Jason McCourty, 25, starting cornerback for the Tennessee Titans, was born 27 minutes before his identical twin brother Devin, starting cornerback for the New England Patriots. And when the Titans and Patriots face off today, it will be the first time the brothers -- who each grew up in New Jersey and went to Rutgers -- can remember hitting a football field on different teams.
"It's going to be a unique opportunity," Jason recently told lohud.com. "We were always playing on the same team, so at this level to be able to face off will be something special that we won't realize after the game, but probably years from now."
Jason and Devin do remember competing on the basketball court, but there's still a lot of debate about who got the upper hand there. Jason recently told the media that he was the better basketball player, but Devin disagreed.
"I think he's had a concussion," Devin said. "He probably forgets that I won most of those battles."
In an NFL sense, Devin has the statistical upper hand. Jason has four interceptions in three seasons, while Devin has nine in just two.
"There are definitely some similarities, as you would expect," Patriots head coach Bill Belichick said of the twins this week. "They're both fast [and] they're both aggressive, good tacklers, good solid players. We'll never get a better look at a guy than we will this week from Devin. It's about as close as it gets."
The brothers agreed to avoid speaking during the week of preparation for this contest, which will take place at LP Field, home of the Titans. To avoid any "Mom always liked you best" stuff, the McCourtys' mother, Phyllis Harrell, who was responsible for distributing game tickets to family members and friends, will be wearing the jersey displayed here by Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network.
Mrs. Harrell had the jersey made when both of her sons were drafted into the NFL -- Jason in the sixth round of the 2009 NFL Draft by the Tennessee Titans, and Devin in the first round by the New England Patriots the next year. Devin redshirted as a freshman at Rutgers, which is why he came out a year later.
This week, Rapoport delivered some of the best lines from each of the twins on each other in an NFL.com article:
Jason, on the many, many ticket requests from family members: "Since I'm the one with the home game, the ticket requests fell on me, so I'll be looking for a check for about half from Dev."
Devin, on Jason's claims that he beat him in basketball: "I think he's had a concussion. He probably forgets that I won most of those battles. We don't remember many of the scores, but we just know he usually left angry."
Jason, on their mom staying with him: "I told her that if she's staying with me and planning to come back to the house after the game that she'll be rooting for the Titans."
Devin, on their mom rooting: "She'll tell Jason she's rooting for him since she's staying at his house."
Jason, on their battles on the basketball court: "Basketball games and video games always ended in a fight. We'd play basketball, not keep score and just go at it."
Devin, on who is the fastest: "Jason is going to say him because his pro day time is faster. If we go back to the last 40 he ran at Rutgers and the last 40 I ran at Rutgers, I ran a 4.31, he ran a 4.32."
Jason, on the best-case scenario: "Titans with a win. He'll get over it."
Devin, on if there is trash-talking: "No, I actually told him to lose my number this week. No side bets, no anything else. I'll see and talk to him on Sunday when we get out on the field."
Jason, on if there is trash-talking: "We cut off all communication. I only have one brother this week."
In truth, the twins are as close as you may expect. At the end of first season, Jason, who hasn't yet seen the postseason with the Titans, was thrilled to see Devin make it all the way to the Super Bowl.
"To watch him win the AFC Championship game, that night, just to see him celebrating and knowing he's going to the Super Bowl and then me being out there in [Indianapolis, site of Super Bowl XLVI] with him, it's something special," Jason told the Nashville City Paper. "It gave me a little bit of extra motivation of working and trying to get there myself with these guys."
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