Malcolm Butler still coming to terms with rapid rise to stardom
Shortly after Malcolm Butler preserved a New England Patriots victory courtesy of his clutch interception in the waning moments of Super Bowl XLIX, it’s likely that the 24-year-old who went undrafted in the 2014 NFL Draft realized his life would never be the same.
And yet, several weeks later and still riding high awash in the sudden celebrity realized in the wake of becoming known as a Super Bowl hero, he is still left amazed just how much things have changed, how one play transformed him from a relative unknown to a recognizable star in the matter of mere moments.
The previously unheralded rookie cornerback out of Western Alabama spoke with For the Win’s Chris Strauss about the recent thrilling but hectic few weeks, which was highlighted by a big to-do about how Tom Brady wanted to give Butler his Super Bowl MVP truck. Instead of it being a nice story about a generous offer by the Patriots quarterback, it instead spawned reports about the gift tax liability of such a gesture and other assorted nonsense.
Ultimately, Butler did receive Brady’s Chevy truck, but it highlighted how everything is different for Butler now.
“When it really hit me, I went to a Boston [Celtics] basketball game and they said Malcolm Butler and [fans] were just cheering on my name. That’s when I realized what I did and everything that was happening,” he said. “One morning I was sleeping in bed and I just put myself in the stands as a fan. And I’m looking at the game here and was saying if I was a fan, my heart would be pounding as every fan’s was. It was just crazy, putting myself in that position and thinking about it knowing that I did that.”
Butler admitted it’s been a rush becoming a known sports star commodity, especially in Boston and his hometown of Vicksburg, Miss.
“The last time I went to the airport in Boston, I went to one of the TSA workers and they noticed me right away,” Butler said. “I tried to be nice and take one picture and 15 more came.”
Even though he says he learned a valuable lesson from the airport incident about how to better deal with his newfound fame, what used to be routine trip to get some groceries turned into something of a mess.
“I went to the grocery store and it was crazy,” Butler said. “I had to leave my bag and my groceries and leave out. It’s changed a lot. Especially in my hometown, everyone knows me.”
While it’s clear that Butler has had to navigate the trappings of sudden notoriety and is still learning the ropes, one thing arguably is for certain: He wouldn’t want it any other way.
(photo credit: CBS Boston)