Here's what Malcolm Butler was doing right before kickoff.
Malcolm Butler's benching is probably the biggest New England storyline from Sunday night's Super Bowl. The starting cornerback stood on the sideline as the Eagles' pass offense had its way with the Patriots' secondary.
Bill Belichick refused to go into detail about his decision to not play Butler. All he said was that it was a "football decision."
Butler, a soon-to-be free agent, was pretty upset after the game. He told reporters after the game that he wasn't sure what happened.
"I don't know what it was. I guess I wasn't playing good or they didn't feel comfortable. I don't know. But I could have changed that game," Butler told ESPN's Mike Reiss.
"It was a coach's decision. I was just doing my job and supporting my teammates. I have nothing but great things to say about the organization. They gave me an opportunity. That's about it."
NBC's cameras captured Butler right before kickoff. He was crying as America The Beautiful played.
At the time, it seemed like Butler was probably just overcome with emotion of the spectacle. However, it's now clear that the cornerback was likely upset, as he'd just been told that he wouldn't be playing in the game.
Belichick has been getting crushed for his decision to not play Butler. Multiple former Patriots have taken to Instagram to criticize him.