Victor Cruz Pays Tribute to Sandy Hook Victim, and More NFC East News

Brad Gagnon NFL National ColumnistDecember 17, 2012

Courtesy of CNN/New York Daily News
Courtesy of CNN/New York Daily News

It's often hard to think about day-to-day life while distracted by football. But this weekend, the reverse was the case, as it was harder than usual for most of us to focus on football while we kept the victims of the tragic school shooting in Connecticut in our thoughts and prayers.

Victor Cruz of the New York Giants was among those with more than football on the mind as the Giants played the Atlanta Falcons Sunday. While the entire team paid tribute to victims of the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Cruz paid a personal tribute to a 6-year-old fan who was killed Friday morning. 

The boy's name was Jack Pinto, according to Ralph Vacchiano of the New York Daily News, and Cruz apparently spoke with Jack's family after learning he was a big fan of his. 

More from Vacchiano: 

Jack was such a big fan of Cruz that his family is even considering burying him in Cruz's No. 80 Giants jersey, Cruz said. "It was very humbling to hear how big of a fan he was and how they were thinking about putting my jersey on him for the services," Cruz said. "It was an emotional time. It really shows you what type of effect that athletes have on kids. Not just seeing you on TV. They want to be you. They idolize you. They wear your jersey everywhere.

"It really showed me how real it is to be a role model. It was definitely humbling for sure."

On his cleats, Cruz wrote, "Jack Pinto, My Hero" and R.I.P. Jack Pinto" and on his gloves he wrote "Jack Pinto, This one is 4 U!" Here's a picture from Vacchiano:

Usually, writing messages of any kind on your uniform will get a player fined, but something tells me the NFL will look the other way in this case. 

The Giants didn't win nor did they play well on Sunday, but that doesn't change the fact they took the field to honor those who died. And while I can't imagine what Jack Pinto's family is going through, there's a chance that knowing one of the NFL's best players spent a game with Jack on his mind will at some point give them a little bit of extra comfort. 


I understand this isn't the smoothest transition in the blog world, but here's what else is being talked about this morning in the NFC East:

Dallas Cowboys

From Jon Machota of the Dallas Morning News: Jerry Jones says it doesn't bother him that there were so many Steelers fans at Cowboys Stadium on Sunday.

Nick Eatman of writes that the 'Boys have suddenly become consistent.


New York Giants

In a Newark Star-Ledger poll (albeit one with not a lot of votes), 54 percent of Giants fans think the team will miss the playoffs. I asked who'd win the division in a Giants-based post yesterday, and with a much larger sample size of voters, almost twice as many people picked the Redskins over New York.

Vacchiano writes that the Giants still control their own playoff destiny. In fact, that's the case with every team in the NFC East except Philadelphia, obviously.


Philadelphia Eagles

The Eagles are only the third team in NFL history to go eight games without an interception. Plenty of juicy, embarrassing stats where that came from (CSN Philly's Reuben Frank).

From Zach Berman of the Philadelphia Inquirer: Andy Reid says his son's tragic death hasn't had an impact on the Eagles' season.


Washington Redskins

From Dave Sheinin of the Washington Post: Robert Griffin III wasn't happy with the team's decision to keep him out of Sunday's game in Cleveland.

From the ABC affiliate in Cleveland: There was an altercation between several members of London Fletcher's family during Sunday's game at Cleveland Browns Stadium, which reportedly led to three family members getting arrested.