Victor Cruz on Giants Super Bowl reminiscences, ‘excellent’ Eli Manning move – MajorUpdates

Post columnist Steve Serby caught up with 2011 Big Blue Super Bowl champion Victor Cruz for some Q&A earlier than the group celebrates the 10-year anniversary of that title.

Q: Is it arduous so that you can imagine that it’s been 10 years since Super Bowl XLVI?

A: Man … I knew today would come. While I used to be there, you see the ’07 group come again, otherwise you see the 1990 group come again, and also you’re simply seeing all these guys and also you’re like, “All right, that’s gonna be me (chuckle) one day.” And now the day’s come. It’s a loopy feeling.

Q: One second from that season that stands out to you about Eli Manning?

A: I keep in mind in San Francisco within the NFC [Championship] sport, I’m coming again to the huddle, Eli’s getting pummeled, and I see him rise up, and there’s grass in all places throughout his face, chinstrap up by his nostril, he’s type of like on his knees like on his approach up, and bought within the huddle, all of the offensive linemen cleaned him all up, he buckled up his chinstrap and referred to as the following play — and by no means batted an eye fixed, by no means like … and I used to be similar to, “I gotta win for this f—ing guy.”

Q: What do you consider him and Peyton Manning on ESPN2’s “Monday Night Football”?

A: It’s unimaginable, like Eli’s flipping birds … like what are you doing, Eli? (chuckle). But I feel it’s nice for people to lastly see their dynamic and the way they’re and the way a lot enjoyable they’ve collectively. It’s actually like a peek behind the scenes of only a dinner desk with the Mannings, which is fairly cool.

Q: Describe one second from that season about Brandon Jacobs.

A: After we beat the Atlanta Falcons [in the NFC wild-card game], he was standing type of on the sideline speaking to Mr. [Steve] Tisch, and he’s pointing at me in his Brandon Jacobs approach yelling on the prime of his lungs, he goes, “I promise you, if we play like this, we gonna beat Green Bay, we gonna beat everybody, it’s not gonna matter!” That was him. He wore his wore his coronary heart on his sleeve, he yelled most likely extra occasions than he talked softly, however he was enthusiastic about his group and he cherished us to demise.

Q: One reminiscence about Justin Tuck from that season?

A: We would have sneaker battles, proper? Like, we had been each sneaker guys. And we’d decide one sure sneaker and designers, too, and see who might put on that actual shoe in all of the totally different colour schemes that we had all through the week of follow. So daily, if it was a Jordan 3, we must put on totally different variations of Jordan 3s all week lengthy. The subsequent week we’d decide one other one. … Us having our sneaker wars inside the facility.

Q: Who received?

A: I imply, I received, in fact. He received’t admit that, clearly, if I do know Justin. But I took the crown.

Victor Cruz celebrates the Giants’ Super Bowl victory.

Q: What made him the chief that he was?

A: I feel, one, simply having already been on the pinnacle, proper? Like, he’s already received a Super Bowl. He’d already been to that mountaintop and he knew tips on how to get there. He knew there was a journey, he knew there was an extended highway, and the best way that he carried himself, the respect that different gamers had for him, each on and off the sphere. I feel you simply noticed that instantly once you met him, and his demeanor, you knew that he was a pacesetter that led not solely along with his voice, however like he was gonna go on the market and put it out on the road for you between the strains as properly.

Q: One reminiscence from that season of Osi Umenyiora?

A: Osi would at all times touch upon my vogue (chuckle). I keep in mind him being within the locker room, he would at all times stroll by, like after we had been touring and all people’d be having their fits on, and he would stroll by my locker, and cease, have a look at me, and quit a thumbs up or a thumbs down (chuckle), after which we’d go about our approach. But I keep in mind being like the style advisor I didn’t know I needed.

Q: Could you think about what it was like for quarterbacks going up towards that Giants move rush?

A: No approach. The sort of expertise that we had, the herd of beasts that they had been, the best way that it was coming from all angles … the best way they competed with themselves. … I might stroll by their assembly room, and like after a sport, everybody’s simply rewatching the sport and make corrections — they’d be screaming on the prime of their lungs at like whose sack was higher, whose transfer was higher. … And I used to be similar to, “These guys are absolute animals,” and I feel that degree of completion was good for them to deliver their “A” video games out every week, man, and it paid off.

