Jason McCourty’s Path to the Super Bowl

After spending his first eight seasons with the Tennessee Titans and a ninth year with the Cleveland Browns, cornerback Jason McCourty had only been to an NFL playoff game as a guest of his brother, Patriots’ safety Devin McCourty. However, in his tenth season, that streak was broken. Jason, who was acquired from the Browns in March 2018 in a trade, was reunited with his brother when New England shipped a sixth-round pick for the veteran and a seventh-round pick. Now, in his first postseason trip, he is one win away from earning himself a place in history.  

Unlike his brother, Jason McCourty has never made a Pro Bowl. He doesn’t have many of the fancy accolades that his twin has won with the Patriots over the past decade. What Jason does bring to the Patriots is the work ethic and determination that Devin has blessed the team with for his entire career.

When the Patriots acquired Jason from the Browns in March, many expected it was to bring in a veteran presence and bring the McCourty brothers back together on the same team for the first time since they were starting cornerbacks at Rutgers University. It wasn’t expected that the 31-year-old veteran would play in all 16 games, logging 12 starts.

Combined with All-Pro cornerback Stephon Gilmore, undrafted free agent rookie cornerback J.C. Jackson, and longtime starting safeties Devin McCourty and Pat Chung, the Patriots boast one of the most talented defensive backfields in the league.

Naturally, fans were distraught when Super Bowl hero Malcolm Butler departed for Tennessee in the free agency period. The fan favorite had stepped into a starting role over the past couple of years since his heroics in Super Bowl XLIX and made a great tandem with Gilmore.

The loss of a young starting cornerback didn’t bode well for the Patriots, even a year after the signing of Gilmore. If anything, Jason has been better as a starter this year than Butler was his last year with New England.

There is a lot that can be attributed to New England’s success in the secondary; coach Bill Belichick has adapted to the constantly changing game of football, realizing the absolute necessity of having a competent passing defense. Perhaps it is the schemes being produced by Belichick and defensive coordinator Brian Flores. It could be the additions of Jason McCourty and Jackson. Regardless, the unit has been getting the job done, neutralizing Chiefs’ quarterback Patrick Mahomes and Chargers’ quarterback Philip Rivers already in the playoffs.

While the average football player doesn’t usually have one of his best seasons late in their career, Jason McCourty isn’t the average player. He faced ups and downs while in Tennessee, from injuries to losing his starting position. His story sounds awfully similar to another player- his brother. Devin was a first-round pick in 2010 and entered the league as a cornerback.

He had a solid rookie campaign, but after a disastrous couple of seasons as a cornerback, Belichick decided to switch the intelligent playmaker to safety where he could lead the defense. The historic coach is once again finding value out of a player that other coaches gave up on, and has received amazing output from Jason McCourty compared to what he was acquired for.

In an upcoming Super Bowl matchup against the volatile Rams’ offense, the first year Patriot will be asked to do his job and more if he wants a chance to hoist the Lombardi Trophy.

On Sunday, the McCourty brothers will make history by being the first twin brothers to play in the Super Bowl together. It certainly would be sweet for Jason to win his first Super Bowl alongside his brother. Hopefully, a Patriots victory wouldn’t spell an end for the McCourty dynasty in New England, but there is a rising concern; Devin has stated that if the Patriots emerge victoriously, it could be his last game in the NFL.

When asked about the comments made by his brother regarding retirement, Jason displayed another characteristic he’s brought to New England—his sense of humor. Headlines were made after telling the reporter that his brother is a ‘drama queen.’ The only person who is more excited than Jason is the twins’ mother, Phyllis Harrell, who will finally be able to watch both of her boys competing for a Super Bowl on the same team.

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