Giants Should Thank Rex Ryan For Super Bowl Run
Victor Cruz enjoyed the spotlight of media day last Tuesday, sporting a large sombrero, constantly dancing, and responding predominantly in Spanish to most questions asked of him. Cruz savored the feeling considering several times this season, he was nearly cut in favor of WR Derek Hagan. The New York Giants and Cruz have a familiar face, in particular, to thank for keeping Cruz and his outbreak this season, leading the Giants to a subsequent late-season title run: Rex Ryan.
The Giants felt that Cruz’s future would be better suited if he spent time on the practice squad, but with that plan came the question of whether or not he would clear waivers for the Giants to claim him back. The answer to that question was a clear “no” thanks to the neighboring, outspoken New York Jets head coach, Rex Ryan. Hoping for Cruz to clear waivers was just that: an optimistic hope, not a realistic plan by any means, and that has been asserted by the Giants front office.
Chris Mara asserted in an interview with the Newark Star-Ledger, “He wouldn’t have made it to the practice squad” and later acknowledged the Jets’ clear interest.
So why the Jets of all teams? Why would they, as opposed to the rest of the NFL teams, be particularly interested? Well, the Jets are awfully familiar with Cruz, who dazzled in a 2010 August preseason game between the two New York teams. Cruz scored three touchdowns on six receptions and amassed 164 yards in that preseason game where Cruz was battling for a roster spot.
The Giants knew the Jets were able to see first-hand what Cruz was capable of doing on the field from that game alone, but the Jets’ interest was confirmed by Ryan after in an interview: “I hope they cut him. I know one team that would be ready to sign him, and that’d be us.”
The Giants knew that once they waived Cruz, they would never see him again. They knew that cutting veteran Derek Hagan instead would yield a different, less-interested response around the league. If Ryan uncharacteristically kept his mouth shut, things may be different. It may be different for the Giants success but also the Jets themselves. Recall that it was Cruz who had a 99 yard touchdown catch that was instrumental in getting the Giants in the playoffs in the first place. Also recall that it was against the Jets too, who were also playing for a playoff spot at that point.
It must pain Rex Ryan to watch his biggest rival the New England Patriots march into yet another Super Bowl game. Poor Ryan though can’t necessarily root against the rival Patriots whole-heartedly on Sunday. Ryan was brought into New York to take the Giants off the front page and make the Jets the marquee team in New York. Not only has he failed to do that as the Giants are playing in the Super Bowl on Sunday as they are on the golf course, but he has directly contributed to the Giants’ run, since he, and his mouth, kept Cruz in a Giants uniform.
Whether Bill Bellichick or Victor Cruz gets to hoist the Lombardi Trophy on Sunday night, Rex Ryan will be beside himself. And he only has his mouth to blame.