From this William C. Rhoden article in the New York Times:
Retiring star players often set the foundation for future success. In Barber’s case, his criticism of Coach Tom Coughlin and of Manning might have paid dividends this season. You can argue that Barber’s tactics became too public. But often, the only way to bring about change is to confront — sometimes embarrass — authority. Barber laid the foundation for what happened this season, from taking on Coughlin, to challenging Manning to step up, to tutoring Brandon Jacobs.
“I feel great joy for them because I know in a lot of ways I helped a lot of guys on that team,” Barber said. “I know Brandon was someone who benefited from me being there; even criticizing someone is a way of getting them to think about themselves.”
I asked Barber if he thought his criticism of Manning helped prod him out of a shell. “I don’t know, cause Eli doesn’t pay attention, ” Barber said laughing. “In this case, it made him stand up and I guess become aware.”
How magnanimous! What a swell guy, that Tiki Barber. He had all these special and insightful ways to help the New York Giants, but he chose not to help them while he was there, but he waited until after he quit on them, and then went of his way to offer the expert critiques (and not bitter criticism) that would spur the team to greatness. It's the most selfless thing I've ever heard. Tiki Barber is a friend to the Giants!
Either that, or he was a whiny little skirt on the way out the door, and when he quit, a once-divided locker room was able to come together. I somehow doubt that Tom Coughlin and Eli Manning heard Tiki's critiques and said, "You know, Tiki's right, and we should be thankful for his guidance." More likely is that they heard his bitching and everyone came together in a spirit of "Screw that guy, we're better off without him."
But if that counts as helping, then yeah, Tiki Barber was a great help. The guy's a damn saint.
• For Barber and Giants, a Parting, Then an Embrace / New York Times
- Tiki Barber
- Tom Coughlin