Earlier this week, Jason Pierre-Paul sat back in his Pompano Beach, Fla., home and talked about the inspiration of his life.
"Growing up as a kid, my father was always there," Pierre-Paul explained.
And when Pierre-Paul -- then a precocious pass-rusher for the New York Giants only a month past his 23rd birthday -- found himself headed to Super Bowl XLVI in Indianapolis two years ago, he wanted to repay the debt.
Thing was, his father Jean, a Haitian immigrant, had never been to one of his son's football games. He's been blind since Jason was a baby. His hearing, along with his other senses, became so acute over the years in compensating for the loss of vision, that Jean never wanted to deal with the roar of the crowd. But two years ago, he made an exception.
And although Jason, the fourth of six children, had a game to play -- against the New England Patriots, no less -- he worried about his father.
"Is he going to be all right?" he wondered. "Does he need noise-canceling headphones?"
His father smiled and said, "Let it ride. I'm going to sit there and just watch the game -- hear the game."
The Super Bowl is the ultimate accomplishment for a player. When victory has been achieved, their first thought is usually to find the people who made that long journey with them. This sometimes desperate, dislocated search through the postgame chaos has produced some iconic images:
• Drew Brees, after winning XLIV in South Florida, cavorting with his son Baylen Robert, age 1. Baylen was wearing those noise-canceling headphones -- and a tiny No. 9 Saints jersey.
• Tom Brady, hands on head in amazement after the Patriots' victory in XXXVI, looking for his sisters through a blizzard of confetti.
• The Harbaugh brothers, a year ago in New Orleans, fighting through a scrum at the middle of the field and embracing awkwardly after John's Ravens defeated Jim's 49ers in XLVII.
Three years ago at Cowboys Stadium, Clay Matthews completed that journey, too.
"I was first looking for my family, not only because of what I had been through, but what you put your family through," Matthews explained recently. "It's the time and commitment that not only you sacrifice, but your family, your siblings, your significant other.
"Everybody is a part of this. And so you just want to share it with them."
For Steelers linebacker Larry Foote, the aftermath of Super Bowl XL was almost as strenuous as the game itself. Pittsburgh beat Seattle 21-10 at Ford Field in Detroit.
"The rules in the Super Bowl are people can't come down on the field," said Foote, "so of course they were jumping over the rails. I had to catch every person in my family. And I had a couple of people that were plus-size -- I'm not going to say their names.
"We got all 10 women over without a problem but my macho uncle, Skip, had the hardest time getting over the rail; his leg got stuck. So when he reminds me of the time I missed a tackle or tries to make fun of me, I say, 'You couldn't even get your leg over in the Super Bowl.'"