Put it this way: Maybe the country had already heard of that Cruz kid on the Giants, but it took him less than one quarter to show the largest NFL Sunday night audience in history what the fuss was all about.
“The weird thing is, it felt like another game, even though you can definitely feel the energy, and you know it’s the big stage,” Cruz said. “All the lights were on and we had to perform.”
Here’s the catch: He refuses to overstate it — destroying Dallas only means the Giants earned the right to play on and gather momentum toward the ultimate goal, he said. The only personal significance, however, is measured this way: “I just hope it means that the work I put into the game this year — prior to the lockout, in the film room, getting prepared for whatever role I was going to get — is paying off for me,” he said. “And you learn being in the right place at the right time is everything.”
He laughed at what his life has become these past four months, then added, “Remember, this is still pretty astonishing to me, too.”
We’re glad somebody finally mentioned that.
The thought won’t go away that much of this Giants season was fueled by a miracle. Victor Cruz’s emergence was not something one could predict, and this is something we may never see again. It’s not some Damn Yankees sequel. Sure, competitive teams always need an upstart or two to provide real impact, but they don’t become a “co-MVP” of their teams, which was the term Justin Tuck used to describe Cruz the other night.
So now this 25-year-old kid — who in August was on the preseason bubble, who couldn’t run a decent route, who couldn’t hold onto the ball — is a household name.