Excerpt: "said he was saddened by the whole Georgia Dome experience, disappointed that he was held to three catches and 15 yards on a day he wanted to go deep like never before. Cruz was playing for a much larger cause than first place in the NFC East on Sunday, and the box score said he had come up painfully small.
The box score was a liar. Up in Newtown, Conn., inside the home of the late, great Jack Pinto, the devastated family of the 6-year-old fan who moved Cruz to tears, moved him to turn his uniform into a shrine, understood why the receiver was a big winner in a 34-0 defeat.
A woman who answered a call to Pinto's home and who identified herself as Jack's grandmother said the boy's parents needed more time and space before talking to a reporter about Friday morning at Sandy Hook Elementary School. But before she excused herself, the boy's grandmother did want to say one thing about the Giant who had spoken with Dean and Tricia Pinto and who had written tributes to their murdered son on his cleats and gloves.
"What he did was a wonderful, wonderful, incredible thing," Jack's grandmother said, "and we're so blessed that the entire world feels the same way."
So it really didn't matter that Cruz lost a football game to the Atlanta Falcons, or that the Giants found themselves shut out in a regular-season game for the first time since 1996.
America is a broken place right now, broken over Sandy Hook, and the country needs simple acts of kindness a lot more than it needs the weekly holiday that is an NFL Sunday.
All the Giants did their part, carrying the elementary school's initials on their helmets and on Tom Coughlin's cap, and observing a moment of silence in their Saturday team meeting and on the field before Sunday's kickoff. But Cruz became the face of his wounded team, the Giants' unofficial ambassador to Newtown.
He was Jack Pinto's favorite, and the child's parents told Cruz that Jack would be buried in the jersey he wore while watching the Giants on TV. No. 80 in your program, No. 1 in a lost boy's heart.
"I told them I was honored," Cruz said. "I couldn't even express to them how great that made me feel, and how big of an honor that is. … No words describe the type of feeling you get when a kid idolizes you so much that they want to, you know, unfortunately, like put him in the casket with your jersey on." Read more...