I gotta be honest: I don’t get excited about football very often. My sports identity came at just the right time, too: I’ve been alive for all three New York Giants championships, and the Super Bowl usually came around my birthday until a few years ago. Yet, I never really caught onto it the way I had with basketball and baseball (in that order). Yet, I can’t help but think about the intriguing connect between (arguably) the hottest quarterback – wide receiver combo in the NFL: Eli Manning and Victor Cruz. Eli Manning, the #1 overall draft pick traded to the Giants in the 2004 draft, already had the “Manning” mantle from father Archie Manning and older brother Peyton Manning. Victor Cruz, on the other hand, went undrafted from the University of Massachusetts and later signed with the Giants in 2010.
The average #1 overall draft pick in the NFL has done much better than the undrafted lot. But in no way does that mean that undrafted players have no chance of doing well in the NFL. Warren Moon. Antonio Pierce. Kurt Warner. Antonio Gates. One might call their success luck, but oftentimes, luck means being absolutely prepared for when the very small window of opportunity strikes. Giants fans never forgot his performance against the Jets in the preseason game back in 2010, and neither did his coach. That performance kept him on the roster even after his stint on the injured reserve list through his first season. When he came back, he looked like he had been in the league for years.
Throughout this season, it seems like Eli Manning’s lob down the field or towards the end zone had a chance of getting into Victor Cruz’s hands. Usually, he had to shoot it through a very small gap. It didn’t matter: Victor Cruz was obviously prepared for when it did get to him, so much so that he beat the single-season record for most receiving yards by a Giants. Much of our success has to do with placement and natural talent, but sometimes luck does come into play.
When luck comes through, we ought to as well.
Jose, who needs to break into a mean salsa …