As the American sporting world turns its attention tonight to the Big Apple for the NFL’s annual DRAFT, there were no shortage of parties, events and brands saddling up with existing league standouts to woo the ascended media.
When it comes to standing out, few made as big a splash this past season as the Super Bowl champion Jason Pierre-Paul. The freakishly athletic JPP from the University of South Florida teamed up with another figure known for her physical talents, Sports Illustrated Swimsuit cover model Kate Upton, last night at the Axe Combine House to compete in an inter-gender battle for supremacy at Spin New York.
We caught up with JPP to talk about the draft, division rivals and his rapid rise to NFL superstardom.
The formula he’d like to see in a player New York drafts is reflective of his own work ethic and also that of his coach Tom Coughlin whom he praised as father like, “I want to see the Giants draft a guy that’s going to play hard and who comes to work and tries to help us get back to the Super Bowl.”
After mentioning his eagerness to see Robert Griffin III and conceding the likelihood that the Heisman trophy winner will go to division rival Washington Redskins, Pierre-Paul shrugged at the notion of fearing having to face a versatile, athletic quarterback twice a year almost boastfully stating the team’s ability to handle such player, “Ask Michael Vick. You like to run? We like to run too at defensive end. We have fast defensive ends, too. We’re not slow. If you run, you will get punished for it. Because we will chase you. Ask Michael Vick, ask Aaron Rodgers.”
Despite the Skins haven beatten the G-Men twice last year (which he acknowledged), when goaded that with or without RG3, they’re still going to be the Redskins, he laughed , “They are still gonna be the Redskins. Nobody worries about the Redskins. But at least they’ll have a good quarterback.”
Unlike former Philadelphia backup Vince Young last year and Eagles Pro Bowler LaSean McCoy a few weeks back, despite the bragging right that come with being defending Super Bowl champ, Pierre-Paul remains grounded. “We’ve never been the ‘Dream Team.’ The Eagles were the ‘Dream Team’ and look what happened to them. It don’t matter about the guys you select in the draft or you trade for. It matters about a whole group of guys who put there hearts into it and play as one when you really need it.”
The secret to his success isn’t a silver bullet, “I just came in and worked. On any team you have guys that can play. I came to work. I never complained. I got in the film room early. Once I made a mistake once it was gone. I try not to make the same mistake gone.”
We have to wait and see, I doubt it but if he is, that’s a piece of a link off the chain that we need to fill in. But they said that last year when they drafted me. Now we have one of the sickest D-lines in the league and everybody knows that.”
At the “AXE Combine House,” JPP and Upton competed in a series of physical/mental challenges that included everything from a ping-pong grudge match to a hardnosed round of digital Pictionary, the winner’s purse going to sports-related charities.
“Congrats to the 9-7 NY Giants on the big win. A team that couldn’t beat the Redskins in the regular season was clearly the best team in the world. Eli was truly an inspiration. He proved that if you work hard enough and your older more talented brother breaks his neck you can succeed no matter how retarded you may look.” -Daniel Tosh
While Giants fans celebrated their victory at the Parade in New York City – Boston locals got a 900 pound sweet surprise courtesy of Pawngo in the center of Copley Square in the heart of Boston. 900 pounds, or 8,000 bars of Nestle Butterfingers were piled high with a sign entitled, “Thank you Wes Welker” - making everyone in the area stop to take pictures, grab a bar, and have a laugh.
Image: Katherine Castro Photography