Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Why Tiki Barber should buy Tom Coughlin flowers

IF Tiki Barber ever makes it into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, it will be Tom Coughlin that put him there.

Look at Barber's numbers. Before Coughlin got to New York in 2004, Barber had surpassed 1,000 yards three times, with a high of 1,386. His numbers suggest a good running back and good receiver out of the backfield.

Then look what happened when Coughlin showed up and focused the offense on Barber. In 2004 and 2005, Barber LED THE LEAGUE IN YARDS FROM SCRIMMAGE. Previously he had only cracked the top 10 in this category twice: 8th in 2000 and 4th in 2002. Then Coughlin came and Barber led the league. In fact, in 2005 Barber had the second-most yards from scrimmage ever, just 39 yards short of Marshall Faulk's record.

Tiki Barber may or may not be a Hall of Fame running back, but he is at least being discussed as such. But make no mistake about it: before Tom Coughlin took over the Giants and focused the offense on Barber, he was merely an above-average running back (maybe you want to criticize Jim Fassel for not featuring Barber earlier). Under Coughlin, Barber became one of the most productive RBs in the league and had one near-historic season.

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