Butler went undrafted. No one gave him a sniff outside of the Patriots – even New England initially only gave him a tryout. Sure, by the time the postseason was underway, those around the Patriots knew plenty about his potential. The fans saw it in training camp, his coaches and teammates saw it daily in practice. Nonetheless, on a national scale, he was an afterthought.
As Butler detailed in a piece he wrote for The Players Tribune, the rise of his public profile was meteoric:
I wasn’t used to all that attention. It can definitely suck you in, and I was enjoying it. Who wouldn’t? Everybody in the world saw what I did, so it wasn’t just sports shows that wanted to talk to me. I was invited to radio stations and TV shows I’d never even heard of. Everybody seemed to want a piece of me.
Be sure to read the entire article – it really gives some great insight into who Butler is as a person, and what the impact of being a "hero" in the world’s biggest game is like. The best part of Butler’s piece? How he does not want one single moment to define who he is as a football player:
I don’t want that play to define me. I don’t want to be a guy who had one great moment then disappeared. Getting to the NFL is hard, but staying there is even harder. There’s always someone out there gunning for your job. Last season, I was that guy trying to take someone’s job. Now, because the hard work I’ve put in — and yeah, because of that interception — I have a chance to lock down my spot on the roster. And when I do, I’m guarding it with my life.
As an organization, the Patriots certainly hope Butler can make a lot more key plays over the years to come. He has the right attitude, the right outlook. His man-cover skills and closing speed make him a perfect fit for the multiple cover schemes the Patriots are likely to run in 2015. Life may never be the same for Malcolm, and he may never make as big of a play as he did in Super Bowl XLIX, but he is in prime position to add many more chapters to his Patriots legacy.