A player's first Super Bowl is always a revelation, not only for the player, but also for those watching.
It can ultimately reflect his status and ability by either reiterating his regular-season persona, or distinguishing that self from the one that does or doesn't show up on the big stage.
Jason Pierre-Paul was a sophomore at Fort Scott Community College in 2008 when the New York Giants defeated the New England Patriots 17-14, and probably could not fathom then that the trajectory of his career would place him on the roster of the current Super Bowl 2012 contending Giants.
Nevertheless, Pierre-Paul has arrived as a regular-season stalwart in his second year with the team, registering 16.5 sacks (the most since another decent defensive end named Michael Strahan led the team in 2003 with 18.5), and is primed to be one of the more impacting Giants in tomorrow's game.
Although he had 16.5 sacks in the regular season and no one can question his athletic ability and speed from the end position, Pierre-Paul's ability to shrink the pocket with pressure on Tom Brady consistently will prove to be more vital to the final outcome of the big game.
Brady is nearly infallible in his abilities as a quarterback, yet his effectiveness is marginalized in situations that require more mobility.
The kind of ability Pierre-Paul has to exploit these scenarios over the course of the game will be significant.
Jason Pierre-Paul doesn't have to put Brady on his back to be effective, much less pressure him on every snap.
Just his presence alone will result in enough double-teams by the Patriots offensive line, in enough situations that his teammates will have the necessary openings for exposure.
This is especially prevalent to Justin Tuck's abilities on the other end of the defensive line; the Patriots quandary is not stopping one prominent pass-rusher, but two—a formidable undertaking to say the least.
Pierre-Paul has not had the kind of postseason thus far that accurately emulates his level of productivity in the regular season.
He has been held to only half of a sack thus far; this is further magnified by the fact that the Patriots offensive line has been far more efficient in their protection of Brady in the playoffs, only allowing one sack to this point.
Despite the contradictory progression of both Pierre-Paul and the Pats line so far in the postseason, in the 2012 Super Bowl, the former's athleticism and speed will prove wearisome enough over the course of four quarters to capitalize on the momentary mental and physical lapses by the New England O-line.
Although first and foremost a formidable pass-rusher, Pierre-Paul's abilities as a run-stopper are significant enough that even if he is limited in the pass rush, he can have an impact.
He had 23 tackles for losses and 86 tackles overall in the regular season, proving his versatility is not limited to his direct-path pursuit of the quarterback; rather, he is tireless enough to inflict mayhem in other areas of the field.