ATLANTA – Jason McCourty didn’t have to ask his twin, Devin, for a ticket to the Super Bowl this time.
Devin, a 31-year-old defensive back and a Patriots captain, will be playing in his fifth Super Bowl. His younger brother – by 27 minutes – attended the first four to watch him and help out in any way he could. On Sunday, Jason and Devin will be playing together in the secondary against the Rams, the first time a set of twins will go for the Vince Lombardi Trophy.
“You couldn’t imagine when you’re 12 that you would be playing together in the biggest game of the year,” Jason said.
It’s been a long, tough road for Jason to get here. He was drafted by the Titans and didn’t make the playoffs once in his eight seasons there. Then Jason spent 2017 with the Browns, who went 0-16. A March trade reunited the McCourtys for the first time as teammates since they attended Rutgers. It was a blessing for Jason, Devin and their family.
Devin, a first-round pick of the Patriots in 2010, the year after his brother was drafted, has played for New England his whole career. He and Jason live across the street from each other now and got to have Christmas together. Their mother, Phyliss Harrell, lives in New Jersey, and will be arriving in Atlanta on Friday to see her boys play in the big game.
She lost her husband when the twins were 3 and raised them by herself, driving them to every practice and game until they got their licenses. Devin called his mom his “hero” and can’t wait for her to share in this joyous experience.
“As much as Jason and myself have enjoyed being together and having fun, she gets here tomorrow,” Devin said. “I’m sure she’ll be all smiles from Thursday up until Monday morning.”
There will be more smiles if the Patriots win. Devin said he may retire because he wouldn’t be able to top winning the Super Bowl with his brother. It would be Devin’s third ring.
They always have pushed each other to be better and been each other’s biggest supporter. They tell stories about playing Pop Warner in Valley Cottage, New York, in high school in Bergen County, New Jersey, or at Rutgers, screaming at each other to play harder or do better. They credited each other for reaching this point.
“We’ve been super competitive,” Devin said. “We worked well together but we’d go at each other pretty hard at times. I never would have imagined to be able to be on this platform together and playing the Super Bowl together.”
Jason said, “For us it’s always been about motivating each other. We have high expectations for each other. We push each other to get where we’re at today.”
Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski can relate to what the McCourtys are enjoying. His brother Glenn was a Patriots’ practice squad player two years ago. Gronk is happy for the McCourtys.
“It’s special for them,” he said. “It’s special to have a family member of yours on the team and be part of it, someone you can trust in at all times and they’re there to have your back. It’s definitely special for the McCourty brothers. It’s huge for them and it’s pretty cool to see.”
Jason is using the words “surreal” and “special” a lot after enduring “a lot of suffering,” especially during his winless season in Cleveland. He’s been smiling all week.
“It’s made it more special for myself,” Jason said. “The previous four he’s gone to I’ve gone to the city, been able to bring my family down there. To be four years on the outside looking in, like standing on the driveway and looking in the window, and now to be able to experience all the different things with him is special.”
Jason said he isn’t thinking about being the first twins in the Super Bowl.
“We haven’t actually had a conversation about it,” Jason said. “Probably years from now we’ll talk about how incredible this experience was and what it meant for us and how cool it was to come down to the Super Bowl, have our wives and kids here together. Right now you’re so focused on the task at hand, you’re just trying to enjoy it as you’re going through it.”