Devin McCourty, Patriots Captains Break Down Strategy for Pregame Coin Toss


Devin McCourty, Patriots Captains Break Down Strategy for Pregame Coin TossFOXBORO, Mass. — Every game starts with the flip of a coin, and though the pace of the action can be dictated purely by luck, there is a process to such a mundane act.

The Patriots, along with every team, have a plan for the coin toss as far as whether or not they'd like to receive the opening kickoff, defer or choose a side of the field. While it's largely based on that week's game plan, the weather can factor into the decision, too.

After the Patriots run onto the field as a team for the final time before the game, head coach Bill Belichick pulls aside the captains — quarterback Tom Brady, linebacker Jerod Mayo, defensive lineman Vince Wilfork, left guard Logan Mankins, cornerback Devin McCourty and special teamer Matthew Slater – and tells them what he wants them to choose.

The heads-or-tails decision, when the Patriots make the call prior to road games, is up to the players. McCourty called tails and lost during the season opener in Miami, so he joked he probably won't be doing that again. Mayo and Wilfork have also made the call this season, and since it's on a rotational basis, someone else will likely get to choose Sunday against the Jets.

That part isn't formulaic. The captains pretty much decide who will make the call as they get ready to head toward midfield. (Brady hardly ever goes out for the coin toss because he's loosening up on the sideline by playing catch.)

"There's not a whole lot to that coin toss," Slater said. "We're just going in, and I know the captains are trying to get our minds right and ready to play. We're not really there to be buddies with the [opponents]. Obviously, sportsmanship is what we try to do and represent ourselves in a good way. But by that time, we're so focused on the game and what's going on that it's a formality."

While the coin toss might not be the most exciting event that happens on game day, the captains admit it's an honor to take on that responsibility for the ceremonious act.

"It's an honor to go out there," McCourty said. "As kids, you always looked at that like those are the guys on the team who get to go out there. It's something so simple, but you always looked up to those guys who got to do that, so now it's an honor to be able to do that."

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