Tiki Barber

''For the field hockey player, see Kate Barber

Atiim Kiambu Hakeem-ah "Tiki" Barber (born April 7, 1975 in Roanoke, Virginia) is a sports broadcaster, author, and former American football running back for the New York Giants. He is the identical twin brother of Ronde Barber, a cornerback who plays for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Barber was a correspondent on NBC's 4th hour of The Today Show with Ann Curry and Hoda Kotb.

Barber retired from the NFL at the end of the 2006 NFL postseason as the franchise's all-time rushing and reception leader. On February 13 2007, he was formally introduced as a correspondent for NBC's Today Show and Football Night in America/Sunday Night Football.

On September 18, 2007, Barber's book, Tiki: My Life and the Game Beyond was published. The autobiography was co-written by Gil Reavill.

Early life


Tiki and his identical twin brother Ronde Barber were born in Roanoke, Virginia to James and Geraldine Barber. When his mother heard him screaming strenuously shortly after being born, she named him Attiim Kiambu, or “Fiery-Tempered King”. Tiki and Ronde were raised solely by their mother, who worked multiple jobs and scheduled them so she wouldn't miss any of their games. They played for the little league team, the Vikings. Their mother also would not let them play sports until their homework was complete.

Growing up, Barber's favorite football player was Walter Payton, like Barber a running back. His favorite team was the Washington Redskins. He attended Cave Spring High School in Roanoke and was valedictorian of his graduating class.

During his high school career, Barber excelled in both football and track and field, lettering three times in track and winning state indoor and outdoor long jump titles twice, as well as finishing second in the long jump at the 1992 national finals. In addition, he won the state title in both the long jump and triple jump in his senior year.

In football, he was named to the All-Roanoke Valley District team three times, gaining 3,628 yards on 567 carries and scoring 41 touchdowns. He was named All-Region twice and was named Male Athlete of the Year, and co-captained the team his senior year. He received the Cave Spring Knight award for academic, athletic, and extracurricular activity.


After graduation from high school, Barber attended the University of Virginia with his brother Ronde and played for the varsity football team, gaining 4,883 all-purpose yards at running back. His 3,389 rushing yards on 651 attempts places him second only to Thomas Jones' 3,998 yards on 809. His all-purpose yardage also ranked him second all-time after Frank Quayle. He was the first player in school history to rush over 1,000 yards in back-to-back seasons, setting the top two single-season school records in 1995 and 1996 of 1,397 and 1,360 yards, respectively. He rushed for 100 yards or more nineteen times during his college career. During his record-setting 1995 season he was named a finalist for the Doak Walker Award, given to the nation’s top running back. He continued running track in college as well, lettering three times. He tied the school long jump record of 24 feet 6 inches on his first attempt. Academically, Barber earned a degree in Management Information Systems, and was a self-professed "geek" with interests in computers, web design, and programming. In October 2006, on behalf of their family, Tiki and Ronde Barber made a donation of $1 million to their alma mater. At the event where the check was presented, the Barber brothers cited their mother's influence, particularly related to academics and civic participation.

NFL career

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.


Barber was drafted by the New York Giants in the 2nd round of the 1997 NFL Draft out of the University of Virginia. He was originally intended to be a third-down running back until Rodney Hampton had disappointing years in 1996 and 1997. Hampton retired after the 1997 season, giving Barber the starting nod. He began his career with a mediocre rookie campaign in which he started at running back and ran for more than 500 yards and 3 touchdowns. He missed four games with a knee injury but returned to the starting lineup for the final two games of the year. In 1998, he was replaced as a starter and went through a disappointing, injury-riddled year before rebounding in 1999 when he accumulated 1,639 all-purpose yards, utilizing his punt return and receiving skills.


It was in 2000 when Barber enjoyed his breakout year as a NFL running back. Tiki started 12 games, ran for more than 1,000 yards for the first time in his career, and notched 2,000 all-purpose yards. Spurred by Barber's running and receiving, the Giants represented the NFC in the Super Bowl but lost the game to the Baltimore Ravens. Established as a starter and playmaker, Barber was rewarded with a six-year contract from the Giants following the 2000 season. Following the signing, he called himself "the happiest man in New York right now."

