Memoirs of Tiki: 5 Greatest Plays

Here is TGI's second installment recapping the magical career of Tiki Barber, who will retire at season's end. In this issue Tiki recalls the five greatest plays of his Giants career, in no particular order.

95-yard TD run, Dec. 31, 2005, in Oakland

"That was memorable because it was the last Giants rushing record that I could get that I didn't already have. It came at an integral moment because we needed that win to storm into the playoffs. It was an important game on the road. It's always exciting to go 95 yards, especially when you're old and people think you can't do it anymore. That run was special.

"That season I led the league in 50-yard runs, 40-yard runs and 20-yard runs. That was only because I kept getting caught. It was kind of neat to finally go the distance. I had a little help, as Plaxico (Burress) and Amani (Toomer) escorted me down the sideline. That was a testament to good teamwork."

41-yard TD run, Dec. 17, 2005, vs. Kansas City

"It's always cool when you get audibles that work the right way. Ironically that one didn't work the right way but it turned out to be a great play. We saw a blitz coming to the strong side so we tossed it weak. Immediately, (fullback Jim Finn) was of course and I'm thinking ‘this play is dead.' But he jumped inside so I jumped inside and just followed him. Wherever he went, I went. Their defensive end kind of pulled up so I just kept moving and bounced back outside. I saw Plaxico so I just ran to him. I figured he could be a shield for me. He blocked one guy, turned around and blocked another guy. I just kept my feet moving. I just didn't want them to get my feet. Literally, before I even knew it and without any true understanding of what was going on, I was in the open field heading for a touchdown. It was a great play because at that point in that game we hadn't done much offensively. That was the catalyst that led our team to explode offensively in a game we had to win. It was a spark for our team.

"When you get into the open field like that literally you're wondering ‘how in the world did that just happen?' But it was just my mentality to find my guys, keep moving forward and let whatever happens, happen. Before you know it you're in the end zone."

78-yard TD run, Sept. 3, 2000, vs. Arizona

"This was the opening act of Thunder and Lightning. Ron (Dayne) had a pretty good day. This whole day was unbelievable. It was a perfectly beautiful day and then we all almost died because it started thundering and lightning. The game was postponed. I had my big run before the stoppage. It was when we first instituted this new offense where we would try to get into the right play every time we came to the line of scrimmage. We had audibles for everything. If the call was toss left and we didn't have it we'd run a sprint to the right side. We had a toss call and the safeties rotated so the quarterback (Kerry Collins) checked into the sprint play. As I'm hearing this I'm thinking that this is going to score. The only person in my way was Pat Tillman. I took the handoff and saw his angle, which allowed me to jump over his tackle attempt. Seventy-eight yards later, I outran Aeneas Williams, who was one of the game's fastest guys at that point, for the touchdown. That was pretty amazing.

"That game was amazing for me in and of itself. We ran a stretch play that I cut back all the way across the field. It only ended up being a 10-yard touchdown. But that really was a coming out party for me and this new player that I had become. Those two runs collectively were a great moment and helped put me on the NFL map."

85-yard punt return TD, Oct. 18, 1999, vs. Dallas

"It was a Monday night game. It was a tight game. Deion (Sanders) was there. At that point I was just a punt returner and a third-down back. Both of my roles were integral to us winning that game. It was in the fourth quarter when they punted to me. I remember catching it and I had to dodge one guy. I remember seeing Greg Comella driving his guy out of bounds. My thought was that if I get to the sideline there will be no one else there. So I got to the sideline and was streaking down the sideline and there was only one guy left to get me. He just barely missed me trying to get the back of my jersey. So we had an 85-yard touchdown. That kind of gave us life in that game. When you get a punt return for a touchdown, it's not only invigorating to your team, but it's demoralizing to the other team. That was well-timed.

"Later in that game with the score tied and us having 60-something yards to go, Kent Graham just dumped a pass off to me. I made Dat Nguyen miss and was running toward the right sideline to stop the clock. I still clearly in my head remember having a decision to make. Either run out of bounds to stop the clock like I'm supposed to or split two defenders, which I may or may not be able to do, and try to make a big play. As I'm running toward the sideline, I said ‘screw it.' I cut upfield. They hit into each other and I was able to run right through them and I'm running down the sideline thinking I'm going to score. But of course here comes Deion, who tackled me at the 3-yard line after a 56-yard catch-and-run. We ended up kicking the game-winning field goal. That was a big moment in my career. I got the Prime-Time Award that week."

3-yard TD run, Jan. 2, 2005, vs. Dallas

"It was Tom Coughlin's first year. Earlier in the game I had broken Rodney Hampton's career rushing record and I knew that the single-season rushing record was within reach but because of the nature of the game it wasn't even in my consciousness. I remember going into the last series of the game I was too many yards away to even think about it. We were in a hurry-up offense. Eli (Manning) managed the game perfectly and mixed up the run and the pass. It worked out that we were on the three-yard line and I needed one yard to break Joe Morris' record. Coach Coughlin and the offensive staff gave Eli great autonomy to make the right call. We had a pass/run combo called. Usually you have a run and you audible to a pass. We did it the opposite way. Eli got to the line of scrimmage, looked over the defense and saw that they were trying to take away our fade pass. He checked it to the run. It was a very risky call because we didn't have any timeouts left so if we didn't score we wouldn't have had time to kick the field goal. Eli checked it to a draw, which worked perfectly. Not only did that touchdown win the game, but on that play I broke Joe's rushing record. It was a whole bunch of everything encompassed into one. After losing eight straight games, it was a great way to go into the offseason and be invigorated for the next season, which turned out to be a great year when we finished 11-5.

"The cool thing from that season, which was Eli's first, was that his first play from scrimmage and his last play from scrimmage were both TD runs by me. His first play against the Eagles after he filled in for Kurt (Warner) he handed it off to me and I went 72 yards for a touchdown. His last play that season was the draw, which turned out to be a pretty cool circumstance."

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