It's the world's biggest party. And it's right in his backyard.
There's no doubt that Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz was the man about town in Manhattan during the week leading up to Super Bowl XLVIII. Cruz, who grew up in nearby Paterson, N.J., attended multiple parties this past week and hosted his own in the Meatpacking District on Saturday night.
During the day Saturday, he appeared with celebrity chef Anne Burrell at Time Warner Cable Studios to help host about 300 children from the Boys and Girls Clubs around the New York area as part of the Connect a Million Minds initiative.
But as much fun as he had, Cruz said this wasn't quite what he envisioned he'd be doing at the start of the football season.
"It's definitely bittersweet as an athlete because as an athlete, you want to play in this game," Cruz said Saturday. "You want to be the first team to host a Super Bowl in their home state and home city. It's unfortunate it couldn't happen. But as a Jersey boy, I'm happy it's in my backyard. I've always dreamed of having the Super Bowl in my city."
Cruz enjoyed himself, though, because he knows that the party is just about over and that he and the Giants have plenty of work to do this offseason.
Nothing turned out the way he thought it would for Cruz and the Giants this season. The Giants, who won the Super Bowl two years ago, missed the playoffs for the second consecutive season after opening 2013 at 0-6. Cruz, who led the team with 73 receptions for 998 yards, missed the final two games to have an arthroscopic debridement of his left knee Dec. 19.
Cruz said his knee is responding well and that he is looking forward to getting back and working with new offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo.
Before McAdoo got the job, Cruz and other players publicly rooted for former Giants quarterbacks coach Mike Sullivan to take over the offense.
Cruz said he recently sat down with McAdoo and likes a lot of his ideas.
"I've met with our offensive coordinator for 20, 25 minutes talking football and what he plans to install. I'm excited," he said. "I think he's going to bring a different type of offense, an up-tempo offense. It's a change that we need. I think it's all about a fresh face and doing something new."
Cruz knows there could be a lot of new faces in the 2014 season. The Giants have 24 unrestricted free agents, and one of the biggest names is fellow receiver Hakeem Nicks.
"I don't know anything about what's going on with him, but I want him to stay a Giant," Cruz said. "That's the selfish side of me. He needs to do what's best for his family. And there's going to be a lot of decision-making that goes on from the front-office standpoint. I'm just excited to get back on the football field, because I think we have a team that can get back here."
Here, of course, means the Super Bowl. It will be in Glendale, Ariz., next year, and if he's there, he won't be able to party the same way. But that's just fine with him.
Said Cruz: "I've had a lot of fun with it this week. But I'd much rather be playing in the big game."