Coming into the NFL the knock on Tiki Barber was that he was too small and too slow to be a solid running back in the league. Many of those same experts all said the same thing of his brother Ronde at the cornerback position as they finished up their senior season at the University of Virginia. Well 9 years later the Barbers are the ones laughing at those analysts who questioned their size, ability, and most importantly their heart and determination.
In 2005 Tiki Barber has enjoyed what quite possibly is his best season thus far as a pro in the NFL. The New York Giant running back has rushed for 1657 yards on the ground with 8 touchdowns. He's also made 48 catches out of the backfield for 470 yards and 2 touchdowns. Barring a huge offensive explosion from Seattle's Shaun Alexander on Sunday Tiki should finish the season as the NFL's leader in yards from scrimmage for the second straight season. That feat most recently was accomplished by Kansas City's Priest Holmes in 2001 and 2002.
During his 9 year career Tiki has run for over 8500+ yards on the ground and had 4600+ yards receiving. He's scored 49 touchdowns rushing and had 12 receiving during that span. Some of you will also remember early in his career the former Virginia star also returned punts and kickoffs for the Giants. In 1999 he had a punt return that he scored on as well.
When asked about his Pro Bowl selection Tiki had this to say, "It is special. This is only my second one. It’s definitely special and it’s something I’m very proud of. It represents all the guys in this locker room that have been supporting me and helping me have the season I’m having this year."
Not to be outdone by his brother Tiki, Tampa Bay's Ronde Barber has enjoyed another stellar season this year. The former Cavalier cornerback has 75 solo tackles so far in 2005. He also has made 5 interceptions and 2 sacks from his cornerback position as well. While giving opposing quarterbacks and wide receivers fits as usual Ronde has quietly put together probably his second or third best season statistically as a pro together this year.
A feat that has gone unnoticed in most outlets is the fact that this year Ronde Barber has become the only cornerback in NFL history to attain 20 interceptions and 20 sacks. The accomplishment is just another one that Ronde can add to his credit and to the legacy that he and his brother Tiki started together and are now leaving on the NFL.
The Roanoke natives will be making their 2nd (Tiki) and 3rd (Ronde) trips to Hawaii for this year's Pro Bowl but this year marks the second year in a row that both former Virginia stars will be competing in the NFL's showcase of it's finest stars.
Too small and too slow. I think not.