Memoirs of Tiki

Here is TGI's third installment recapping the storied career of Tiki Barber, who will retire at season's end. In this issue Tiki recalls the five most memorable games during his career, in no particular order.

Giants vs. Redskins, October 30, 2005

"This game was especially meaningful because our beloved owner Wellington Mara passed away earlier in the week. The week, it was almost as if it were written as a story, from my perspective. The first play of the game was a 57-yard run. I just took the ball and took off. It was almost as if every play the holes were gaping. After the first play, I knew it was going to be a big day. One play in and I knew this was something special. It turned out to be just that. I later added a 59-yard run. By the second quarter, I knew I was having a great day. I didn't have to look at the scoreboard or the stats to know this was going to be one of my best days. After a four-yard TD on a draw, I took myself out of the game. I had broken my single-game rushing record that day (206 yards) and was only 12 yards short of the Giants single-game rushing record. I easily could have gotten it. To tell you the truth, I could have rushed for 300 yards that game. It's the most special win (36-0) I've ever been a part of and the most special day I've ever had."

NFC Championship Game, Giants vs. Vikings, January 14, 2001

"It was the biggest game that could be played in our stadium and it was as close to a perfect game as I've ever been a part of. As a fan, it might not have been the greatest to watch because it was a blowout (41-0). But we did everything right – defensively, offensively, special teams. Within 10 minutes the game was over. That was special because we had been maligned and told how bad we were and Coach (Jim) Fassel went out on a limb and made this bold statement and we did nothing but back it up. That game was the culmination of it. Obviously we went to the Super Bowl and got beat up by the Ravens but that game was special.

"There's nothing like being the best in the conference and that day we were. It doesn't get any better than that.

" Giants vs. Eagles, December 28, 2002

"That was a big game for us as a team and it was a big game for me individually, being that it was my best and my worst day in my career. I had 203 yards and 276 all-purpose yards but I had three fumbles. The only reason it was close was because of those three fumbles. People talk about the zone when you're running, a runner's high. Well I was in the zone. No matter what we called or however they called my number I knew it was going to work. We dismantled them in a lot of ways, but in that same breath, I was dismantling us. It was memorable because that game we had to win. If we lose, we don't go to the playoffs. If we win, we're in. With a lot of doubt swirling around me after David Akers missed a field goal in overtime, Coach Fassel gave me the ball six times on the drive. At that point he was calling the plays. I ran us into field-goal range, we kicked the field goal and won (10-7). That was literally the only time I got emotional and broke down after a game because I was both high and low at the same time.

"Frank Gifford called me after that game and told me ‘they would have never been there if it weren't for you. I played in a game once that was considered the greatest game ever played. But the only reason it was the greatest game ever played is because I fumbled twice.' That meant a lot to me."

Giants at Broncos and at Chiefs, September 10 and 23, 2001

"It was September 10th and they were opening their new stadium (Invesco Field). The game wasn't too memorable other than Rodney Williams' 90-yard punt. Other than that the game wasn't overly spectacular other than that we lost (31-20). But when we came back, we got back to Newark and arrived in our gate. I'm sure we were somewhere near Flight 93. I remember that day well because I didn't sleep well because we lost and I had to fight rush hour traffic to get back into the City. My whole thought process was just thinking about the game and I'm getting more and more frustrated as I'm sitting in traffic. I finally get home and my wife (Ginny) is up for work. I'm just sitting on the couch; I'm exhausted but I can't sleep because I'm still upset about the game. I finally start to drift off to sleep and Ginny starts calling me. I was annoyed until I finally answered the phone and she told me to turn on the TV. Then, like everybody else in this area, your life changed. My preoccupation with losing to the Denver Broncos suddenly didn't matter any more.

"Another memory would be the game immediately after 9/11 when we played in Kansas City, which is a notoriously hellacious place to play. I remember when we walked out there and it was nothing but love. In a normal situation these fans would have been yelling at us and being as rude as they possibly can. But it was nothing but support. That meant a lot and we won (13-3). That stretch of games was memorable. Obviously we cancelled the one (Green Bay) in between. That was a very memorable stretch of time in my Giants career and for the entire organization as well. A lot of those people were Giants fans. I remember seeing cars in the Giants Stadium parking lot that never left. There used to be a commuter lot right by where we park. And from the practice field you could see the smoke for weeks. It was never far from our consciousness. Every time we took the field that year, whether it was home or away, we carried the hearts and souls of those people, especially those two games."

Giants vs. Broncos, December 13, 1998

"The Denver Broncos were undefeated (13-0) and coming to play the lowly Giants in Giants Stadium. Ultimately they won the Super Bowl so it didn't matter. But it was our sense of pride to see if we could knock them off. We played as good a game as you could against those guys. I know I scored a touchdown on a swing pass. We picked the linebacker, which left me open to race down the sideline and score a touchdown. Then it came down to they were winning late in the game and we had to make a drive to win. Kent Graham was admirable leading us down the field. We got close and put the ball up to the best receiver in the history of this organization, Amani Toomer, and you wouldn't want it in anyone else's hands but Amani's. He made a great catch and had unbelievable awareness keeping his feet in bounds. We ended up beating the Super Bowl champions (20-16) and ruining their undefeated season. That was even more fun because they still had Miami to play that year and everyone kept saying how they were going to have to beat the last and only team to finish undefeated. It was kind of cool to be a spoiler."

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