Barber, Tiki

pp97 barberCards: PressPass ’97, Playoff Contenders 2004
Acquired: In Person 5/19, 610 Houston Fan Fest 2013

Tiki is the black sheep of the New York Giants family. It seems that the job of the media and the fanbase is to judge players for the decisions that they make on and off the field. So when a promising player decides to retire and then is sharply critical of his former franchise, there may be a bit more vitriol aimed at him when he fails. Barber retired suddenly from the Giants after breaking 10,000 yards and becoming the franchise’s all-time leading rusher. He then joined the morning show “Today” and was critical of both his teammates and his coaches. Soon thereafter his contract was not renewed after he was caught cheating on his wife. While there is no such thing as an infidelity clause, Barber drew negative attention to himself which may have had an influence on their overall decision. Barber then decided that he wanted to return to football, but no team, other than the the UFL Las Vegas Locos were willing to touch him, and Tiki wasn’t interested in going there. He has remained in retirement, making occasional public appearances, writing books, and also has appeared as a celebrity judge and commentator on TV and radio.
poff04 barberTiki was a prolific runningback coming out of college in 1997 from the University of Virginia. He’d be drafted in the second round of the draft, as a 3rd down scat back compliment to now aging Rodney Hampton.

While his first two seasons were spent coming off the bench for the Gaints, his ascension to the #1 spot was probably hastened by the retirement of  Hampton after an injury plagued ’97. Barber was not expected to do much other than be a 3rd down option, – at 5’10”, 205, scouts and coaches just didn’t think he had the frame to take an every down pounding, so Tiki set out to prove them wrong.

It was in 2000 that Barber turned the corner, raking in over a thousand yards rushing and a career high 719 yards receiving leading the Giants back to the Super Bowl only to lose to the smothering Baltimore Ravens defense. Still Tiki was content and after an underwhelming 2001, Barber put together 5 straight seasons of 1200+ yards rushing.

tiki barberIn 2006, Barber suddenly retired, after kicking the tires on it all season. A frustrating year didn’t help matters either, and there we have it. Barber’s accolades include being a 3 time AP, the Giants All Time leading rusher, and a member of the Giants Ring of Honor. While the team has been accommodating to Tiki, many Giants fans have not forgotten his criticism. This has translated to his popularity, which seems mired in negativity based on his post retirement decisions. Still Tiki appears to not outwardly let it bother him, and was gracious and kind to all the fans in attendance at the Fan Fest this year and I was really happy to get him, considering his abysmal response rate TTM.

G/Gs 154/109   Rush 2217  Yds 10449  Avg 4.7  Td 55 Lg 95t |
Rec 586  Yds 5183  Avg 8.8  Td 12  Lg 87t  |
KR 27   Yds 544  Avg 20.1  Td 0  Lg 41
Pr 122   Yds 1181  Avg 9.7  Td 1  Lg 85t