Thursday, January 31, 2008

Quickie: Scapegoating is so much easier.

(Tiki, why do you make it so hard for me to defend you?)

Courtesy of The Fanhouse, it seems that an unidentified Giants player has come out and said what everyone has thought regarding the G-Men and their locker room situation all year, as the unidentified player stated...

"Tiki was all about Tiki," said a key Giants player, who asked not to be identified, speaking recently about the former Giants runner.

"I don't get why people make this so complicated. If he was still on the team, we wouldn't be here (in the Super Bowl). Trust me on that. It would be a different locker room."

By different the player means more splintered, more finger pointing, less unified.
By different, he means worse.

"It's not a coincidence that he's gone and we're here," the player said. "You're a fool if you think it is."

Now I'm not a huge Tiki Barber fan. I think he's clearly been more intent on being a great celebrity figure than on being a great player; however, that doesn't mean that he wasn't still the latter, it just means it wasn't something he placed the greatest emphasis on. The fact of the matter is that Tiki Barber was a VERY good player on the field, regardless of his locker room presence. Furthermore, this team has had a lot of other things change besides Tiki; Plaximum Power (T-SHIRT PLUG) has stepped up in a way that he never did when Tiki was around, Eli is maturing, the defensive coordinator was changed, and Shockey (an equally divisive presence) is injured.

I'm not saying that Tiki being off of the team is a terrible thing on the field (although I think he's a better complete back than Jacobs or Bradshaw, I think the current platoon is better than last year's Tiki-focused rush game), but I think that using him as a focal point of hatred is unfair, considering how much he gave to the team when he did play. Things are never as simple as "good guy/bad guy" in the League, and in continually crediting Tiki's absence with the Giants' success, I think the team, the fans, and the New York media do a disservice to someone who helped bring the franchise back to prominence.

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