All Times EDT
All Times EDT
The Springfield Falcons (3-5) saw their postseason run come to …
The Springfield Falcons will attempt to prolong their …
A British citizen living in Westport has been convicted in a …
Brad Marchand scored with 4:20 left in the first overtime and …
Updated: Tuesday, 24 Jan 2012, 8:45 AM EST
Published : Monday, 23 Jan 2012, 5:12 PM EST
AMHERST, Mass. (WWLP) - This Patriots, Giants Super Bowl isn't just exciting for fans in western Massachusetts. The majority are Patriots fans, but the clear number two team in this area is the Giants.
There are also some local connections. Springfield's Ron Brace and Amherst's James Ihedigbo are on the Patriots. UMass alum Victor Cruz is on the Giants. Giving a little notoriety to western Massachusetts football.
James Ihedigbo starred at Amherst Regional High School. He had to earn a scholarship at UMass. Now he's going to the Super Bowl. "I just pointed up to my mom in the stands and said we're going, we're going to Indy," said Ihedigbo.
Giants receiver Victor Cruz will join his fellow Minuteman in Indianapolis. "I don't even know how to put it into words, I'm happy to be here, it's been an amazing ride this year," he said.
Victor Cruz isn't from western Mass, but he and Ihedigbo had similar paths to the NFL. Both went to UMass, then became undrafted free agents. They had to work hard to make an NFL team and work even harder to stick on a roster.
Their relationship began when Cruz was on a recruiting trip to UMass. "I was his recruit when he came on a visit, I showed him around and convinced him to come to the zoo, and how great of a school it is," said Ihedigbo.
UMass football coach Charley Molnar wasn't in Amherst when Ihedigbo and Cruz were here, but he understands the bond between those guys. "I think any time a players hosts a player and comes to school, there's always a tie forever. Those guys are always attached. It will be really interesting to see those guys going head to head in the Super Bowl."
That can happen. Ihedigbo is a safety for the Patriots, his job may be to cover Victor Cruz and if that happens, a lot of people in western Mass will have a big smile on their face on Super Bowl Sunday.
"I think the first time Victor Cruz goes over the middle and James hits him, you're just going to have everyone explode it's going to be a great moment," said Ken Jacque, who coached Ihedigbo from 1999 to 2001.