Tiki Barber retired from football after the 2006 campaign, and many people believe Tom Coughlin had a whole lot to do with it.
During the 2006 season, former New York Giants running back Tiki Barber earned his third consecutive Pro Bowl nod, solidifying that the Big Blue legend was surely in his prime. But performing in your prime doesn’t necessarily mean you’re the happiest you’ve been in your career. In the midst of that very campaign, Barber decided that by season’s end, it would be time to hang up the cleats.
Many believe Barber left due to complications in his relationship with then-Giants head coach Tom Coughlin. And while that’s partly true, Barber recently revealed Coughlin wasn’t the entire basis for the career-ending decision.
“I mean, Tom was such a small part of it,” Barber told the Scoop B Radio podcast. “He was so hard on everybody and you felt unappreciated at times, but it was so much more than that. Maybe he was the last little straw that made me walk away from the game, but physically I was getting beat up, man.
“It would take me until Thursday to feel good again. I was getting massages on Monday and acupuncture. I would get this ART treatment and then another massage on Thursday, and then now I’m feeling all right on Friday. [Then we’d have] like a walkthrough practice and then you get beat up again and it starts over. And it was just getting hard.”
A year after Barber decided to call it quits, the Giants emerged victorious in Super Bowl 42. That same campaign, Barber took it upon himself to criticize Eli Manning, who was just in his fourth season at the time.
Barber has since apologized to the now-retired Giants quarterback.
Tiki finished his 10-year career with a trio of Pro Bowl appearances and a spot on the 2005 All-Pro first team. He’s additionally now a part of the New York Giants Ring of Honor.