Victor Cruz became a household name practically overnight in 2011. During his first full season with the New York Giants, he quickly became one of the league’s top receivers, catching 82 passes for 1,536 yards and nine scores.
His magic carpet ride, which the rest of the New York Giants hopped on for a 2012 Super Bowl victory, all started in Philadelphia in Week 3 of the 2011 season, when he made three catches for 110 yards and two touchdowns, including the game-winner.
Cruz did his patented salsa dance celebration in the end zone of Lincoln Financial Field. The image of him dancing in the end zone at the Linc during a win likely remains etched in Eagles fans’ memories, Cruz acknowledged.
“I think that’s the problem that they remember all of that, and now they just don’t like me even more,” Cruz told Fox News Digital in a recent interview.
Cruz is in Glendale, Arizona, for Super Bowl LVII, where he and fellow former NFL receivers Larry Fitzgerald and Cris Carter have teamed up with On Location to give fans the thrill of a lifetime throughout Super Bowl Sunday.
Meeting up with Eagles fans has become inevitable, and Cruz, 36, admits he’s “very afraid” to cross paths with them this week.
“These guys are relentless. These Eagles fans, they don’t have much decorum, man, if I’m being honest,” he said. “They’re just gonna be running up on me. I’m hitting the stage on Radio Row, and I made the mistake of wearing green. I wasn’t even thinking about it. I wore like a green outfit, and they were already giving me crap. I’m just like ‘It’s Thursday guys. At least wait til Saturday, Sunday to start giving me crap.’”
Cruz knows all too well about the hostility in Philadelphia. When he tore a patella tendon in 2014 at Lincoln Financial, Eagles fans didn’t exactly wish him well.
However, they’ve treated him more nicely in retirement.
“It’s definitely love now. It usually leads with, ‘Hey man, you had a great career, appreciate you.’ And then it’s like, ‘But your team sucks.’ It starts with love, but then it always ends in a banter, for sure,” he says.
Eagles fans have a lot to boast about. They went 14-3 in the regular season, and Jalen Hurts, who was the favorite to win the MVP before a shoulder injury, is 16-1 this season, including his two playoff wins.
Philadelphia, much like the 2011 Giants, kind of emerged from nowhere. Many figured they’d fight for a playoff spot, but few thought they’d be one of the league’s elite.
Cruz said Eagles fans view their squad as a “team of destiny.”
“I think that’s exactly how they’re feeling. I think they feel like they found gold with Jalen Hurts. Just this entire team — Nick Sirianni, the coach — they kind of embody his energy, his swagger. It pains me to say, but I feel like they’re gonna be good for quite some time,” the former Giant said. “The next few years, they’re gonna have a good, solid core of a football team and really be able to do some strong things.
“But this year, I think they’re just like, ‘Look, we’re riding this wave, we’ve rode this wave all the way to the Super Bowl.’ It’s been a fantasy ride all year long, and let’s see if they can close it out with the same level of excitement that they have been all year long. … I think the Eagles and the Eagles fans feel like this is the team of destiny this year, and it’s theirs to lose.”
The Eagles will aim for the second Super Bowl title in five years when they take on the Kansas City Chiefs. Kickoff is at 6:30 p.m. ET Sunday on FOX.