By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
MINNEAPOLIS (CBS) — Losing a Super Bowl hurts. More than any other loss.
And though it logically makes no sense for a team or a player to be better off by losing before reaching the biggest game in sports, emotions don’t often follow logical paths.
For proof, just look at Devin McCourty. A Patriots defensive captain, McCourty played in his fourth Super Bowl on Sunday night against the Eagles. And after he and his defense gave up 538 yards and 41 points to Nick Foles and the Eagles, his record in those games dropped to 2-2.
The 30-year-old McCourty, who finished second on the team in tackles, said he would have preferred losing in an earlier round in the playoffs than to make it to the Super Bowl and lose.
“Yeah, you would rather not be here if you’re going to lose. It’s just the truth,” McCourty said. “We would have rather lost two or three weeks ago rather than come here and lose. But the truth is that you reset and you put in the hard work and you try to get back to this spot. It’s hard. We know that.”
McCourty reflected back on his Super Bowl experiences.
“The first time I got here, it took three years to get back,” he said. “So there’s no guarantee we’ll be back in the playoffs, no guarantee we’ll be in the AFC championship. So we just got to get back to work, obviously as individuals for the offseason, and try to get better, so we make enough plays to win games next year.”
McCourty has made the playoffs every year with the Patriots since being drafted in 2010, and he’s been a part of two championship wins and several painful losses. That list includes Super Bowl XLVI to the Giants, the divisional round home loss to the Jets, and the AFC title games in 2012, 2013 and 2015. He probably didn’t enjoy any of those losses.
But McCourty was in man coverage on Zach Ertz when the tight end scored what proved to be the game-winning touchdown on Sunday, and the response on Sunday night shows how emotional losing a Super Bowl can be — even for a guy who’s already won two.