Q: One Hakeem Nicks reminiscence from that season?

A: Oh, man, there’s so many. When there have been special-teams conferences, we’d be in our receiving room trying over movie, actually simply me and him and Mario [Manningham], too. I didn’t actually play loads the yr earlier than, so we’re nonetheless making an attempt to get to know one another. This is in the direction of the tip of the yr now, possibly just like the final two weeks of the season. I type of knew, however that is when it was vocal to me that I, like, bought his respect. And it was once I walked into the room, and he checked out me, and he was like, “Man, you balled out this season, you did your thing like on a different level.” And I used to be similar to, “Thank you man, like I couldn’t have done it without you.”

Q: Any fond reminiscences from that season about any of the offensive linemen?

A: Two issues: One was David Diehl. No matter the place I used to be on the sphere, regardless of the place I fell, regardless of the place I caught the ball and fell all the way down to the bottom, Dave Diehl was at all times the primary individual there to choose me up. Like he was one of the well-conditioned offensive linemen that we had, and if I caught a 20-yard move, and I fell on the bottom and I bought up, he was the primary individual there to love dap me up and decide me up off the bottom. Secondly, Kareem McKenzie simply being probably the most mild big human being that I’ve ever met in my complete life. Nothing made him offended, by no means was like off-kilter, was probably the most even-keeled man whereas he was simply mauling people on the surface week in and week out (chuckle). And how a lot your entire offensive line simply performed by harm, they performed by being harm, they simply performed by a lot, man.

Q: What do you keep in mind about Eli’s relationship with these guys?

A: There’s one occasion through the Super Bowl that just about embodies it. Eli arrange a dinner for all of us at St. Elmo’s [a renowned Indianapolis steakhouse]. We’re strolling to St. Elmo’s from the resort, and I used to be like, “Are you sure you want to walk? It’s the Super Bowl, guys, and we’re in it!” So, increase, we stroll out of the resort, all 5 of our offensive linemen, are surrounding Eli, all through your entire stroll. Like, actually in like a fortress the place nobody might get to him, and we walked easily all through some streets all the best way into the restaurant. And I used to be like, “There’s no way we’re gonna lose this game now. We’re too much of a family to even remotely lose this game.”

Q: One reminiscence from that season of Tom Coughlin?

A: The reminiscence of him calling me into his workplace after I made the group, and he stated, “Hey, if you don’t put up the same amount of energy and output that you put out the year before, there’s some guys on the waiver wire that we’re looking at.” (chuckle). And I used to be like, “OK. Noted.” That very subsequent week was Week 3, towards Philly [3-for-110, two touchdowns], and the remainder of his historical past.

Q: That was your first salsa, after your 74-yard catch-and-run landing?

A: It was put into my ear on the time by my coach, clearly Coach [Mike] Sullivan. And it was simply on my thoughts. As a lot as I didn’t wish to have it on my thoughts, I used to be similar to, “Well, what if I do get in the end zone?” And I used to be similar to, “Man, if I get in there, maybe I’ll do it, whatever.” And the primary I catch I’ve … and I used to be similar to, “Well damn, I gotta do it now. It just makes sense.” And then I keep in mind coming residence, my grandmother noticed it, I assume they aired it on the Spanish channel, ’trigger that’s the one channel she watches. She was like, “From now on, every time you’re out there and you score a touchdown, you gotta do that dance.”

Q: What did that one do on your confidence?

A: I imply, it was by the roof. It actually simply proves to me that I can play at this degree and that like I belonged.

Q: Describe your 99-yard catch-and-run landing up the sideline on Christmas Eve towards the Jets.

A: We had been backed up, actually not doing something as much as that second, after which to make the play that type of catapults us and places some life into your entire group, I used to be pleased to be the one to do it.

Q: So that’s a top-three second for you, possibly?

A: Hundred %. Hundred %.

Q: What’s your No. 1 second?

A: The No. 1 second must be the Super Bowl, proper? Scoring a landing within the Super Bowl, you dream about that as a child. My sister gave me a e-book once I was 7 about me being a soccer participant and being within the Super Bowl subsequent to Jerry Rice. It was like this bizarre e-book. It’s like an precise e-book, however they make it customized so that they insert your identify inside the storyline. Basically the storyline was me watching the sport on TV, falling asleep, waking up, I’m within the sport. … And then I find yourself like kicking the game-winner, which is hilarious (chuckle). And quick ahead, I’m within the Super Bowl, Jerry Rice is strolling the sideline, and I’m right here scoring a landing.