Over the next four years Barber would become an integral part of the Giants offense. In the last regular season game of 2002, Tiki exploded for 203 yards against the Philadelphia Eagles, at the time one of the league's best defenses. His performance helped the Giants clinch a playoff berth, but the team fell to the San Francisco 49ers in the wild card round. He ended the season with 1,984 yards from scrimmage.

The 2003 NFL season saw the Giants finish an abysmal 4-12. During the 2004 NFL season, Barber reached the endzone for a career-high 15 touchdowns. He also rushed for 1,518 yards and notched 578 receiving yards for 2,096 total yards from scrimmage. On January 2, 2005, in the 2004 season finale at home versus the Dallas Cowboys, Tiki broke Rodney Hampton's Giants' all-time rushing record and Joe Morris's single-season rushing record in the same game. Poignantly, Barber broke the record on the final offensive play of the game, when he scored a game-winning touchdown to end an otherwise dismal 6-10 season for the Giants on a high point.

However, the team struggled once again and only won six contests in the 2004 season. As he approached age 30, Barber's goal was not just to run for 1,500-plus yards each year but to be part of a team that would win a Super Bowl title. He impressed this message upon younger players who he thought did not appreciate how rarely the opportunity to win a championship comes along.

2005 season

2005 was a rebound year for the Giants and Barber's career year in terms of rushing yards. Led by Eli Manning and Barber, they finished 11-5 and won the NFC East title for the first time since 2000. On December 17, 2005, Barber broke the Giants' single-game rushing record against the Kansas City Chiefs, rushing for 220 yards; he would break his own record the following year. It was his second (of three) 200 yard rushing games during the 2005 season, as he ran for 206 yards in week 8, after a bedside promise to ailing owner Wellington Mara that the team would put forward its best effort. The Giants promptly shut out the Washington Redskins 36-0 two days after Mara was buried, proper homage to their beloved owner, to whom Tiki himself was especially close.

He finished the 2005 regular season with 1,860 rushing yards (second in the league to Shaun Alexander and a career high for Barber) and 2,390 all-purpose yards with a performance of 203 rushing yards against the Oakland Raiders in the final game of the season. Barber's 95-yard touchdown run set a Giants team record for longest touchdown run, previously held by Hap Moran for a 91-yard run on November 23, 1930 vs the Green Bay Packers.

The season ended prematurely, as the Giants were shut out 23-0 to the Carolina Panthers in the wild card round of the playoffs.

Barber's 2,390 total yards for 2005 was second highest in history behind Marshall Faulk's 2,429 total yards in 1999. It is also the highest total for a running back over or at the age of 30. He was named to the NFC Pro Bowl squad for the second time in his career, and was voted an All Pro. Barber placed fourth in the voting for the 2005 MVP award. Seattle Seahawks running back Shaun Alexander won the Award, followed by Peyton Manning (second place) and Tom Brady (third place).

He was nominated for the 2005 FedEx Ground Player of the Year Award, along with LaDainian Tomlinson and Shaun Alexander. Barber also signed a contract extension in September 2005 which extended his contract through 2008 and increased his pay.

2006 season

In the 2006 season Barber continued his fine play in his final season and final games as an NFL player, a rarity for running backs who often break down late in their careers. His total yardage on the season was higher than any other running back in history in their last season. Tiki Barber became the third player in NFL history to have four 2,000 total yard seasons, joining Marshall Faulk and Dante Hall.

Barber rushed for 1,662 yards and five touchdowns in his 2006 campaign. During week 14 at Carolina, Barber rushed for 112 yards to help the Giants end a four game losing skid. Tiki's best game in 2006 was in Week 17 at Washington, when he was rushed for 234 yards and 3 touchdowns in the Giants 34-28 victory against the Redskins, a win that gave the Giants a playoff berth. In that game, Tiki set a new team record for rushing yards in a single game by breaking his own record, which he set the previous year versus Kansas City.

