Patriots

Devin McCourty agrees with Tom Brady’s criticism of 17-game NFL season

"You get one more beating. Who wants that?"

Devin McCourty Patriots
Devin McCourty. (AP Photo/Eric Christian Smith)
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As old as he says he feels sometimes, Devin McCourty’s love of football can’t be questioned. The 12-year NFL veteran is still playing almost entire games on the back end of the Patriots’ defense at 34 years old, including logging 90 snaps in New England’s overtime loss to Dallas in Week 6.

But like famous ex-teammate Tom Brady, he’s no fan at all of the NFL’s new 17-game season.

When asked on WEEI’s “The Greg Hill Show” about whether he agreed with Brady’s criticism of the new format, McCourty flatly responded, “Yeah.”

“You like the 16[-game season] — you split the season 8-8, split it in quarters. Now at the end of the season, we have four [playoff] games plus one, if that makes sense,” McCourty explained.

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But though part of the safety’s comments came off as a joking dig at the NFL season’s lack of even-numbered symmetry, the essence of McCourty’s comments gets at a more important issue: player safety.

Adding another game to the season, he said, is a bit more serious than simply throwing in an extra donut to make a “baker’s dozen” — analogy used by the show.

“At least that’s food,” he added. “This is like, you get one more beating. Who wants that?”

McCourty’s comments come days after Brady aired out the NFL and the league’s players’ union over the “pointless” addition of a 17th game this season on the “Let’s Go!” podcast with co-host Jim Gray.

“I thought it was a terrible decision,” Brady went on. “I don’t like the fact that we’re playing a 17th game at all. I think 16 is plenty. Again, you’re eight games into the year and you’re not halfway through, so that’s kind of a little frustrating aspect. So, whatever, I mean, we’ll play it. It’s there, you know, a lot of guys probably miss games over the course of the season anyway, so they probably don’t play all 16, most guys. I’m not someone who feels it’s a good idea. Some guys do. Some guys don’t.” 

In particular, Brady said NFL owners pushed for the extra game simply for additional revenue purposes, leading to a disconnect between ownership and the coaches and players you have to play and prepare for the games.

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But those owners, the quarterback said, wield more united (and disproportionate) power over a vast group of players with different financial situations and motivations in their careers.

“The choice is ‘don’t play,’ or ‘play under these circumstances.’ We’ve essentially agreed to play under their circumstances,” Brady added.

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