Top 10 All Time Giants
Tiki Barber’s post retirement plans almost certainly didn’t involve him calling out his former quarterback and coach and falling from the good graces of Giants fans everywhere; but maybe he enjoyed the added publicity. His attempted comeback in 2011 never materialized, the same year the Giants would go on to win their second Super Bowl without him and with the same quarterback and coach he publicly criticized. Good riddance, but what a football player.
Drafted out of Virginia in 1997, he and his brother Ronde would be separated on the football field for the first time in their lives. Ronde would go on to find almost immediate success as a member of the Buccaneers, while Tiki mostly held a back up role in New York while returning punts and kickoffs. Even with limited carries and time lost due to injury, Tiki struggled with fumbles and establishing himself as anything beyond a supplemental back. Through his first three seasons he had less than 1,000 yards and only 3 rushing touchdowns, while fumbling nine times. 2000, the year the Giants went to the Super Bowl, would be Tiki’s first with over 1,000 rushing yards; he ended the season with over 1,700 yards from scrimmage but still had 9 fumbles.
The next three seasons would be much of the same, as he continued to put up yards and touchdowns but still experience fumble issues. In 2004 Tom Coughlin became the new head coach of the Giants, and with his entrance came a new mantra for Barber: “high and tight.” These two words brought a change in running style for Barber and an ascension into one of the league’s top backs.
From 2004-06, all with Coughlin, Tiki amassed over 2,000 yards from scrimmage in each season, leading the league in 2004 and 2005, and saw his fumbles drop drastically, losing the ball only 9 times in his final three seasons. It is these collection of seasons that validate his place on this list. Perhaps the greatest three year stretch to end a running back career in history, Barber’s 1,662 rushing yards are still the most ever in a player’s final year. His 2,390 yards from scrimmage total in 2005 is third all time, behind only Chris Johnson’s 2,000 yard season and Hall of Famer Marshall Faulk’s ’99 season. He topped the 10,000 yard rushing mark in his final season, and has over 15,000 yards from scrimmage for his career. He is the greatest running back in Giants history and his ability as both a runner and a pass catcher is something the Giants are still looking for. The lack of a championship, as well as his current standing within the Giants community are the main reasons for his placing. Still, he is undoubtedly one of the greatest Giants ever and may have even had a hand in motivating those Super Bowl winning teams.
Next: #8-A Super Bowl winning son-in-law