Former College of the Canyons defensive lineman Jason Pierre-Paul, who played with the Cougars in 2007, is now a two-time Super Bowl Champion after helping the Tampa Bay Buccaneers defeat the defending champion Kansas City Chiefs by a 31-9 score on Sunday at Super Bowl LV.
Pierre-Paul continued his personal streak of eight straight playoff victories, while adding three tackles and a deflected pass to his Super Bowl LV stat line. The outside linebacker and edge rusher was a key part of the relentless pass rush that antagonized Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes on a reported 29 of 56 dropbacks.
JPP, as he has been referred to since breaking into the NFL in 2010 as a first-round draft pick, last hoisted the Lombardi trophy as a member of the Super Bowl XLVI Champion New York Giants team that defeated the Tom Brady-led New England Patriots 21-17 on Feb. 12, 2012.
On Sunday, Pierre-Paul shared the Super Bowl LV victory with Brady, who earned MVP honors in what was the Tampa Bay quarterback’s seventh championship.
A Pro Bowl selection in 2020, Pierre-Paul ended the regular season with 55 total tackles, 9.5 sacks, four forced fumbles, and two interceptions. He then added a pair of sacks during Tampa Bay’s road victory vs. Green Bay in the NFC Championship game.
Pierre-Paul’s long journey back to the Super Bowl was a popular storyline in the week’s leading up to Sunday’s big game, as the talented pass rusher has overcome seemingly insurmountable off-the-field adversities.
In 2015, an off-season fireworks accident resulted in Pierre-Paul having his right index finger amputated and limited him to just eight games. The following year he was forced out of the final portion of the season, and missed the Giants’ playoff game, after undergoing sports hernia surgery.
Pierre-Paul was traded to Tampa Bay prior to the start of the 2018 season and went on to register 12.5 sacks in his debut season with the Bucs. After the strong start to his stay in Tampa, Pierre-Paul suffered a neck fracture in a car accident which threatened his season and ultimately limited him to just eight games.
With Buccaneers’ victory on Sunday, Pierre-Paul becomes the first former Cougar to play in multiple Super Bowls.
JPP is also the second former Cougar to win multiple Super Bowl rings, joining COC offensive lineman Caylin Hauptmann (COC 2009) who was part of back-to-back championships in 2014 and 2015.
Hauptmann was a member of the Seattle Seahawks team (practice squad) that defeated the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII on Feb. 2, 2014. The following year, he was a member of the New England Patriots team (practice squad) that defeated Seattle in Super Bowl XLIX on Feb. 1, 2015.
Cornerback Justin Tryon (COC 2004-2005), a member of the college’s 2004 National Championship team, signed with the New York Giants on Oct. 4, 2011 and appeared in three games before injury forced him to be placed on season-ending injured reserve. However, Tryon received a championship ring as a member of Super Bowl XLVI Champion Giants.
Running back J.J. Arrington (COC 2002-2003) and defensive tackle Isaac Sopoaga (COC 1999-2000) are the other former Cougars to have played in a Super Bowl. Arrington was the first to do when he stepped onto the field vs. the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XLIII on Feb. 1, 2009. Sopoaga started for the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl XLVII vs. Baltimore Ravens.
During his lone season at Canyons, Pierre-Paul (COC 2007) registered 49 total tackles, 14 sacks and 19 tackles for loss to go with two forced fumbles and an interception. Those numbers earned the freshman All-Western State Conference and All-American honors. Pierre-Paul played his final year of college at the University of South Florida, after a stop at Fort Scott Community College in Kansas. He was then drafted by the NY Giants in 2010.
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— By Jesse Muñoz/COC Sports Information Director