In his final game, a Giants playoff loss to the Philadelphia Eagles, Barber rushed for 137 yards on 26 carries. After the game, Eagles safety Brian Dawkins embraced Barber and told him, "You're a warrior.

Barber played his final game on February 10, 2007 at the 2007 Pro Bowl in Hawaii.

Running style

Starting from his breakout season in 2000, Barber was known for his exceptional cutback running, quick feet, and running vision. He also was an adept receiver out of the backfield with over 450 receiving yards and over 50 receptions every season from 2000 to 2006.

Still, after the 2003 year, in spite of his rushing numbers, Tiki had one weakness to overcome: fumbling the football. Barber had six lost fumbles in both the 2002 and 2003 seasons, including three lost fumbles in a single game against the Philadelphia Eagles on December 28, 2002. When Coach Tom Coughlin arrived he taught Tiki to hold the ball vertically instead of horizontally. After changing this his fumbles went down dramatically: in 2004, he only had 2 lost fumbles.

Barber began to focus on strength training and lifting in 2004, upon the suggestion of his new runningbacks coach, Jerald Ingram. Tiki began to work with a strength coach, Joe Carini, in New Jersey. His added upper-body strength allowed him to break more tackles and become a more powerful runner. Barber also improved in other ways over the course of his career. He improved his patience as a runner, waiting for blocks to set and holes to emerge before accelerating forward. He also learned to deliver blows to defenders instead of being on the receiving end of them.

Career highlights

  • The 68th Annual International Best-Dressed List (2007) by Vanity Fair (magazine)
  • In 2006, Barber became only the 21st player in NFL history to rush for over 10,000 yards during his career. Tiki also became the third player in NFL history to gain more than 10,000 rushing yards and 5,000 receiving yards in a NFL career, joining Marshall Faulk and Marcus Allen.
  • Led NFL in total yards from scrimmage: 2004, 2005
  • 38 games of 100+ yards rushing
  • 5 games of 200+ yards rushing
  • Pro Bowl: 2005, 2006, 2007
  • First player in NFL history with 1,800 rushing yards and 500 receiving yards in one season
  • In 2005, Barber became one of three players in NFL history with at least three 200-yard rushing games in a season (O.J. Simpson had 3 in 1973 and Earl Campbell ran for 200 yards four times in 1980)
  • He is one of only ten running backs to have over 400 receptions and 10,000 yards rushing. Walter Payton, Marshall Faulk, Marcus Allen, Emmitt Smith, Curtis Martin, Edgerrin James, Ricky Watters,Warrick Dunn, and Thurman Thomas are the other nine.
  • In 2006, Tiki Barber became the fourth player in NFL history to have four 2,000 total yard seasons, joining Marshall Faulk, Brian Mitchell and Dante Hall.
  • In 2006, Tiki Barber became the third player in NFL history to have at least 2,100 rushing attempts and 575 receptions in a career, joining Marcus Allen and Marshall Faulk.
  • Tiki Barber is the third player in NFL history to be the career leader in both rushing yards and receptions with their respective NFL Franchises, joining Chicago Bears Walter Payton and Tampa Bay Buccaneers James Wilder.
  • Tiki Barber is the fourth running back in NFL history to lead their respective NFL franchises in career receptions, joining Walter Payton (Chicago Bears), James Wilder (Tampa Bay Buccaneers) and Larry Centers (Arizona Cardinals).
  • Tiki Barber led the Giants in rushing in every game from the beginning of the 2002 season through the end of the 2006 season, an NFL record 80 consecutive games.

