Think the McCourty family is excited for the divisional round of the NFL postseason to finally get underway?
As Devin McCourty noted, “the McCourty gang will be pretty fired up on Sunday.”
Assuming he clears concussion protocol – likely, given his presence at practice all week long for the New England Patriots – Devin McCourty will be suiting up for the 20th playoff game of his career when the Los Angeles Chargers come to Gillette Stadium for Sunday’s 1 p.m. kickoff.
Twenty career postseason games are a lot for any player, but that’s 20 more than his twin brother. Jason McCourty, now in his 10th NFL season, will be making his first postseason appearance this weekend.
“I’ve been able to live vicariously through him over the years,” Jason McCourty said.
The dream is now a reality. Their mother, Phyllis, has to be the most excited Patriots fan on the planet at the moment.
“I think the thing she’s most wanted in our NFL careers is Jason to play in the playoffs,” Devin McCourty said. “I’m sure she’ll be fired up to see him play in his first playoff game. She said that over and over. She just wanted him to get some type of success that I’ve had as far as playoffs and postseason and all of that and the atmosphere.”
Devin, drafted in the first round in 2010 by the Patriots, hasn’t just appeared in the postseason every year of his career; he’s enjoyed a first-round bye in all nine of his seasons.
Jason, a sixth-round pick of the Tennessee Titans in 2009, has also avoided wild-card weekend. The Titans never made the playoffs with Jason McCourty on the roster – only to make it after he left to join the Cleveland Browns in 2017, who finished 0-16 in his lone season at the Dawg Pound.
“Eight seasons there, that was something I worked towards a lot of times trying to get to and wasn’t able to accomplish,” Jason McCourty recalled of his days in Nashville. “I remember when they beat Jacksonville [in Week 17 of 2017] to get in, there were a number of those guys that I played with for over five years and I was texting them, legitimately happy for them, that they were getting experience. I knew all of the stuff we’d gone through prior to that.”
Jason would often find himself in the greater Foxboro area this time of year, and subsequently wherever New England traveled to for the AFC Championship Game or Super Bowl. While he was almost always in the same city as Devin to offer support, Jason only attended three Patriots postseason games in person prior to joining the team: a divisional round game in 2010 vs. the New York Jets, Super Bowl XLVI vs. the New York Giants, and the AFC Championship Game in 2013 vs. the Denver Broncos.
All Patriots losses.
Devin didn’t have much luck going to Jason’s games with the Titans, either. Tennessee went 0-2 with him in the stands to cheer on his twin through the years.
“At that point, we were like ‘let’s stop attending each other’s games,’” Jason McCourty said. “I’d go down to the Super Bowl, be able to hang out with him and the family, do the whole week.”
Perhaps those cosmic forces explain why the Patriots were able to hold off the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XLIX.
During his trip to Arizona for the game, Jason McCourty stood outside the stadium late in the fourth quarter as Seattle drove all the way down to the New England 1-yard line. Only after an undrafted rookie by the name of Malcolm Butler picked off Russell Wilson with 26 seconds left on the clock did he dare enter the University of Phoenix Stadium.
It’s unavoidable for the McCourty’s to be on the same field this week, of course. Which is just fine for both brothers, neither of whom are taking playoff games for granted – no matter how many or how few they’ve appeared in.
“That’s another huge accomplishment that I want to take full advantage of and go out there and play my best for the team,” Devin McCourty said of postseason play. “You kind of realize all these guys in the locker room – I didn’t probably realize that until my third year of how fast – you get one year and then the locker room, usually guys are leaving. Guys are retiring, released, traded, sign in free agency. You don’t want to miss out on the opportunity that you have with a team, especially when you feel that it’s a special team.”
“Getting the opportunity to be able to come into work, being able to go to practice, coming here and trying to get better, it means a lot,” Jason McCourty said. “I’m embracing these moments.”