Victor Cruz salsa dances after scoring a landing within the Super Bowl.
Anthony J. Causi

Q: What was one Coughlin speech from that season?

A: Gotta go along with the Super Bowl, proper earlier than the Super Bowl, he gave an unimaginable speech. You might really feel that it got here from his coronary heart. It was a type of issues the place it actually simply motivates us, you may inform it motivates us to play for him and to win this sport and to proceed to meet all of our legacies, together with his. … He advised us he cherished us on the finish, that like he wouldn’t trade us in for the world type of factor.

Q: Were you conscious that the Jets had lined up the Giants’ Super Bowl logos earlier than that [Christmas Eve] sport?

A: I had heard the commotion, however I feel I discovered like at halftime.

Q: Was it further satisfying ruining their playoff bid?

A: I imply, in fact. If you look carefully on the 99-yarder proper on the very finish, I type of like take a few he-ho steps and throw the ball into the Jets brand into the wall. Snoopy Bowl, all of the chips on the road to go to the Super Bowl or proceed to be within the hunt to go to the playoffs, we knew what was driving on it. We didn’t wish to disappoint.

Q: Describe the environment on the wild-card playoff sport towards Atlanta.

A: Oh, my goodness, man. I’ve been to some massive video games at MetLife, however to see the decibel degree of the voices in there, it was simply the loudest I had ever heard it. If I keep in mind appropriately, they gave all people white towels, and it was simply completely electrical in there, and it was only a sound and a second that I’ll always remember.

Q: The Packers in Green Bay had been subsequent?

A: Cold, chilly, chilly, chilly, chilly.

Q: How did you deal with the chilly?

A: I feel we simply type of blocked it out. We made a acutely aware resolution to go no sleeves. I simply made certain my chest was insulated and I used to be in a position to nonetheless be cell and catch the ball and make all of the strikes I needed to make. Having that mindset with all of us, it actually simply made me be free and simply play, I wasn’t fascinated about the chilly till these TV timeouts that make it arduous to not.

Q: Describe Nicks’ Hail Mary TD catch earlier than halftime.

A: That was one for the ages.

Victor Cruz breaks freed from the 49ers protection.
Charles Wenzelberg/New York Post

Q: Your sport within the NFC Championship sport in San Francisco once you had 10 catches for 142 yards?

A: I used to be simply relentless, man. It was a type of video games the place I felt like all people’s watching, all people again house is watching, I can’t exit like a punk (chuckle), what I imply? Like I gotta be certain that they really feel me on this one. And I feel Eli knew that, too. I feel subconsciously or on his thoughts, he was like, “I’m gonna look for Vic early and often.” I might really feel Coach [Kevin] Gilbride [offensive coordinator] setting me up for achievement all through the week of follow, which gave me all the boldness on the earth as soon as sport time got here round.

Q: And when Lawrence Tynes kicked the game-winning area purpose in extra time?

A: I imply, we’re going to the Super Bowl, child! I simply keep in mind realizing in that second like: “I’m about to go to the Super Bowl and play in the highest game of my life, the game that I’ve been dreaming about since I was a kid, since the first time I turned the TV on and saw what football was.” Like … I’m going to that sport. I used to be operating across the area like a little bit child, simply having fun with that second, man. It was a surreal feeling.

Q: Did you guys get pleasure from being underdogs once more, 4 years later, towards the Patriots?

A: We cherished being that group that no person anticipated to win.

Q: How about Manning-to-Manningham?

A: Oh, my god, that’s most likely probably the most excellent ball I’ve ever seen Eli throw … ever. The approach he put it proper within the pocket, Mario doing what he does finest, tight-roping that sideline like he at all times does … it was simply excellent. And I keep in mind trying on the replay once they had been difficult it or going by the play, and me counting, like him catching it and taking the 2 steps and simply being excited that he truly bought the 2 toes in, I used to be simply going loopy.

Q: No doubt in your thoughts that Eli’s a Hall of Famer, appropriate?

A: Not a single doubt, man. Two Super Bowl wins, two Super Bowl MVPs, slayer the dragon that’s Tom Brady twice. He’s in there for certain, in my e-book.

