Dear New York Giant Fan,
We're writing you today on behalf of former star running back Atiim Kiambu Hakeem-Ah, (or as he was better known), 'Tiki' Barber.
You must remember him, #21, he came to the Giants out of the University of Virgina, started out as a bit of a fumbler but went on to put together some of the most incredible seasons from the running back position the NFL has ever known.
Unfortunately, since his seeming premature retirement after the 2006/2007 season, (or even a year earlier in the aftermath of a 23-0 playoff wipeout at the hands of the Carolina Panthers and ex Giant Defensive Coordinator John Fox when he and a couple of other outspoken teammates threw Giant coach Tom Coughlin and his staff under the proverbial bus), Tiki has more so suffered from fumble-itus of the mouth if not an altogether implosion of his once ultra-bright public persona, and at the New York Giants recent Ring Of Honor ceremony he was the only former team star roundly booed by the fans in full blown half time attendance.
Of course, he did make some very unfriendly remarks toward Eli Manning considering only months before the opening of the 2007 season they had been sharing the same offensive backfield.
He referred to the young Louisianan's leadership skills as "almost laughable", which might have been an opinion shared by others, even numerous others within the ever wide Big Blue universe, except he was the one to say it out-loud, he was the one who appeared to quit on the team prior to the season by retiring with plenty of juice left in the tank, and he also happened to be persona very non grata at the scene of Super Bowl XLII where the self same Son Of Archie led the NY Giants to one of the great upsets in Championship Game History by defeating the then unbeaten New England Patriots 17-13.
As history indelibly recounts, Eli won the MVP of that epic contest. Tiki's once shining star had by then begun to rapidly diminish and then on top of everything in the most public way possible he had to go and dump his very pregnant wife of eleven years, Ginny, for a 23 year old baby sitter/model, Tracy Lynn Johnson, (okay she was also an intern at NBC), and from there the resulting impact to his football playing legacy has been something very close to slow, impending death.
All that having been said though, lately, especially in lieu of this past, turnover plagued Giant season, we, or I, found myself once again thinking of Tiki Barber the football player.
How great he was, how big he came up when huge games seemed lost. The amazing cutback runs, and all the punishment the 5-10, 200 pound back took as a last resort, over the middle receiving option for Eli Manning when holding onto the ball meant he would almost undoubtedly be on the receiving end of a bone crunching tackle from behind.
He kept getting better as his career progressed and his final three seasons, 2004-2006, those we should really be remembering him by, (for whatever his misdeeds, it's not like the guy committed Lawrence Taylor like boo boo's involving drugs, wife beating, and underage girls in very seedy motels), amidst an overall seven year peak period from 2000 - 2006 that measures up exceedingly well even when stacked against the best NFL backs ever to step on the gridiron.
So in an effort to rehabilitate Tiki's standing in the New York Football Giant community, at least to the extent it can be done, we've put together this comparative exhibit in the form of a slide show spectacular which features, amongst other things, video highlights of each runner accounted for on our personalized list of the ten best National Football League running backs of all time.
If nothing else it should bring back some very fond memories,