Monday, January 21, 2008

Tiki the difference maker

Last season we heard from Tiki Barber - often - on how bad a coach Tom Coughlin is. It continued through this year in a book he published, accusing Coughlin as being the reason for Barber going into an early retirement.

Barber was considered by many (outside the locker room) to be the leader of the Giants. We heard and read a lot about the Giants being "Tiki's team."

Barber criticized the head coach, and his quarterback.

To a man, the Giants that have publicly responded, blasted Barber.

Under Barber, Eli Manning showed little to no signs of progression from his rookie year until...well, until Barber left. This is largely the same team that Barber left.

Yet now they click.

Interesting that not a single former Giant teammate of Barber's has come to his defense, but they have all rallied around their coach and their quarterback. Even Terrell Owens, a noted locker room cancer, still had (public) supporters in the San Francisco and Philadelphia locker rooms after burning those bridges with nuclear devices. Barber has had none. Zero. Zip. Not one former teammate has come out and said anything even vaguely like, "look, Tiki's a good guy and a friend. He's not here this season, so he doesn't know how Eli, or Coach are this season," or even, "based on his experience here the last couple of seasons, Tiki's not saying anything that's not true, but it's a different atmosphere this year."

But none of that happened.

Instead, the biggest difference that Barber has made for the Giants this season was to take his divisive, malcontent attitude out of the mix.

Interestingly enough, the team got even better when their trash-talking, injury-prone tight-end ended his season on the injury list. The two biggest trash talkers (sure, Barber didn't talk trash so much about the opponents as he did his own team) on the team either leave or have absence enforced on them and the Giants get better and are headed to the Super Bowl. Coincidence? I think not.

1 comment:

David Sullivan said...

Tiki is horrible on NBC.