Q: You’ll be 35 subsequent month. If Brady’s enjoying at 44, why can’t you play?

A: (Laugh) I’ve been saying that to myself daily, man, each single day.

Q: What had been you pondering when Tom Brady was throwing deep on the finish?

A: I used to be holding my breath, man, I used to be pacing backwards and forwards the entire drive, after which when he threw it up within the air, and it felt prefer it was within the air for 3 hours, after which when it lastly got here down, I noticed Gronk [Rob Gronkowski] type of dive for it, and as soon as it hit the bottom, I used to be similar to an enormous sigh (chuckle) of reduction.

Q: What stands out to you about Kadarius Toney?

A: The explosiveness. It’s been some time since we’ve seen this sort of explosiveness in a participant when he has the soccer in his palms. He’s type of lengthy and stringy in a approach, however he’s compact and makes all these strikes in a brief house which I like.

Q: In a approach, he’s a mix of you and Odell Beckham Jr.?

A: Yeah it’s a little bit little bit of each ’trigger he’s powerful in the course of the sphere, he finds methods to get open in there, however that catch he made on the sideline over the [Cowboys] defender was Odell-like too. So he does a little bit little bit of all the things, which I like.

Q: What are your ideas on Daniel Jones?

A: I’ve each religion in him that he’s the man for the job.

Q: And Joe Judge?

A: I like him, man. He’s a straight shooter, and he holds these guys accountable for all the things that they do. And I like that, and I feel they rally round that, and I feel the group is embodying that character in that side of him, and I feel it’s solely gonna pay dividends in the long term too, do, they simply gotta keep the course, ?

Q: You began the Victor Cruz Foundation in 2012?

A: We do a variety of nice work locally with the Boys & Girls Club simply getting youngsters to study science, expertise engineering and math (STEM) in a enjoyable, cool approach. I went to a White House Science Fair, and I simply noticed these younger youngsters making these various things, they usually had been not more than 12, 13 … some youngsters had been 10, 11 years outdated making these super-cool merchandise, and I needed to deliver it to the children from my hometown [Paterson, N.J.].

Victor Cruz joins 50 youngsters from the Boys & Girls Club of Paterson and Passaic for a holidays procuring spree along with his basis.
Natan Dvir

Q: Did you meet President Obama?

A: I did, I did! He even talked about my identify in a speech, which was completely insane.

Q: What do you believe you studied your feelings will likely be on Sunday?

A: Just nostalgic, like I’m simply excited to only undergo reminiscence lane, and be with the fellas, and simply have that camaraderie again for that day. I’m excited simply to be across the guys once more, man, and reliving these moments and the tales that I most likely forgot about, that I’ll hear once more.

Q: How outdated is your daughter, Kennedy, now?

A: She’ll be 10 in January. She was born Jan. 9 of 2012. The day after the Atlanta sport, she was born.

Q: Will she be there Sunday?

A: Yeah, I’m gonna deliver her with me.

Q: What do you hope the legacy of the Super Bowl XLVI is for Giants followers?

A: I simply need them to consider only a bunch of dudes that simply scrapped. We didn’t care what occurred, we had been simply gonna proceed to combat. We by no means doubted ourselves, man, and I simply need the followers to know that we had been a gaggle that by no means, ever stop. There was by no means any stop in our eyes, and we knew that we had the expertise to be particular that yr, and we actually dug deep and bought it finished.

Q: What do Giants followers imply to Victor Cruz?

A: I simply assume it’s been an unimaginable journey, and I don’t assume it’s even near ending, I feel it’s nonetheless being written. But to have my journey play out in entrance of my hometown, and in entrance of my hometown followers, in entrance of my household, in entrance of all of the hundreds of thousands of Giants followers the world over, man, it’s simply been an unimaginable trip. And the followers, they at all times present me a lot love in all places I am going. I’m in Dunkin’ Donuts, and I’m signing autographs for the man’s daughter. … I simply love the love, I simply love that everybody thinks of me as their household.

Q: What do you hope Giants followers say about Victor Cruz’s legacy?

A: Aw man … I simply need them to only consider me as certainly one of them. I used to be actually an individual that got here from simply down the highway in Paterson and performed in entrance of my household, that’s the legacy I need, I need it to be like a household. And I at all times needed to have the ability to come again and faucet into my Giants household — followers, teammates, all people.

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