Philadelphia: Birthplace of the Salsa ... Victor Cruz style

Elsa - Getty Images

The Victor Cruz salsa dance was unveiled in Philadelphia last season. That means it is time to celebrate some of our favorite Cruz salsa dances.

It all began in 2011 at Lincoln Financial Field.

With injuries to Mario Manningham and Domenik Hixon, Victor Cruz had the opportunity to make his first NFL start. All that was important was for Cruz to seize the opportunity and show the NFL world what he's got.

Boy, did he ever.

Cruz had his first two career touchdowns that Sunday, and introduced the world to his touchdown salsa dance. "That was the first salsa. There's been a lot of salsa's since then," said Cruz.

How exactly did it all begin? In his book Out of the Blue, Cruz explains that before the game, quarterbacks coach Mike Sullivan approached Cruz in the locker room and reminded him that it was Hispanic Heritage Month. "If you score a touchdown, you should do something to celebrate the month in the end zone."

Cruz thought about it and then it hit him...the salsa dance. He went on to explain why:

"My abuela taught me the salsa at a very young age. I was a rambunctious little kid, always running around and causing trouble in our apartment on East Twentieth. One day, when I was about five years old, she sat me down and told me she was going to focus my energy into something fun. We did it all--the merengue, the bachata, and the samba. My favorite dance of all, though, was the salsa. She'd put her favorite Tito Puente vinyl record on the record player, and we'd dance for hours in the kitchen. Papi would smile and laugh, sipping on his black coffee in his rocking chair.

I'd seen Terrell Owens shake pom-poms, Joe Horn break out a cell phone, and Clinton Portis do a cartwheel, but no one had ever done the salsa in the end zone. It'd be a tribute to my grandmother and my Puerto Rican roots. It'd also be pretty fun."

It came and went when Cruz broke tackles from Kurt Coleman and Nnamdi Asomugha and ran 74 yards to get his first NFL touchdown and salsa.

Victor Cruz first nfl touchdown...salsa celebration (via lougotmail)

"And without much second thought, I broke out the very same salsa dance my grandmother had taught me on East Twentieth Street twenty years before.

Step, step, step. Move your arms. Shake your hips.

The salsa!"

After the game, Cruz had gotten a phone call from his mother. She said, "Your abuela heard about your salsa dance from all of her friends. She loves it. She wants you to do it every single time!"

The Cruz salsa has become quite the phenomenon all around the NFL. Aside from the also now famous "CRUUUUUUUZ" chant the Giants fans made up, Cruz's touchdowns also get fans on their feet, dancing in celebration. Here is a young kid that no one knew before 2011 and he was lighting up the field with his speed and talent, and he had one of the most unique touchdown celebrations out there.

It even had some of his teammates giving it a try...

Giants Players Do The Victor Cruz Salsa Dance (via ESPN)

Cruz's grandmother passed away just before this season's Week 2 game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. When he scored a touchdown he did a special salsa dance for her. It's my personal favorite.

Victor Cruz Touchdown and Andre Brown 2 pt. conversion against Tampa Bay 16-09-2012 - NYG (via Schnappie501)

Here are some other' from last season. Which one is your favorite?

Victor Cruz Touchdown Salsa Compilation (via LucidDreamZzZ)

Cruz and the Giants are returning this weekend to face the Eagles at Philadelphia for the first time since that Sunday where the salsa dancing came to life. Cruz mentioned that he was looking at this game as a "business trip," but he acknowledges that game as his breakthrough to the NFL.

"It was kind of the first game for me," said Cruz. "Obviously I got a start, I got an opportunity, and I made the best of it. It's kind of where the Victor Cruz story originated."

Follow Kelsey O'Donnell on Twitter @KelsODonnell

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