Barber, in his new analyst role on NBC's Sunday Night Football, questioned not only Manning's leadership skills, but his desire to fill that all-important role.
"I guess I'm just happy for Tiki that he's making a smooth transition into the media world," Manning said with more than a hint of sarcasm. "It'll be interesting to see if he has anything else to say (about anything) besides the Giants and what his comments will be on that. It's one of those deals; I'm not going to lose any sleep (over) what Tiki has to say."
Manning then quickly switched from a defensive position to offense, saying he easily could have ripped Barber last season.
"I guess I could have questioned his leadership skills last year with calling out the coach and having articles about him retiring in the middle of the season and (how) he's lost the heart," he said. "As a quarterback, you're reading your running back has lost the heart to play the game and it's about the 10th week. Well, I could see that a little bit at times. But I'm not going to get concerned and I'm going to go out there and play ball."
Ultimately, Manning seemed unfazed by Barber's criticism.
"It's just one of those deals," he said. "The guy goes to the media and he's got to say stuff. He's been put in a situation where he's got to talk. That's just the way it is. That's the world we live in and you have to deal with it."
For three years, the Giants and their fans have had to deal with Manning letting everything roll off his shoulders and rarely showing emotion. After potentially his most heartfelt interview ever, that's no longer the case.
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