Giants receiver Victor Cruz burst onto the scene last year with a breakout season, complete with a distinctive touchdown celebration dance that honors his Puerto Rican heritage.
So, where did the idea of doing the salsa after touchdowns come from? As it turns out, it was former Giants quarterbacks coach Mike Sullivan, now the Buccaneers offensive coordinator, who urged Cruz to perform the dance after touchdowns.
“Well my grandmother was the one who taught me how to do the dance and I remember my coach, Coach Sullivan, who was our quarterback’s coach at the time, when I was getting my first start against Philadelphia,” Cruz told WFAN’s Mike Francesa, per sportsradiointerviews.com. “[Sullivan] was like, ‘Man, you gotta do something to represent your culture and your ethnicity and all Puerto Ricans and Latin people all over. He’s like, ‘You gotta dance in the end zone.’”
Cruz was initially reluctant.
“At first I was like, ‘Coach, I don’t know if I am going to dance in the end zone,’” Cruz said, recalling a conversation with Sullivan during a practice. “I told him yeah to get him out of my face and we could continue practice and then right before the game he looked at me at that point and was like you gotta do it. I was like alright coach. Low and behold early in the game I catch a pass and I am going down the sideline and I am about at the 5-yard line and in my head I am like man I gotta do this dance now. I put the ball down and I just started dancing. I got really into it once I started doing it and it kind of took a life of its own after that.”
Cruz broke out the dance on after his first NFL touchdown, a 74-yard reception against the Eagles last September. It was that game that Cruz felt he had “arrived” as an NFL receiver.
“I think it was the Philly game,” he said. “The first game of the season I played against the Redskins and I dropped a pass and it was the worst thing. I felt the worst in the world because I finally got in the game and I finally got into the regular season. First play of the game I run an out route and I dropped a ball and then I didn’t get an opportunity again until some guys got hurt and Week 3 came and I was getting my first start. I had a great game and I felt like I had arrived. I arrived. I made it. First regular season game that I really made my mark and I really felt like I arrived in that game.”