PATERSON, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Eight days until the Super Bowl, the Giants’ road to glory runs through Paterson, with a huge sendoff for hometown hero Victor Cruz.

Cruz basked in the glow of a packed pep rally Saturday, humbled by the thousands-strong turnout.

“I want to thank all of you for coming out here and supporting me all my life. Some of you all seen me since I was a little kid and you’ve seen me grown up and become a man and I want to thank you for coming out and supporting me. And we’re going to the Super Bowl!” Cruz told the thousands of fans.

LISTEN: WCBS 880’s Alex Silverman reports

The crowd, overwhelming at times for the wide receiver, was so massive, Cruz could only sign a few autographs before he was ushered away.

“He’s one of the best. The Giants are lucky to have him on the roster,” said Alex Valencia.

“He’s awesome. He’s great,” said Jason Perez of Perth Amboy.

P.S. 21 hosted the rally, chosen because the 25-year-old rising star attended the school for three years. Much of the school is covered in his pictures.

“The fact he’s Latino from Paterson, it’s just awesome,” said Cesar Ventura.

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