WOODSIDE (KPIX 5) — Several Bay Area natives played major roles in Super Bowl LIII on Sunday, but only one of them was named the game’s Most Valuable Player.
MVP award winner Julian Edelman plays wide receiver for the Super Bowl champion New England Patriots, but he grew up in Redwood City and attended Woodside High School.
Steve Nicolopulos, his former coach at Woodside High, was not surprised.
“You could see the leadership qualities that he had. You could see the desire. And anything he set his mind to, he accomplished,” said Nicolopulos, who now works as a PE teacher at the school.
Edelman wore #1 and played quarterback at Woodside. As a senior in 2004, he lived up to his jersey number by going undefeated and winning the Coveted Central Coast Championship.
Nicolopulos said Edelman had God-given talents, but faced many obstacles along the way.
When he was not offered a scholarship out of high school, Edelman played junior college ball at San Mateo. After he was drafted out of Kent State by the Patriots, he was turned into a receiver.
He missed all of last season with a knee injury and drew a suspension for the first four games this season after violating the NFL’s performance enhancing substance rule.
After all of that, he came back with a series of clutch catches to win Super Bowl LIII’s Most Valuable Player award.
“I just think that it’s a testament to his will and desire to achieve what he set out to do,” Nicolopulos said.
Edelman’s high school photo and trophies are still on display at Woodside High.
“It’s pretty cool that he went to this school. And we can just take a lot from it,” said Isaiah Henderson, a senior who played running back for the Wildcats in 2018.
Other players say it gives them something to shoot for.
“I’m proud of him, because he’s a smaller player and he plays with a lot of grit,” said junior receiver David Silk.
Quarterback Brody Crowley, also a junior, said “I’m proud that a guy from our hometown, Redwood City, can do such a big accomplishment.”
It was the seventh time a player from California’s Central Coast Section has won the Super Bowl MVP award.
Julian Edelman now joins San Jose’s Jim Plunkett, who played at James Lick High School, and San Mateo’s Lynn Swann and Tom Brady — who both played at Serra High — with that prestigious award.