Atiim Kiambu Hakeem-Ah "Tiki" Barber (born April 7, 1975) - Giving proper credit to his birth name. He was a second-round draft pick out of Univ. of Virginia.
Positively-summarizing "Tiki" Barber's career: (Courtesy of WikiPedia - source I don't often quote) - Originally considered a third-down, "change of pace" back, Barber became a standout starting running back and the all-time leader in rushing yards in New York Giants history. In 2005, he was the NFL's top yardage gainer from the line of scrimmage. He was voted by his peers to three Pro Bowls. From 2003-2006, Tiki Barber gained the most yards from scrimmage by any NFL running back in that 4-year period.
Most would probably agree that description alone affords an NFL running back consideration for the Hall Of Fame; a four year period of dominance as the number one yardage/all-purpose guy at your position, and during which included a season in which you were the NFL's all-around number one! Looking even closer though at Barber's career we'll find that there are even more facts to support strong consideration for the H.O.F. Barber's Career Statistics (courtesy of ProFootballReference.com).
Many guys that are talked about for possible consideration, but fall short, are compilers; guys that needed long careers of (productive) time to get to a high level of total yardage or touch downs, etc. Barber on the other hand did so in a relatively short span of time, having a 10 year career in which he didn't become a full-time starter until his fifth season. He started a total of 20 games combined in his first four while rushing for an overall total of 1,800 yards and 1,833 yards receiving out of the backfield, working primarily as a third-down back.
- 2001 to 2006 saw Barber take over the starting RB role and his production go through the roof, this six year period saw his rushing total rise to 8,616 yards and receiving totals of 3,208.
- His combined total of 11,824 translated into the astonishing fact that over that six year period Barber averaged just under 2,000 total yards from scrimmage, per season, as a running-back.
- Retired as No. 23rd all-time leading rushing leader with 10,449 yards.
- Retired as No. 12 RB with 15,632 total yards from scrimmage and No.12 with 17,357 all-purpose yards.
- I've heard and read many writers and analysts state that to be considered for the HOF the sampling of a player's career has to be more than over a short period of time, like Barber's 5-6 year period (of dominance).
- Most would use the rationale that he wasn't 'THE GUY', playing during the same time-frame as Emmitt Smith (15yrs), Curtis Martin (11yrs), Marshall Faulk (12yrs), and LaDanian Tomlinson (11yrs).
- Some would even point to Barber's aloof-ness, and off-field less than warm reception by the former hometown fans and personal family issues (to them I say, come on people were talking about his on-field career and status. Need I remind everyone that he is the Giants' All-Time leading rusher!)
The fact that he played during the era of each of the mentioned backs, among others, was both not Barbers' fault nor should it have any bearing on how great his career was considered to be. I would say that Barber's totals should actually get even greater consideration, noting the fact he sits only 1,800 rushing-yards behind HOF'er Faulk and that over 82% of his production totals came during that stellar six-season stretch.
Look also at the fact that the aforementioned RB's were starters essentially from day one of their careers while Barber languished being pigeon-holed as a third-down only guy for his first four seasons; its safe to say that his overall numbers would be the same if not better than most of his contemporaries if he had been given the keys to the car from day one, as they had been!
Lastly, name another high-profile offensive weapon on the Giants during that stretch of time, that was a multi-year All-Pro and carried the offense (TE, Shockey maybe; WR, Toomer consistent, but no). Barber essentially carried the Giants' Offense during that period; 5 season's of 2,000 yards per passes the eye test for me for H.O.F. consideration!
Share your opinions: Did Tiki Barber do enough to, belong with the game's great running-backs, warrant enshrinement into the NFL's Hall Of Fame?