It really doesn't matter that the New York Giants lost Sunday. Not to the family of Jack Pinto.
Jack, a 6-year-old victim of the Newtown, Conn., shooting Friday, was a devoted Giants fan and adored Victor Cruz, prompting the receiver to wear Pinto's name on his cleats and gloves during Sunday's 34-0 loss to the Atlanta Falcons.
"It was emotional. I was fighting back tears to do it," Cruz told reporters after the game. "It felt good to honor a family that was going through so much and perhaps to think that messages go out to these athletes -- and some athletes just brush them off -- so it felt good to be one of the athletes that listened to that family and did something to pay tribute to them. It felt special."
The Giants donned helmet decals to honor the victims of the tragedy, but Cruz went one step beyond. After hearing about Jack on Twitter, Cruz called Pinto's family Saturday night. Cruz acknowledged he struggled to find words during the conversation.
"(I told them) to stay strong and understand that God has a plan, and things are unfortunate and things don't always go as planned -- to just stay strong," Cruz said. "They seem like a strong family. I also spoke to the (11-year-old) older brother, and he was distraught as well. I just told him to stay strong, and I'm going to do whatever I can to honor him."
Added Cruz: "(The older brother) couldn't say much, but just that I was his brother's favorite player. He was fighting tears, he could barely speak to me. So I was just talking to him, telling him to stay strong and stay positive. I'm going to help their family any way I can."
Like many parents around the country, Cruz pulled his own child -- newborn daughter Kennedy -- close when he learned of the events in Newtown.
"Just the thought of your little one or your child, your son or daughter going through something like that, it's unbelievable to just listen to on the news," Cruz said. "That night, I put my daughter in my bed with me, and we slept together, and it was a good feeling. It was one that I cherished that night."
Follow Marc Sessler on Twitter @MarcSesslerNFL.