Sunday, February 3, 2008
My Super Bowl MVP: Tiki Barber
Amongst all the talk about ending the Patriots perfect season and the coming of age story for Eli Manning, one thing I couldn't help but wonder is how much does it just suck to be Tiki Barber right now? I'm trying to picture the scene at the Barber house right now, somewhere in or around Roanoake, Va., where Tiki is sitting in his favorite chair thinking to himself about how he could be celebrating a Super Bowl Championship muttering "God damnit" in a quiet, disappointed tone.
Barber's absence is probably the sole reason why the Giants were able to be so successful this postseason and especially tonight, as the thunder and lightning attack of Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw tallied just a combined 87 yards but held blitzing Patriots off of Eli Manning all night. Jacobs proved especially valuable in the crucial fourth and one conversion on the game winning drive.
One has to doubt that with Barber still on the team, where the Giants would have ended up this year. This would have been a storybook way to end your career (just ask Jerome Bettis) but Barber just couldn't wait to trade in his jersey and pads for some wing tips and a microphone. Good call Tiki.
With all the past problems Barber had with Michael Strahan and coach Tom Coughlin, Tiki surely would have found a way to turn the team against each other and fuck up the season. Without him, all the Giants did was complete the biggest upset in the history of the NFL. Tiki's storied feuds with Michael Strahan are enough to provide for evidence that he's an absolute team cancer. In 2002 when Strahan was negotiating a new contract with the Giants, Barber had the audacity to publicly criticize him.
"That is absolutely ridiculous, to turn that down," Barber was quoted in saying. "He's already the highest-paid defensive player in the league. He's already making more than most quarterbacks...Michael is not thinking about the team; he's thinking about himself"
Strahan, who also held out earlier this year for the entire preseason, responded then to Barber's comments by saying.
"Who is Tiki Barber to shoot his mouth off? What has he done? He talks like he's acting in the best interest of the team. Tell him to give his $7 million (signing bonus) back. Since he's so charitable, why doesn't he volunteer his $7 million? He says all the politically correct things. Ask him if he's giving up some of his money."
You tell him Mike, you're the one with the ring and the name now as part of the defensive line that was able to shock the world and sack the invincible Tom Brady five times in one game, the most of any team this season. What does Tiki have? As far as I'm concerned, just some older, saggier balls and an Asian wife who could just as eaily be 25 or 50.
It would have been 100 times more hilarious if Barber had actually been at the game in the announcer's booth. Think he would have had the balls to actually pick the Giants before the game? I think not. But Tiki's moved on to bigger and better things now, covering hard news and politics, because that's so much cooler than winning the Super Bowl. Another good call by Tiki.
I hope it was all worth it Tiki, you just had to go out on your terms, didn't you?
Chances the Giants had of making it to the Super Bowl and upsetting the Patriots with Tiki Barber in uniform this year: 1 in 500. Chances that Tiki is regretting retiring last season and not staying on for one more year: 100 percent. Humor surrounding his dumbass decision combined with the amazing victory and his overall douchebaggery: priceless.