Barber, in his 12th year of eligibility, has never gotten this far in the process. His 10-year NFL career was spent all with the Giants and his career achievements cannot be denied. He stands among the greats of the game in several categories.
In fact, Barber stands alone in one. He is the only player in NFL history to have 10,000 rushing yards, 5,000 receiving yards and 1,000 return yards.
But numbers sometimes aren’t enough. Barber falls just short of being elite when it comes to career rushing yards. He walked away from the game fully healthy after the 2006 season. Many feel that had he stayed one more season, he’d have the required accumulated numbers plus a Super Bowl ring. Then no one could keep him out.
Barber believes getting elected to the Hall is like any other voting process – very subjective and one needs a ‘godfather’ of sorts backing their cause.
“It’s politicking. It’s ‘You vote for my guy, in five years I’ll vote for your guy.’ That’s really what it comes down to,” Barber said on the Amazin’ Conversations with Jay Horwitz Podcast.
“I’ve been lucky over the last couple of years because Gary Myers, formerly of the Daily News and a good friend of mine, has kind of taken up the cause and has started advocating for me. Hopefully, it makes a little bit of a difference. . . In some cases, like with Tim Brown, it took a long time to get in himself, the great wide receiver from the Oakland and LA Raiders. He had to hire a PR firm in order to just get the word out there.”
Barber’s twin brother, Ronde — a cornerback with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers — was voted into the Hall last year. His election put Tiki’s name back in the mouths and minds of fans and voters.
“It’s not that these guys, including myself, aren’t deserving, it’s just that sometimes you start to slip from people’s consciousness, and in order to have a chance of getting into the Hall of Fame, you’ve got to be front of mind and be reminded about some of the good things or great things that we as former players did when we were on the gridiron,” he said.
Barber’s chances appear to be slim this season and his window is closing. He knows how difficult it is to get in, especially nearly 17 years after he retired.
“I think for quarterbacks and coaches, championships matter, but for running backs, it’s really about getting in the room and letting them have the conversation about you,” Barber said. “I found this out last year when my brother got inducted. The only thing he wanted was to have them have the conversation about him. I’m not saying I deserve to be a Hall of Famer, it’s just talk about me, and the only way for that to happen is to get into the finals.”
That will happen later this season and the Class of 2024 will be announced at the NFL Honors in Las Vegas the night before the Super Bowl in February.