New York Giants team records

  • Longest Touchdown Run: 95 yards, December 31, 2005 vs. the Oakland Raiders
  • Most Rushing Touchdowns, Career: 55
  • Most Rushing Attempts, Season: 357, 2005 season
  • Most Rushing Attempts, Career: 2,217
  • Most 100 Yard Games, Season: 9, 2004 season
  • Most 200 Yard Games, Season: 3, 2005 season
  • Most Rushing Yards, Single Game: 234 yards, December 30, 2006 vs. the Washington Redskins
  • Most Rushing Yards, Season: 1,860 yards, 2005 season
  • Most Rushing Yards, Career: 10,449 yards
  • Most Total Yards, Season: 2,390 yards, 2005 season
  • Most 1,000 Yard Seasons: 6
  • Yards Per Carry, Career: 4.7
  • Most Total Yards, Game: 276 (203 rushing yards, 73 receiving yards), December 28, 2002 vs. the Philadelphia Eagles
  • Most Total Yards (Rushing, Receiving, Returns and Fumble Yardage), Career: 17,359
  • Most Yards From Scrimmage (Rushing and Receiving), Career: 15,632
  • Highest Average 100+ yards from scrimmage per game, Career (min: 150 games): 101.5
  • Most Fumble Recoveries, Game: 3, October 29, 2000 vs. the Philadelphia Eagles

Strahan contract controversy

In 2002, All-Pro Giants defensive end Michael Strahan was negotiating a new contract, and Tiki Barber publicly criticized Michael Strahan's negotiating stance. He felt Strahan should have agreed to the contract the Giants offered and remarked that Strahan was greedy. The contract impacted the team as Strahan's cap number exceeded $12 million and the new contract would have lowered Strahan's cap number, greatly helping the team get under the 2002 Salary Cap. "I don't know if he realizes how much $17 million is," Barber told the NY Post. "That is absolutely ridiculous, to turn that down. He's already the highest-paid defensive player in the league. He's already making more than most quarterbacks...Michael is not thinking about the team; he's thinking about himself".

Keith Hamilton, a teammate of Strahan and Barber at the time, then responded with comments critical of Barber. Players generally believe that they should not speak about the contracts of other players. Beyond that, some members of the Giants defense harbored resentment of the offense, which was lackluster and unproductive in the 1990s. "The defense has carried the offense, carried the team, since I've been here," Hamilton told The Star-Ledger. " * [[New York Giants]] ([[1997 NFL season|1997]]-[[2006 NFL season|2006]]) |stat1label=Rushing Yards |stat1value=10,449 |stat2label=Average |stat2value=4.7 |stat3label=[[Touchdowns]] |stat3value=55 |nfl=BAR025952 |highlights= hasn't been here long enough or done enough to say anything. For him to shoot his mouth off, acting like he's Mr. New York, yeah, I'm ticked off. Strahan is the single-season sack record-holder. He's the AP Defensive Player of the Year. He's one of the best - if not the best - defensive ends in the game. And you tell me this guy is being greedy? That's a bunch of crap. I've heard enough. Who is Tiki Barber to shoot his mouth off? What has he done? He talks like he's acting in the best interest of the team. Tell him to give his $7 million (signing bonus) back. Since he's so charitable, why doesn't he volunteer his $7 million? He says all the politically correct things. Ask him if he's giving up some of his money." Despite this incident, Strahan and Barber are currently friendly with each other in public.

Coaching criticism

Barber disliked and criticized Giants head coach Tom Coughlin's coaching style. During the coach's tenure, Barber publicly questioned the team's coaching on two occasions. After being shut out at home in the first round of the 2005 playoffs by the Carolina Panthers Tiki made a post game comment that he felt the Giants had been outcoached by their former defensive coordinator, and the Panthers' head coach, John Fox. Heavy sports media attention was placed on the comment; Tiki apologized for it shortly afterwards, saying he only meant to convey the Giants' performance was 'unacceptable'.

Next, after a loss to the Jacksonsville Jaguars during the 2006 season, Barber criticized the playcalling for abandoning the running game too soon. Both times Coughlin and Barber met to discuss the comments.

On the eve of what would be his last game with the Giants, Barber told ESPN that he is "demeaned and talked down to" by Coughlin.

