AIKMAN: BARBER'S TO BLAME
By JUSTIN TERRANOVA
September 7, 2007 -- Tiki Barber's presence in the Giants' backfield was immense, but Troy Aikman said he believes Barber's attitude off the field is one of the reasons the team did not win a Super Bowl during his career.
"When you look at the Giants, and you say, why haven't they been able to accomplish more, and you see some of the things we have witnessed, like Tiki Barber's comments regarding Eli Manning, I don't think you have to look much further than that and say maybe now I understand why that team has underachieved," said Aikman, a former Cowboys quarterback now an NFL analyst for FOX.
Barber criticized Manning for the lack of leadership ability he saw when the two shared a backfield for Big Blue. Barber aired his opinion when he debuted with NBC's "Football Night in America" during halftime of the Giants-Ravens preseason game Aug. 19.
"He didn't feel like his voice was going to be strong enough and it showed," Barber said of Manning. "Sometimes it was almost comical the way that he would say things."
Aikman said he thinks the reason his Cowboys teams were successful was a lead-by-example attitude.
"I am a firm believer you win with great character as well as great talent," Aikman said. "Wade Wilson came into Dallas in 1996 to be my backup and he said to me, 'The hardest-working guys on this team are the best players on this team.' And that's why we had success. That's what I look to when I think about the great teams I was a part of."
Aikman said he sees this as Manning's chance to prove Barber wrong.
"With Tiki being gone, it opens the door for Eli to be more assertive in the locker room," said Aikman, who quarterbacked the Cowboys to three Super Bowl wins in the '90s. "You just don't play with guys with the ability and production of a Tiki Barber, but that's not to say this team can't be better."
Barber left the Giants after last season to pursue a career in broadcasting, which landed him at NBC. On his way out the door, he ripped Tom Coughlin's coaching methods.
Jimmy Johnson, coach of the Cowboys during their dynasty, said Barber is forgetting how Coughlin helped him overcome his fumbling woes.
"If it hadn't been for Tom Coughlin, Tiki Barber might not have even been playing the last couple of years," Johnson said. "If he kept on dropping the ball the way he was, he would have been over on the sidelines. I guess when he started broadcasting he got smarter and forgot about all of that."