Tiki Barber is not alone on this year’ preliminary Pro Football Hall of Fame ballot but unlike 100 other names on that list he has a special bond with one of the 102. That is his twin brother Ronde, who together with Tiki form the only team of twins ever on the ballot.
While his brother was roaming the secondary for a Tampa Bay Buccaneers team that would eventually win a Super Bowl, Tiki Barber was rushing for over 1,000 yards six times, including in each of the final five seasons of his 10-year career.
Barber averaged 4.7 yards per carry and gained nearly 16,000 yards from scrimmage for the New York Giants, numbers that have gained him admittance to the Giants’ Ring of Honor and now have him knocking on the Hall of Fame’s door 12 years after his retirement. Had he played one more season he would also have a Super Bowl ring like his brother but he decided early in 2006 that despite eventually rushing for 1,662 that year and averaging 103.9 yards per game he was done with pro football.
Few players leave at the top of their game but Barber did. Why?
“Life was getting more interesting outside of the game,’’ Barber said Talk of Fame Network’s weekly SB Nation Radio show.
Barber had by then developed a second career in television that would quickly lead him to a position on the morning “Today’’ show. That coupled with the fact his mind no longer wanted to work his body as hard as he felt was necessary in the offseason to compete at the level he felt he should led him away from what would become for the Giants not only a Super Bowl season in 2007 but one in which it derailed the then undefeated New England Patriots.
Does he regret that choice?
“No,’’ he said firmly. “I didn’t want to put in the work anymore. I wouldn’t have been any good. I knew the only way I was great was working my ass off.’’
Barber was by then ready to do that in another venue, the world of radio and television broadcasting. Barber currently hosts a CBS Radio show, “Tiki and Tierney’’ with co-host Brandon Tierney but has also held spots at Fox-TV in New York, on “Today’’ and even in a video for the Dave Matthews Band.
That’s a Hall of Fame life. Will it also be a Hall of Fame NFL career? Barber doesn’t know but he admits if he and his twin brother both got in that would be a trip.
“All I can control is talking about my career and what I did,’’ Barber tells Talk of Fame Network. To hear more, including his thoughts on the coach he so often feuded with, two-time Super Bowl champion Tom Coughlin, tune into your local SB Nation Radio Network station or download the free podcast at iTunes or by using the TuneIn app. You can also find this interview and the entire show on our website every Friday at www.talkoffamenetwork.com.
This week joining Barber is 1980s All-Decade safety and Hall of Fame nominee Deron Cherry whose 50 career interceptions and six consecutive Pro Bowl appearances haven’t yet been enough to even put him on the Hall’s annual final 15 list. Cherry is aware 68 percent of all Hall of Famers won an NFL championship and his teams were never quite able accomplish that. If that’s what separates him from Hall of Famers Cherry admits, “It’s very frustrating.’’
“Every year you try to be the best player at your position,’’ said the three-time All-Pro. “I think I accomplished that. It’s an injustice that they look (so heavily) at championships.’’
Cherry has some interesting takes on the coach who helped save his career after he first entered the NFL as an undrafted college free agent punter, Marv Levy. And he recalls the “unlucky’’ day he tied an NFL record with four picks in on a rainy day in Seattle when he might have had nine if his fingers were dry.
Also joining us is former head of officials Mike Pereira, who now works as Fox-TV’s rules analyst to breakdown the apparent breakdown in communication over what roughing the passer actually is. There have been 34 roughing calls in just three weeks, more than double that of a year ago after a new “emphasis’’ was added on the definition of roughing that Pereira feels has “gotten out of hand.’’ Hear his reasoning why and also why he believes a change will be made before the season is out.
There’s all that and much more each Wednesday night with Talk of Fame Nation on SB Nation Radio or any time on our free weekly podcasts.