SAN FRANCISCO — Victor Cruz knows a thing or two about dancing in the Super Bowl. It was four years ago Friday, in fact, that he broke out into his trademark salsa after catching a touchdown pass in the Giants’ win over the Patriots in Super Bowl XLVI.
Odell Beckham Jr. has never been to a Super Bowl, but he, too, has drawn attention for his celebratory moves in the end zone, sometimes to the point where his dances overshadow the actual scoring plays that facilitated them.
So while Cam Newton may turn Super Bowl 50 into Dancing with the Stars on Sunday and has drawn a good amount of criticism for his actions from the country’s no-fun police in that regard, the two Giants receivers are encouraging him to keep doing his thing on the biggest stage he may ever have.
“I don’t mind it,” Cruz said from Radio Row at the Super Bowl on Thursday. “Keep dancing if he wants to dance. He’s in the Super Bowl. He’s danced his way all the way to the big game. If you have a problem with it now, you haven’t been watching for the past 19 weeks.”
“He’s enjoying himself throughout this entire thing and I think that’s the biggest thing,” Beckham Jr. said. “People fail to realize that you put a lot of hard work into what you do and your craft and how you are on the field. Those extra moments that you have, those are moments that you never get back. Those are moments you’ll never have again. So you take advantage of it, you enjoy it, you make them remember them forever. I think he’s doing a great job.”
Cruz, who missed all of 2015 with a calf injury that required surgery, said he is rehabbing and strengthening the muscle and looking forward to playing in 2016 for the first time in what would be close to two full years. He said the Giants have not yet approached him about trimming his sizeable contract numbers — he is due to make $7.9 million in 2016 with a cap hit of $9.9 million — but is not concerned about it.
“I don’t care about that stuff,” he said. “I realize the way I came into this game was on a humble opportunity and wherever this goes, I just want to play. It’s been two years of not playing. I just want to go out there and play and whatever happens after that happens.”
Beckham, who was speaking by phone while promoting his upcoming commercial for Buick that will air during the game, said he is in a bit of a pickle over which team he is pulling for. On one hand is Peyton Manning, who went to the same New Orleans high school as Beckham and is the brother of Beckham’s quarterback, Eli Manning. Adding in the sentimentality factor adds to Manning’s case.
“Hearing that this may be his last one, and you never know, but to see him go out on top would also be great,” Beckham said.
But then there is Newton, with whom Beckham feels a more kindred spirit.
“I’m probably one of the bigger Cam Newton fans that there is,” Beckham said. “I just love the way the guy plays, his charisma, his personality, his swag. Everything that he brings is just so great. To be able to see somebody like that, it’s almost like this is destined for him. To see him win it would be great.”
And to see him dance. Both Cruz and Beckham had praise for Newton’s moves.
“Cam’s got it going on, man,” Beckham said.
“Top-notch,” Cruz noted. “He’s getting it done.”
Newton is known for his dabbing and his nae-nae, but it would be interesting if he ever changed it up and went with a more traditional dance. Say, perhaps, the salsa?
“That’s a tricky one for him, I don’t know if he can,” Cruz said. “But I think if he tried it, just like everything else he’s done this year, he’d be pretty good at it.”