Victor Cruz may have played in just six seasons in the NFL, but he had several monumental moments during his New York Giants career.
Former New York Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz announcement his retirement from the NFL on Tuesday. Cruz will now work with ESPN as an NFL analyst.
The 31-year-old Cruz first burst onto the NFL scene in August of 2010 when he scored three touchdowns in the Giants 31-16 preseason victory over the Jets. Cruz would appear in three games in 2010, but did not catch a pass before being put on injured reserve with a hamstring injury.
Congrats and welcome to @TeamVic. The former #Giants WR and Super Bowl champion joins ESPN as an NFL analyst and will debut tomorrow. https://t.co/Nr56XysWfr pic.twitter.com/X2OAYVgbyh
— bill hofheimer (@bhofheimer_espn) August 21, 2018
Cruz worked hard to earn a roster spot in 2011 and little did anyone know at the start of the season, he would be one of the most valuable Giants on their road to Super Bowl 46.
Cruz would become one of the most popular players in Giants history as he was a local kid from Paterson, New Jersey who made it to the big time. His salsa dances after he scored a touchdown and the chants of “Cruuuuuuzzzz” will live in Giants fans minds forever.
It was hard to narrow this category down, but here the top five games of Victor Cruz:
Week 7 2012: Giants 27, Redskins 23
With the Giants trailing 23-20 with just 1:23 left in the game and at their own 23-yard line, it seemed as if they were on their way towards defeat. But fear not. Cruz did what he did throughout his Giants career and that’s to come through when his team needed him the most.
Cruz ran a seam route up the middle and Manning hit him in stride for the game-winning 77-yard touchdown. Cruz finished the game with seven receptions for 131 yards and that big-time score.
2011 Week 17: Giants 31, Cowboys 14
It was win-or-go-home for Big Blue in the season finale of the 2011 season. A win would give the Giants the NFC East crown for the first time since 2008. Just as he did for the entire season, whenever the Giants needed a play, Cruz delivered.
He scored the first touchdown on the game by doing what he’s done all season, take a short pass the distance.
This time it was a 74-yard gallop down the left sideline. Later in the game with the Giants holding onto a 21-14 lead in the fourth quarter, Cruz came up with a 44-yard reception that would lead to a field goal that put the game out of reach. He finished the game with six receptions for 178 yards and one touchdown.
2011 NFC Championship Game: Giants 20, 49ers 17 OT
In one of the hardest fought championship games in recent memory, Cruz put on one of the best postseason performances in Giants history. Despite the game being played mostly torrential downpour, Cruz finished a game-high 10 receptions for 142 yards.
His ability to beat cornerback Carlos Rogers consistently was one of the main reasons the Giants advanced to Super Bowl 46.
Week 16 2011: Giants 29, Jets 14
Cruz made arguably the biggest play of the Giants 2011 season in this game. With the Giants trailing 7-3 and backed up at their own 1-yard line, Cruz caught a pass at the 11 yard and broke free of two Jets defenders on his way to a record-tying 99-yard touchdown.
The Giants would ride Cruz’s touchdown not just to victory over the Jets, but this would be their first of a six-game winning streak that culminated with their 21-17 victory over the Patriots in Super Bowl 46. Cruz finished the game with three catches for 164 yards and the one touchdown.
Week 3 2011: Giants 29, Eagles 16
This is the game where the salsa dance was born. Injuries to Mario Manningham and Domenik Hixon thrust Cruz up the depth chart. Cruz made the most of his opportunity as he caught three passes for 110 yards and two touchdowns as the Giants won in Philadelphia for the first time since 2008.
Cruz’s first touchdown of the game came on a short pass thrown by Eli Manning that Cruz turned into a remarkable 74-yard touchdown. Cruz eluded two Eagles defenders and raced down the left sideline. When he got in the end zone he did his first of what would be many salsa dances.
In the fourth quarter with the Giants trailing 16-14, Cruz would score his second NFL touchdown on a 28-yard strike from Manning that would put the Giants ahead for good.
Cruz's career highlights
- Super Bowl 46 champion
- 2011: Second-Team All-Pro
- 2011: Giants single-season receiving yards record (1,536)
- 2012 Pro Bowl