FOXBORO -- Pats players are excited for the Super Bowl. Some, though, are more excited than others. Players like Jason McCourty and Danny Shelton, who were on the 0-16 Cleveland Browns last year, have naturally more enthusiasm than Devin McCourty (two Super Bowl rings) and Tom Brady (five Super Bowl rings).
Jason McCourty recalled being in the weight room and saying he was excited to go to the Super Bowl. Devin was more dismissive - telling Jason let's get back to lifting weights. Devin is now playing in his fifth Super Bowl. Cordarrelle Patterson, John Simon, Danny Shelton, Obi Melifonwu, Ufomba Kamalu and Stephen Anderson are also playing in the Super Bowl for the first time.
"I was just telling Dev and Du [Duron Harmon], "How excited are ya’ll? We’re going to the Super Bowl. We leave on Sunday." And they’re like, "Calm down, man. Take it easy." That’s been my role this year. I bring a different perspective, a different type of energy, a different journey which brings a different outlook on things. I’m embracing it. I can probably be annoying at times but they love me," Jason said.
Jason has attended Super Bowls before. Now, he is happy to be playing in one.
"For me, this will be my fifth Super Bowl that I’m attending and this is the first time that I get to go inside. So for me, hearing so many stories about it from my brother, I usually go down Tuesday of when he went down and catch up with him on his off day," Jason said.
"We’d go eat and just hang out whenever he had off time throughout the course of the week. Hearing so much about it, being a part of it, for me I’m extremely excited of everything that’s on the itinerary just because I’ve heard about it. I feel like from the outside looking in, I’ve been looking through the window, looking at it, and now I get an opportunity to be a part of this all. With this group of guys, for me, in Year 10 to get a chance to take on this challenge and still be playing at this point, I’m just excited and grateful for each and everything that’s coming."
Jason added that his brother can help him prepare for the Super Bowl.
"I think him, along with a lot of guys in this locker room, there’s a lot of different guys that have gone through this process. Obviously, when you get to Sunday, whatever team plays better is going to be the team that wins. Experience – none of that matters on game day. I think some of that experience kicks in when you’re talking about traveling, when you’re talking about, "Hey, what do I bring? Hey, what’s Media [Opening] Night like? What’s the process when we get down there? How do you handle family?” Different things of that nature. I think there’s numerous guys from Dev, to [Dont’a] Hightower, Jules, Tom, Gronk [Rob Gronkowski], guys that have been multiple times that I think those logistics are guys that you can go talk to and get a better understanding of how everything works," Jason said.
Players, with or without postseason experience, know that falling behind in the playoffs can be detrimental. Jason said that he is happy the defense is starting fast in the postseason. In the road losses this season, the Pats often fell behind early and could not catch up. It was the opposite against Kansas City where the Pats had a 14-0 lead at halftime. Players surely appreciate the opportunity to play in a Super Bowl, but know that at the end of the day it is just a football game.
Jason knows he drives his teammates with more playoff experience crazy with his enthusiasm. His fellow position players remind him to play the way he has played all season. It is just another game. However, a lot more people are watching.
"We have to play our best football," Stephon Gilmore said.
When asked whether he wants to cover former Pats and current Los Angeles Rams receiver Brandin Cooks, Gilmore provides the answer that Jason will surely follow a week from Sunday.
"I will cover whoever the coach's ask me to," Gilmore said.