PP was the only one in his family with a passion for sports, but even he knew nothing of the Super Bowl. His sport was basketball, or at least he thought it was until he met Manny Martin, the defensive coordinator at Deerfield Beach High School.
Until landing in Martin’s geometry class his junior year, Pierre-Paul had no intention of playing football. Martin’s arm twist was essentially this: “If you want to pass this class, you’re going to play some football.”
Pierre-Paul began practicing with the team that day, though his parents were the last to know. He already had injured his leg three times, the last coming his sophomore year when he landed awkwardly while dunking a basketball. Pierre-Paul feared his parents might not approve of him playing football.
“I had to hide it for a little bit because I knew my mom wasn’t going to let me play it,” Pierre-Paul said.
To this day, he calls his mother after games to reassure her that he’s fine.
“He calls me and everything is OK,” she said. “After game he calls. During [the] week he calls. Everything OK.”