The last time the New England Patriots and Atlanta Falcons played each other, Patriots star cornerback Malcolm Butler was still in college, busy covering wide receivers for the University of West Alabama. And yet Butler, who joined the Patriots as an undrafted free agent in 2014, forged a connection with the Falcons without ever facing them on the field when in 2012 he publicly dreamed of covering their best wide receiver.
I wanna check julio jones...lol......real talk doe..
— Malcolm CB Butler (@Mac_BZ) December 23, 2012
That's what Butler tweeted a little over four years ago, and his words have instantly become prophetic since Butler will surely be charged with shadowing Jones during much of Super Bowl LI. It was a bold tweet at the time, a corner from a program like West Alabama asking for a shot at a man whose 2012 season included 1,198 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns; but Butler's supreme belief in himself certainly played a key role in his meteoric rise from undrafted free agent to shutdown corner.
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— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) January 23, 2017
Butler is coming off a stellar performance in the AFC Championship game against the Pittsburgh Steelers. When he lined up across from Antonio Brown, he held the Steelers Pro Bowl wideout to just two catches for 24 yards on four targets.
Jones is a different beast altogether, though. It remains to be seen how often Butler will cover Jones during the Super Bowl, but whenever it happens your eyes should not be focused anywhere else.
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