After retiring, Barber attributed his decision to retire to Coughlin's unrelenting style in practice. "(Coughlin) pushed me in the direction (of television)," said Barber. "I don't know if you realize this, but we were in full pads for 17 weeks, and with the amount of injuries that we had, it just takes a toll on you. You physically don't want to be out there, when your body feels the way you do, in full pads."

NFL retirement

In October 2006, Barber revealed his intention to retire at the end of the 2006 NFL season. Barber had previously indicated his desire to retire at some point and pursue a broadcasting career but the news still came as a shock to Giants fans and NFL observers.

When questioned why a player at the peak of his game would retire, Barber cited the toll the physical nature of football takes on a person's body. He also spoke of his keen interest in pursuing a broadcasting career and other opportunities.

During his career with the Giants, the team never won a championship, a top goal of Barber's that he spoke publicly about in 2005. When announcing his retirement, Barber seemed at peace to leave the game without a Super Bowl ring. He said, "I used to think my career was defined by not winning a Super Bowl. But I think looking back on my career, they'll see someone who was a competitor, someone who always played hard and never gave up. He officially filed his retirement papers with the Players Association on February 12, 2007.

Broadcasting career

After retiring from the NFL, Barber began a second career as a television broadcaster. Barber immediately landed a multi-faceted role with NBC in which he contributes to the landmark Today program, covers sports for NBC Sports, and hosts entertainment events for NBC Universal.

Barber was introduced as a correspondent for NBC's Today and analyst for Football Night in America/Sunday Night Football on February 13, 2007. This came after a competition for his services was waged between ABC, FOX, NFL, and NBC. As a Today correspondent, Barber anchors lifestyle segments and reports on news stories. He is rumored to be a potential long-term candidate for Matt Lauer's co-host position when Lauer retires in 2011.

Barber also hosted the 2007 Annual Macy's 4th of July Fireworks spectacular along with Natalie Morales.

Additionally, Barber appeared on Comedy Central's Colbert Report when after the writer's strike, Colbert introduced his "writers" to the audience. As a joke, Stephen included Tiki, Mr. Met, and Kevin Bacon as his writers.

Barber is unique among retired athletes in his desire to cover hard news and political stories: in 2006 Barber cited a lunch with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice as the highlight of his year.

While still an NFL player, Tiki Barber gained broadcasting experience. On television, he co-hosted the morning news program Fox & Friends on select Tuesday mornings. On radio, he hosted "Barber Shop" a weekly show on Sirius Satellite Radio with his brother Ronde during the football season. In the offseason, he hosted a political and general interest radio program; Senator John McCain was his first interview. Barber originally began his broadcasting career on WFAN radio and the WCBS local news in New York.

Tiki Barber was the 'mobile shout out' on an episode of the Discovery Channel game show Cash Cab. The question was the name of the Steinbeck novel that followed Tom Joad. Barber answered Lonesome Dove.

In May 2008, Tiki Barber filled the spot of Willie Geist on the MSNBC program Morning Joe while Geist was on vacation.

Business activities

Barber is pursuing business and investment opportunities, reportedly inking a contract to serve as a partner and investor in O Beverages LLC, the maker of fruit-infused bottled water. He also has used his celebrity to endorse Cadillac (appearing in a commercial) and address audiences as a paid motivational speaker by Greater Talent Network. Tiki will also be featured in the John Madden franchise.


Barber lives in New York City with his wife, fellow University of Virginia alumna Ginny Cha, whom he married on May 15, 1999. They have two sons, A.J. (Atiim Kiambu, Junior), born July 8, 2002, and Chason, born March 18, 2004. Cha is an American of Korean and Vietnamese descent.

Celebrity Family Feud

Tiki will appear with his family on NBC's new show Celebrity Family Feud which premieres on June 24th, 2008.

Books authored by the Barber Twins

Barber has authored five illustrated children books with his brother Ronde.

  • By My Brother's Side (2004)
  • Game Day (2005)
  • Teammates (2006)
  • Kickoff! (2007)
  • Go Long! (2008)

See also


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