FOXBOROUGH — After the Patriots defeated the Kansas City Chiefs to clinch their third straight Super Bowl berth last Sunday, cornerback Jason McCourty jumped into the arms of his twin brother, safety and team captain, Devin McCourty.
“Welcome to the Super Bowl!’’ Devin shouted. “Welcome to the Super Bowl!’’
Jason, who had never advanced to the playoffs over the course of nine NFL seasons, will cap his first postseason experience with a trip to the Super Bowl. Devin, on the other hand, has never missed the playoffs since getting drafted by the Patriots in 2010.
Almost a month after New England’s regular-season finale, the initial excitement still hasn’t worn off for Jason. “Act like you’ve been there before’’ is not an adage in his book.
“I was just telling Dev and [Duron Harmon] in the weight room, like, ‘How excited are y’all? We’re going to the Super Bowl! We leave on Sunday!’ ’’ Jason told reporters Friday afternoon at Gillette Stadium. “They’re like, ‘Calm down, man. Take it easy.’ ’’
While a large handful of Patriots have playd in the Super Bowl before, merely practicing beyond December is new for Jason. He said he tries not to compare previous seasons or organizations, but there’s no denying this year is different for him.
Rather than trying to blend in, however, he’s embracing his position on the team — even if that means being “annoying at times.’’
“That’s been my role this year,’’ Jason said. “I bring a different perspective, a different type of energy, [and] a different journey, which brings a different outlook on things.’’
In addition to his contributions on the field — he played in all 16 games, registering one interception, one forced fumble, and 70 tackles — Jason’s teammates appreciate that fresh attitude. His career serves as a reminder to not take the Patriots’ sustained success for granted.
As wide receiver Julian Edelman said Friday, “young guys, old guys, [and] the coaches’’ can all learn from Jason.
“He’s a guy that works his tail off,’’ Edelman said. “A guy like him, having that mind around and that mentality and that kind of a chip, it’s awesome. It motivates.’’
“You can’t make this stuff up,’’ added Devin. “We have guys in here that have won Super Bowls, won multiple Super Bowls, but this game’s important because you know you’ve got guys next to you that went 0-16 last year. You know how special this is for them to be in this type of environment.’’
Given that Devin has participated in four and won two, the Super Bowl isn’t an entirely unknown entity for Jason. Prior to this season, he’d usually travel to the host city the Tuesday leading up to the big game and hang out with his brother whenever the Patriots had downtime. This year, he’ll be heading out on Sunday with Devin and the rest of the team.
“I feel like I’ve been looking through the window looking at him and now I get an opportunity to be a part of it,’’ he said.
There are a few things he’s consulted his brother and other veterans about, such as what to bring, what to expect from Opening Night, and how to manage family members, but Jason said he’s not overly concerned about his lack of playoff experience affecting his play.
“When it comes to Sunday, whatever team plays better is going to be the team that wins,’’ he said. “Experience, none of that matters on game day.’’
Center David Andrews echoed that sentiment.
“There are a lot of myths,’’ Andrews said. “Playoff experience doesn’t matter. Any guy can step up big time and make a big play.’’