Congratulations to Victor Cruz, #80, Wide Receiver for the New York Giants, the BadaSSitude Pro Football Player of Week 17, the last week of the 2011 NFL regular season. In a week of record breaking performances by our standout nominees, Cruz’s performance against the Dallas Cowboys was as good as it was possible be in a winner take all contest and deserving of the honor.
Victor Cruz’s football story is more unlikely than most. The twenty-five year old Patterson. NJ native played his college football at the University of Massachusetts. But he did not start a single game until his junior year. That notwithstanding, by the time he left UMass, he was ranked fourth in the school’s all-time receptions list.
Cruz entered the 2010 NFL draft but he went undrafted. The Giants then signed him as an undrafted free agent. He spent most of the 2010 season on the injured reserve after appearing in three games in which he did not have a single catch. In Week 3 of the 2011 season, Cruz was catapulted up the pecking order from fourth receiver because of injuries to Mario Manningham and Domenik Hixon.
Now, thirteen weeks later, the unlikely star has had a spectacular record breaking season. He has caught 5 including five touchdown passes of 68 yards or more. He tied the NFL record with a 99 yard catch against the New York Jets in Week 16 and he set a new franchise single season receiving record for the New York Giants at 1,536 yards on 82 receptions.
Against the Dallas Cowboys in Week 17, he was clutch. It seemed like whenever the Giants offense needed a crucial catch, an important yard, an acrobatic play, Eli Manning looked for Cruz. And Cruz somehow found the ball and the yards. For the game, he caught 6 catches for 178 yards and 1 touchdown. The Giants won 31-14 and Victor Cruz was the BadaSSitude Pro Football Player of Week 17!