Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The Tuesday Chop Block: Cruz's Salsa, Mild or Spicy?

Where to start? Week 13 is in the books and the playoff picture is piecing together, albeit slowly.

The Rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer in both conferences; that was the general and not so surprising trend throughout the NFL's first December weekend. If the season ended today, the Lions, Raiders, Jets, and Titans would all be out. Meanwhile, the dazed and confused Bears and slowly-sinking Bengals would barely make the dance.

In the NFC we saw the playoff picture for the Packers, 49ers, and Saints shift into focus during week 13. But at the bottom we witnessed the beginning of a feeding frenzy for the NFC East crown, and the last two wildcard slots.

The AFC is even less straightforward. The bubble is immensely crowded, with another feeding frenzy brewing at the bottom. Five teams are about to lock horns in a battle for the final two spots, and I'll look at all the possibilities in a separate post later in the week.

For now, let's drop all the scenarios and talk dancing. This is The Tuesday Chop Block after all...

On Saturday in The Gang Tackle, we wrote about Bob Costas' rant on the subject of NFL TD celebrations. How dare he attempt to slander this long and storied tradition of NFL touchdownery? We were remiss in that column when we failed to mention the player who deserves the NFL's award for TD Dancer of the Year. That's Victor Cruz in my book. Check the YouTube video at the top of the page if you can't quite place the name with the a face.

If you don't know Cruz yet, just think electrifying receiver or game-changer. Either would suffice, but both might be more accurate. In addition to talent, Cruz is lovable. He doesn't taunt or seek to bring others down. He just wants to let his family know he loves them each time he scores a touchdown, and what better way to do that than to shake the money maker?

I love Victor Cruz's TD Salsa, because it's got that South American thing. It's got class (something admittedly lacking in many NFL Touchdown dances) and it's got sizzle, and if sponsors aren't lining up at this kid's door right about now, I'll be damned.

Anyway, all this TD celebration talk got me wondering where this Victor Cruz kid came from... Is he a former ballroom dancer from Havana? Is he the next Ricky Martin? Who taught him that kick-ass touchdown dance, and is he ready to sign up for Dancing With the Stars?

I mean, after 13 weeks, 7 TD's (including some stunning highlight-reel-grade ESPY material) and 1,076 yards, shouldn't we know more about this undrafted 25-year-old game-changer?

Of course we should.

Deion Sanders said Cruz needs to do a better job with his hands on the NFL Network this week, but those hands haven't stopped Victor Cruz from amassing over 1,000 yards in his sophomore NFL season. And, in case you were wondering, Cruz isn't from San Jacinto or Havana. He's from Paterson, NJ. It's 21 minutes north and west of New York city.

Oh, and yes, you guessed it, Cruz loves to dance.

"Somebody brought it up to me that I should do some of that in the end zone," Cruz said of his dancing, in this piece by written by Adry Torres for Fox News Latino. "My grandmother, when I was growing up, you know how they would always put that music on during the weekends, she would grab me up and we would start dancing,"

So there is the personal twist to go hand-in-hand with his meteoric rise to the top of the Giants depth chart. Cruz loves to dance and he loves his family. Who doesn't want to get behind that?

***Obscure piece of info from the same Fox News Latino piece: Cruz is of Puerto Rican-American descent, and his mother's favorite singer is this suave-sounding dude.***

If not that, can you get behind this? Cruz is only 16 yards behind Calvin Johnson and Steve Smith for 1st in the NFC in receiving yards, and he's tied for the NFL lead with 6 receptions of 40 yards or more.

With three straight 100-yard games, Cruz appears headed for a nice finish. That's good news down the stretch for fans of the dance like me.