PHOENIX — Sunday’s Super Bowl won’t be the first time Patriots safety Devin McCourty will be in a secondary opposing Russell Wilson at quarterback.
Besides when the two faced each other in 2012 in the NFL, the pair faced off when they were in college in the 2008 Papa John’s.com bowl — a game in which McCourty’s Rutgers’ Scarlet Knights team got the best of Wilson’s NC State Wolfpack, 29-23. Wilson was injured in the second half of the game and would later transfer to Wisconsin.
Having weeks to prepare for the game, McCourty watched a lot of film on Wilson and liked what we saw even then.
“I played him in college, so I always thought he was a really, really good quarterback,” McCourty said. “He kind of ate us up in college, so watching him, to me the amazing part is to see, you know, what we saw in college, him being able to still do it at a high level in the NFL. With staying in the pocket and throwing some balls deep down the field in spots that only the receiver can get it, and then also having the ability when a play breaks down to make three guys miss and then find a wide open guy.
“Usually when you do that in college the first thing they tell you is when you get to the NFL, everyone’s bigger, stronger, faster, you won’t be able to do that, and he still is able to do that. Watching him, I still see some of the great things he did in college, he does in the NFL.’
Wilson threw for 3,475 yards and 20 touchdowns this season, while also running for 849 yards and six touchdowns, making him a tough quarterback to prepare for.
“A lot of things he does I don’t think any team in this league has a guy that can show you that in practice,” said McCourty. “You don’t have Russell Wilson in your locker room to practice against. I don’t care what quarterback you have on your roster. You can’t practice against it. So, a little bit of it is once you get out there in the game, realizing how fast he is or how deep he can throw the ball, all those things you won’t see until you get out there and you play against him. So I don’t know if it’s as much in the right place at the right time, but I think it’s more just his playmaking ability.”
This will be McCourty’s second Super Bowl, but in his five years in the league, he’s played in four AFC championship games, so he has the big game experience. Even with the big game experience, McCourty is very excited to be in Arizona and enjoy everything associated with playing in the Super Bowl.
“It’s great,” he said. “I think that’s why we all play the game. It’s a dream come true to play in this game, and to finally be here, it makes it even more real. Now we’re here. We’ll kick off practice Wednesday and start really zeroing in, but like I tell all the guys, enjoy the moment, enjoy the experiences, but, being in Arizona, nice weather, no complaints here.’