I’ll preface the rest of this post by saying I don’t really have too many problems with Tiki Barber. His name is ridiculous and sometimes I think he might like dudes, but I can say that about a lot of people. Yeah, he’s a little bit of a pompous-poop on NBC’s bullshit “Sunday Night is Football Night” pre-game circus, but really, the network and its viewers don’t seem to mind it, so no big deal.
Somehow (at least in my book), he’s been able to avoid “full d-bag status”, even though he’s been guilty of dipping his foot in the murky, douche filled waters a few times this year. Like anyone, he wants to see if it’s worth jumping in. So far, he’s decided against it.
Now, he’ll have to do everything in his power to avoid being pushed into the douchewater’s deep end after the New York Giants advanced to the Super Bowl. Lets’ rewind to January of last year, when Tiki was criticizing Tom Coughlin before he even retired. He thought Coughlin’s hard-nose style of coaching was outdated. He didn’t think Coughlin would be able to lead the Giants to a Super Bowl in this “new age” of professional sports where athletes do and say whatever the hell they want. So, he decided to announce his retirement during the middle of the season, saying his “love for the game” was gone. Here’s what he said about his former coach:
"The grind took its toll on me and really forced me to start thinking about what I wanted to do next. And that's not a bad thing. That's a good thing, for me at least. Maybe not for the Giants, because they lose one of their great players, but for me, it is.”
Then just months after he retires, he starts criticizing Eli Manning for not being able to manage and led a team of “men”. In August, Tiki said this on national TV about Eli’s supposed inability to communicate with the Giants offense during a Week 12 meeting:
"His personality hasn't been so that he can step up, make a strong statement and have people believe that it's coming from his heart. He didn't feel like his voice was going to be strong enough and it showed. Sometimes it was almost comical the way that he would say things."
In fact, Tiki seemed to me hoping the Giants would fall flat on their asses after he left. He would say that he wanted the best for his former organization and teammates on NBC, but I always got this feeling that he was full of shit. Well, it’s ’08 and Tom Coughlin just coached his team to a Super Bowl berth. Eli hasn’t turned the ball over in 3 road playoff games, and people are beginning to think he might have turned the page from sucky to competent. Brandon Jacobs, Barber’s replacement, has been very good down lately, and the Giants seem more focused then ever.
Perhaps Tiki was the problem last year, perhaps he wasn’t; who really knows? However, I do know that people are going to want Tiki to admit that he was wrong about his characterizations of Coughlin and Manning. When faced with these questions, he can either be a man and admit he was wrong, or act like a little baby and defend what he said a few months ago. My hope is that he chooses the former. The Douche Bag Pool has already reached maximum capacity, and there’s no life guard on duty to save more people from drowning in its unforgiving waters.